As a parent, you want to love and shelter your child to keep them from harm. However, you can go too far. Perhaps your parents were super strict, and you had little breathing room. But is your child too sheltered?
Helicopter parenting has become a common term used to describe a person who is overbearing or is obsessively interested in their child’s life. Do you fit the definition of a helicopter parent, or perhaps, your parents could fall into this category? Did you know that much of your parenting style is determined by how your parents raised you?
According to Aleteia, it’s expected that you want to avoid making the same mistakes your parents did with you, but history has a way of repeating itself. If a child is too sheltered, it can cause just as many problems as if you let them run wild.
Fifteen Signs A child is Too Sheltered
How would you describe your parenting style? Do you feel that you overprotect your child to the point of suffocation? Here are some signs that indicate that a child is far too sheltered, and you might need to give them some breathing room.
1. A child who is too sheltered has too early of a curfew
Curfew should be based on age. If a child is 16 years old, it would be acceptable for them to be home by 7-8pm. However, if you make your child be home by 5 pm, they may become the cause for much teasing and resent you.
One of the hardest things to do as a parent is to let the child go, and you can start by giving them a decent curfew for their age.
2. They’ve Become an Expert Liar
Now, not all children that lie are being sheltered, but if your child suddenly starts lying, it could mean that your reign over them is too tight. When kids feel like they have no breathing room, they may begin to lie to get away from you. The trip your child makes to the library to study maybe an excuse to go to their friend’s house.
The reason they’re lying to you is that they know that you won’t allow them to do what they want. Even if there’s nothing wrong with their plans, they know that you won’t be on board. Stanford University warns that if your child must lie to you to have a social life, then it’s a sign that you’re too strict. In fact, they’re too sheltered.
3. Parents Overreact to The Point of Embarrassment
Is someone so over-concerned about your child that you embarrass them? If a teacher gave your child a grade you didn’t feel deserved, you would fire off an email or phone call to set them straight. Sadly, a child is often embarrassed by overbearing ways.
4. The “Psycho Call” If Whereabouts Aren’t Known
You need to know where your child is every minute of the day, and you will psycho call them until they tell you every detail. When your kid is out with friends, it’s okay to check in maybe once, but if your fears are making you call every half-hour, then you’re choking the social life out of them.
5. Sleepovers Can Only Be at Home
Are you so strict that you won’t let them go to anyone else’s home for a sleepover? Sleepovers are okay if they’re at your house. How can a child experience diversity and learn how other people live if you won’t let them out of your sight?
Sure, it’s okay to be a little cautious in today’s society, but talk to the parents and get a feel for their home before you say no.
6. Extreme Parental Controls Are Set on The Internet
There’s a fine line between keeping a watchful eye and being controlling. When a child is under a certain age, it’s perfectly normal to have restrictions for internet use. However, once they get older, you don’t need every password to their social media accounts and monitor their every move.
7. TV Shows Are Limited to Benign Cartoons
There is a lot of violence and material that is not appropriate for kids on television. However, with age comes more privilege in viewing rights. If everything your child tries to watch is evil, in poor taste, or is a slaphappy comedy you don’t like, then they may resent you.
Kids and adults have quite different viewing preferences, and if the content is not super violent or inappropriate sexually, let them explore their interests.
8. The Kid Is Super Rebellious
Kids who feel like their parents are too hard on them will be rebellious. They may start to protest your authority to have a life. Don’t make your child stoop to these levels to be a normal kid.
The Journal of Anxiety Disorders agrees that negative behaviors result from overprotective parents.
You may feel that no-one is good enough to play with your kid. However, if the child is not leading your kid down the promiscuity or drug path, let them feel free to explore the type of friends they like. You can’t always choose your children’s friends, but it doesn’t mean you will like them either.
10. Phone Calls to Friends Are Recorded
Sure, all these new apps for smartphones these days are great, but if you use them to spy on your kids, then it’s too much. If you have phone call recorders and keystroke monitoring devices on their phones, you’re going too far.
11. Not Allowed to Drive Until 18 (Or Older)
Most teens are super excited about being able to drive. However, some parents won’t allow their kids to drive because they don’t want to let go. Your fears of a car wreck or joyriding and killing someone overrule your rationale.
Your kid needs a driver’s license to get them through life. Don’t hold them back unless you have a good reason.
12. Self-Expression Is A No No
You dictate the clothes they wear, how they do their hair, and other forms of self-expression. Your child needs to feel free to express themselves as they grow and mature. Keep in mind that hair, makeup, and clothes are all benign ways of expression, but if you don’t allow them these choices, they will move onto the bigger things.
13. Home Is More of a Prison Cell
Your home should be a safe place where your child feels loved and cared for, and they also need to have a voice. Please don’t make your home a prison that they hate to be there. If they refer to your home as a prison, you need to make some changes to your helicopter parenting methods.
14. The Child Is Constantly Worried About Getting in Trouble
Does your child fear coming home or being around you because they don’t want to get into trouble? If you’re too strict with your child, then they may dread being in your presence; it’s not that they’ve done anything wrong; it’s just that you’re so strict that they’re afraid that anything they say can and will be used against them.
This is no way for a child to live. They need to have open communication and to be able to talk to their parent about their thoughts and feelings without being punished. You will be thankful one day that you have an open and honest relationship.
15. They Don’t Make any Plans Out of Fear A Parent Will Say No
Are you infringing on your child’s social life? They might be afraid to ask to go to a birthday party for fear a parent does not want to give independence. If you’re a helicopter parent, then according to National Health Institute, your overbearing nature can dictate their decision-making abilities.
While they might need to check with you for a ride and to make sure that you don’t have anything else planned for that weekend, give your kid the chance to begin making their own schedule, especially if they’re a teen.
It’s challenging to find the right balance between being a good parent and not being too overbearing. Your child needs you to be by their side. As they grow and mature, you take on more of a friend role than a ruler.
If you don’t allow your child the space they need to grow and become an adult, then you can cause yourself real trouble down the road. A child that is too sheltered might have difficulty with social situations, avoid getting a job till later in life, or may not feel they can go to college.
How many times have you seen or heard someone talk about a “mama’s boy” or a child being “under the skirt tail?” These are all indications of an overbearing parent, and the child has learned to rely on them for everything. It’s okay to let your child go a little bit more with each year, and you should employ positive parenting techniques.
Remember the old saying that if you love something, you must set it free? Well, when it comes to your child, this saying is true. Your kids need to have some freedoms, or they will feel like their childhood was a prison sentence, and you’re the warden.