In today’s society, too many teenagers and college students are being smothered by overprotective parents. Though parents have all the best intentions for their children, the helicopter parents are doing more harm to their child, especially young adults, than they know. The harmful effects of an overprotective parent range from lowered brain growth, lowered responsibility, and problems with relationships. The effects can be the most damaging to kids in the last year of high school. Being a helicopter parent can cause your child to struggle when starting college or moving out on their own. Here are a few things the overprotective parents of teenagers need to know.
1. Your child is far more capable than you think.
By the time your child is in high school, they can do their own laundry, cook meals, and decide their own bedtime. The overprotective parent that does everything for their child is shielding them from learning to be independent. They can make their own choices and have their own responsibilities. You have to let go… let them do their own thing.
2. You cannot stop your child for doing things you don’t want them to do.
No matter how many rules you set for your child, they can find ways to break them. Many of the high school students I knew that drank, did drugs, and partied had the strictest parents. Stopping them from doing things, going out with friends, or going on adventures is not protecting them from making poor choices. Teenagers are smart and can find ways around everything. You need to let your child experience life and trust that you taught them well enough to make the best choices.
3. Your child is not the greatest person to walk the Earth.
Yes, every teenager is special and has so many talents, but you don’t have to broadcast it across the world. It is OK to share your child’s accomplishments with family and close friends, but you don’t need to tell all of Facebook and the cashier at Target of your daughter’s ACT score. Also, let your teenager share his or her good news; you don’t have to be the one to tell everyone!
4. Your child needs to fail at some things.
Failures and struggles are directly related to brain growth. When you protect your child from every little error and problem, you are also keeping him or her from learning and growing. So let them make the wrong choice, let them mess up, and let them try and fail. On that note, also notice if you are constantly putting others down to make your child seem better. That is a mistake that can create an egocentric and cocky personality for your child.
5. Your teenager’s experiences will not be the same as yours.
Every parent has regrets from their childhood, and the overprotective parent does everything in their power to keep them from the same mistakes. You need to realize your child is their own person and can learn from your mistakes. They do not need you controlling every bit of their life to make sure they don’t make the mistakes you did.
So if you find yourself doing everything for your teenager, setting excessive rules, and trying to control their every move, you need to let up a little. Realize all of the accomplishments children have already done by themselves. You were not the one who got the full ride or got the 4.0; they did it on their own. So let them stay out later. Let them wash their clothes and go to bed when they want. Let them mess up and admit failure. Let your child live his or her own life.