Although it is clear that parents who are involved in their children’s education often contributes to their well-being and success. However, overparenting can do more harm than good as the parents can be a source of support for their children, or they might even create frustrating obstacles to their children’s success. Although parents are generally well intentioned, yet the dangers of overparenting sometimes referred to as ‘Helicopter Parenting’ can include many negative effects on children. When parents are too controlling, or micro-manage their children’s educational responsibilities, we run the risk of inspiring lower levels of perceived autonomy and competence. In other words, our children may feel anxiety if they do not feel capable of doing things on their own!
What is Overparenting? Well, overparenting involves too much involvement by parents in the lives of their children, so that they try to help with or control everything that happens to the child. Now, this is something seriously unhealthy for the children as overparenting can lead to anxiety and depression in young children. The list of the side effects does not stops here, unfortunately there still much worse ill effects of overparenting. Therefore, the parents in our society needs to understand that controlling and micro managing their children must be stopped as soon as possible.
Well, let us now try to understand some of the side effects of overparenting –
1) Lack of Cognitive Skills & Risk Averse: Taking too much care of your children and protecting them from setbacks can be harmful. You are depriving them of the ability to make their own decisions, make mistakes, fail, and learn valuable lessons. They will be unable to deal with adversity later in life. Furthermore, the child will not learn to take risks or adapt to new situations. Instead, teach them to think for themselves and help them make better decisions.
2) Mental Health Problems: When your children reach adulthood, they may develop social anxiety, high stress levels, depression, and an inability to solve problems. They will feel powerless, and will become overly sensitive, naive, and mentally deficient. The child will not learn how to overcome fear and step outside of their comfort zone. Worry, fear, and anxiety will be their reactions to situations. Teach them how to express themselves instead. The first step toward self-awareness is self-awareness.
3) Low Self Confidence: When parents exert too much control over their children, the children are unable to make their own decisions. Their self-esteem will gradually deteriorate. It will be difficult to regain their trust later on. Children will unconsciously believe that they are incompetent and will feel unmotivated to achieve difficult goals. It will promote low self-esteem and self-doubt. They will avoid opportunities and will be unable to overcome challenges. Make it a point to teach your children about acceptance on a regular basis. Self-acceptance enables us to connect and grow spiritually.
4) Lack of Social Skills: Overprotective parents will convey the message that the world is dangerous. Children raised by such parents will grow up to be anti-social and unable to interact with others. Your child will begin to feel insecure and may fear abandonment. It will be difficult for them to maintain friendships and relationships. Such children will crave attention, validation, and approval from others. It may harm your child’s mental health and make them emotionally dependent on you for happiness. When we teach our children to live un-apologetically and authentically, we give them the tools they need to thrive in the world.
5) Arrogance: A parent’s frequent scolding or use of physical punishment can have a negative impact on a child’s behaviour. You are indirectly transferring negative energy to children. Too many constraints and a lack of autonomy will cause the children to react aggressively. They may misinterpret your intentions and try to keep a safe distance from you. They will also be more hostile to other children. As parents, we should instil in our children empathy, kindness, and compassion.
Well, overparenting through excessive control, supervision, and interference is an unhealthy way to raise children. Such negative consequences are irreversible and will cause more harm than good. Allowing the children desired freedom is crucial for a child’s wellbeing!
Written By NEEL PREET – Author of the Books, Voice From The East (2016); Journey With Time Place And Circumstances (2018) & Indian Defence Files (2021).