Published: 03/16/2015 - Updated: 04/04/2018
Author: MSc. Miriam Reyes
You lie to them out of fear that they’ll suffer, you give them what they want so they don’t get frustrated, you tell them things you don’t really feel so they feel better, you give them what they want rather than what they need. Why do you like to over-protect them?
There are a lot of people prone to over-protecting others, be it their children, their partner, friends, etc., with the intention of avoiding pain, worry, anger, disappointment, etc. However, over-protection could be one of the most common causes of insecurity, rebellion, frustration, weak character and confusion.
Over-protecting means that you want to protect the ones you love from “bad” things. Over-protective individuals generally tend to judge emotions a lot, they think that pain, anger and worry are things that must be avoided, which is why they do everything they can to prevent others from suffering from them.
And yet, whenever you protect someone in this fashion, what you are really doing is depriving that person of living his/her own experiences, making them stronger, more creative, secure and whole. This also prevents them from being more aware of who they are. Pain, fear, and all those things you think are “bad” are really life challenges that push one to grow, to understand oneself better and to gain emotional maturity. Whenever you feel pain or you don’t get what you want, think about how creative you get. You find a way to continue.
Over-protected children become insecure and shallow. They throw fits and have very confusing limits, which could make them rebellious. Over-protected children are also grouchy, because they aren’t resistant to frustration. They become explosive and rude, especially with those that over-protect them. It could even be a way of protesting that protection.
If a child feels over-protected from childhood, they generally aren’t very tolerant when they grow up. They are ore prone to emotional pain, they become frustrated easily when things don’t go the way they want. Over-protected adults and children alike are intolerant, desperate, and inconsiderate because they are used to being treated with the utmost consideration.
Why do some people over-protect?
Out of fear and insecurity, because in some way, they need to feel secure in the love, affection, or recognition of whomever they are protecting, or because they’re afraid that the person they love will “suffer” when facing “raw” reality.
How to avoid over-protecting
Always remember that caring for and occasionally spoiling someone is not the same as over-protecting. In order to avoid going over the limits, we’re going to give you a few tips that will undoubtedly help you:
- Talk to your child or the individual truthfully, never try to hide something out of fear that the other will suffer or become angry. This will only postpone their emotional learning. You can use common sense with children, and not say things that you feel are not necessary for them to know. But when this is regarding a child facing his/her problems and situations, you need to talk to them with love and empathy, but show the child how things truly are. In regards to adults, it’s always best to speak honestly.
- Don’t give the child everything he/she asks for, and let them get frustrated when they don’t get what they want.
- If your child has a problem at school, don’t rush in like superman and fix everything. It’s important that you help your child think, to solve his/her own problems, so they don’t depend on you. Whenever they feel bad, or if someone is treating them poorly, help them fix it. You could ask them things like “What can you do to solve it? Can you put limits? What do you think you could do so you don’t feel that way?” And give them ideas regarding what you would do. But let them participate in fixing their own problems.
- Don’t be dramatic when your kid falls down, or if something happens to them, or if teachers or students treat them poorly. Try to see it as a struggle and before you rush out with your sword and shield, know that your child will learn to be stronger and more aware through this experience. So listen to them, and make them think about ways to change their pain. Consolation is a good patch, but it cannot substitute for learning.
Don’t let people feel victimized by others, but rather, creators of their own destiny and experiences.
Revised by: Dra. Loredana Lunadei on 04/04/2018
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