Why do parents overprotect their children from making mistakes?
Some parents overprotect their children because of their own insecurities or fears, many times stemming from their view of the world as a safe or dangerous place. Overprotective parents may have had experiences in their own childhood where it was unsafe to fail or get hurt, for instance. This can lead them to be hypervigilant in protecting their children from the same hurts they experienced. Much of this is unconscious behavior from the parent.
Other overprotective parents, especially those with narcissistic traits, view their children as an extension of themselves rather than as separate individuals. The uncomfortable, almost intolerable feelings that failure produces in the parent are experienced in equal intensity when the child makes a mistake. Rather than overprotecting to manage the child’s feelings, these parents overprotect their children to prevent those uncomfortable feelings in themselves.
Why are overprotection and strict guidelines more harmful than beneficial?
Strict guidelines prevent the natural curiosity and exploration that is a hallmark of childhood development. If children are not allowed to explore their worlds and discover what is safe and dangerous on their own, they may become overly dependent on others rather than building an internal trust in their own capabilities.
What are some examples of overprotection and strict guidelines that prevent curiosity and trial and error?
One simple example is a parent who is overly cautious about getting dirty. If a toddler picks up a stick off the ground, their natural curiosity is to use all five senses to explore that stick. They might feel it, rub it on their face, taste it, smell it, etc. Their little brains file all this information away so they can build a mental schema and know what a stick is when they encounter it again in the future. If an overprotective parent tells them to put the dirty stick down, the schema that is built is that sticks are dirty and should not be touched.
Where should parents draw the line with protecting their children?
First and foremost, a parent’s job is to keep the child physically safe. But even this can get muddled. It is one thing to stop a child from running into a busy street, and another thing to prevent a child from climbing on a swing set because he might fall. Sometimes, the kid needs to fall to learn what his body is capable of and what it is not. With school-aged children, sometimes it is best to let the child fail because he didn’t finish his project instead of the parent doing the project for him so he gets a good grade. This kind of failure teaches the child to start his project earlier next time and gives the child a sense of personal responsibility and accountability.
What are the benefits of failure?
Failure is one of the most powerful teachers. Failure teaches children limits, capabilities, and internal trust and discernment. We want our kids to move confidently into adulthood. If we as parents overprotect them to ensure their success, the success is ours, not theirs. They need to feel that same confidence when after several tries and failed attempts, they at last perform the task successfully. Why would we want to rob them of that?
Even if you have never been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you may still experience periods in your life when you go through low mood, excessive sadness, changes in sleep or appetite, and feelings of isolation. Depression can keep you from enjoying friends, performing your job well, and cultivating meaningful relationships. Although seeking out depression counseling may be the best long-term option, these seven tips can help get you start feeling better today.
7 Things You Can Do Today to Alleviate Depression Symptoms
Exercise is a great way to relieve stress and anxiety. It helps to release endorphins, which are natural painkillers that help reduce feelings of depression. If you have trouble finding time to exercise, try doing something simple like walking around the block or taking a brisk walk at lunchtime. You don't need to go to the gym either; just getting outside and moving around will do wonders for your mood.
Meditation is a great way to clear your mind and relax. Try using guided meditations, where you listen to music while following along with a voice. Or, if you prefer, you can use a mantra meditation, where you repeat a word or phrase over and over again.
Yoga is a great way to stretch out your muscles and get rid of tension. It's also a great workout, especially if you're looking to tone up. Try yoga poses that focus on stretching your back, shoulders, arms, legs, and core.
Massages are great for relieving stress and relaxing sore muscles. Find a massage therapist who specializes in working with people with mental illness.
5. Music Therapy
Music therapy uses music to treat various conditions, including depression. Listening to calming music can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
Getting enough sleep is essential to feeling refreshed and happy. Make sure you get eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
7. Social Support
Having friends and family members who care about you can make a huge difference in how you feel. Reach out to them and let them know what's going on in your life.
Although not a replacement for professional counseling for depression, these seven tips for managing depression symptoms are a simple way to start caring for your mental health today. *If you or someone you know is experiencing thoughts or behaviors in line with self-harm or suicide, please dial 9-8-8, contact your local crisis hotline, or visit your nearest hospital emergency room to receive immediate help.