He may want to hide behind you, but help him feel braver instead.

The Effects of Overprotecting Children

by Kathryn Hatter

While children need protection and nurturing to ensure that they stay safe and sound, this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to grow wings and hover protectively like a dangerous mama bumblebee over them. Explore the potential effects of overprotecting your precious babies and commit yourself to providing just the right amount of guidance to get your kids off to the right start.


When you hover protectively over your offspring, they probably sense your super-sensitivity and ultra-kindness. After all, why else would you be spending so much time supervising and protecting your tot from every danger, real and imagined? The result of your hovering over an extended period may be your tot's sweet sensitivity morphing into oversensitivity, cautions Sylvia Rimm, Ph. D., with the Family Achievement Clinic. This oversensitivity may lead to bruised feelings in your little one at the mere sideways glance from someone.

Victim Mentality

When your parenting methods involve overprotecting, you may unwittingly set your child up for a whopping case of victim mentality, cautions Janet Lehman, MSW with the EmpoweringParents website. Your youngster may not be able to conduct himself with peers because he can’t handle it when anyone teases him or doesn’t accept him. Kids can be ruthless here -- if they pick up on this fragility, your youngster could be in for a rough ride and he won’t know how to get off the roller coaster.


Eventually, your child will become all too used to you hovering up there, watching everything with the fierce eye of a protective mama. With your constant presence, you make it all too easy for your child to come running to you with every slight and micro-injustice, begging or even demanding that you fix it for her and make it all better. While problem-solving for your youngster may feel like the right thing to do, you’re actually doing her a major disservice by not letting her handle some issues in life without your help. So the preschool teacher picked someone else to be classroom helper again -- encourage your little one resolve her own angst by talking to the teacher.


The spoken or unspoken message of hovering protectively over your child is that he is incapable of handling situations without you. That slide at the park? Far too high and dangerous for him to even think about! Running around playing kick ball? Absolutely not! He might fall and scrape his knee! Playing circus in the fenced backyard with a neighbor child? Fraught with dangers unless you’re right there to supervise every act in the imaginary circus ring! Eventually, he might internalize your fears and become a timid and frightened child.

About the Author

Kathryn Hatter is a veteran home-school educator, as well as an accomplished gardener, quilter, crocheter, cook, decorator and digital graphics creator. As a regular contributor to Natural News, many of Hatter's Internet publications focus on natural health and parenting. Hatter has also had publication on home improvement websites such as Redbeacon.

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