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Published on Aug 26, 2022
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Sophia Clark

Overprotective Parents: Signs, Examples, & Impact on Mental Health

While parents intend to keep their children safe, sometimes, this protection can go too far. Parents' overprotectiveness can prevent children from developing important life skills and independence. What signs and examples of overprotective parents and their impact on mental health?

For example, a child who is never allowed to walk to school or play outside with friends misses important opportunities to develop physical and social skills.

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Similarly, overprotective parents often hover around their children, not allowing them to experience natural consequences or make mistakes. As a result, these children who have strict parents often have trouble problem-solving and making decisions when they reach adulthood.

While it is understandable that parents want to keep their children safe, it is important to strike a balance between protection and independence. Although this parenting can sometimes be helpful, it can also have negative consequences. Sometimes, apart from being overprotective, parents show signs for being controlling as well.

What is an Overprotective Parent?

Overprotective parenting is one type of parenting style. It is characterized by high parental control and involvement in the child's life. The parents are typically very involved in their child's schooling, social life, and extracurricular activities. They may monitor their child's Internet use, texting, and phone calls.

The parenting style aims to keep the child safe from harm and ensure that the child has a successful future. However, some experts believe that overprotective parenting can affect a child's development.

They argue that overprotective parents can foster a sense of dependency in the child and prevent the child from developing the skills needed to function independently. Additionally, overprotective parenting may limit the child's opportunities to explore new things and take risks. Ultimately, it is up to each parent to decide what level of protection is appropriate for their child.

Why are Parents Overprotective?

Parents want to protect their kids for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, they want to keep them safe from harm. This includes physical damage, such as injuries or illnesses, and emotional lability, such as bullying or depression. Second, parents want to prepare their kids for the world.

This means teaching them how to make good decisions, cope with difficult situations, and manage their finances. Finally, parents want their kids to be happy and successful in life, and they want them to have the opportunity to reach their full potential and to live a life that is fulfilling and rewarding.

Ultimately, parents want their kids to be safe, happy, and successful, and they will do everything they can to help them achieve these goals. How to be a good parent and protect children is the only matter of concern for most of the parents.

Signs of Overprotective Parenting

Overprotective parents can often hover over their children, micromanaging their every move. While it’s natural for parents to want to keep their kids safe, this type of behavior can actually do more harm than good. Here are some signs that you may be an overprotective parent:

  • You never let your child out of your sight.
  • Children are not supposed to do anything on their own.
  • You always want to know where your child is and who they’re with.
  • Getting overly worried when your child is away from you is also another sign of overprotective parents.
  • Controlling every aspect of your child’s life is also common.
  • You take control over a child’s friendship.
  • You consistently invade a child's privacy if you're an overprotective parent.

If you exhibit these behaviors, taking a step back and reassessing your parenting style is important. Overprotection can lead to many problems, including insecurity, dependency, and a lack of independence. Instead, give your child some space and allow them to explore the world on their terms.

Examples of Overprotective Parenting

There are several reasons why parents may be overprotective of their children. In some cases, it may be due to a traumatic event that the parent experienced in their childhood, such as abuse or neglect. As a result, the parent fears their child will suffer the same fate if they are not constantly monitored.

To clarify, here are a few examples of overprotective parenting.

1. Selective Friends

Many parents want their children to have friends that they can rely on and who will support them through thick and thin. However, some parents take this desire too far, becoming overly involved in their child's social life and choosing their friends for them.

This overprotective behavior can do more harm than good, preventing children from developing the skills they need to make and keep friends independently. Moreover, it can lead to isolation and resentment, as children may feel they are not trusted to make their own decisions.

2. Be Around during Kid’s Playtime

Kids need to be allowed to explore and learn independently, which cannot be easy if they always have a parent hovering nearby. Imagine your parents standing next to you during play as they worry if you fall or get hurt in the playground.

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Of course, there will be times when a child needs help or supervision, but overprotective parents can often stifle a child's natural curiosity and sense of independence.

3. Parents make Excuses

Parents making excuses is another sign of protective parenting. All parents have had to deal with their child's inexcusable behavior at one time or another. Whether it's refusing to do homework, talking back, or acting out in school, there is always the temptation to make excuses for our children's bad behavior.

Likewise, when we make excuses for our children's bad behavior, we communicate that their behavior is acceptable. This can lead to a cycle of bad behavior that is difficult to break.

4. Restrictions on Social Media

Parents want to protect their children from the harmful effects of social media, such as cyberbullying and online predators which is common over Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat these days. Preventative measures such as banning all social media can do more harm than good.

Not only does this deprive children of valuable opportunities to learn how to navigate the online world safely, but it can also make them feel isolated and cut off from their peers.

5. Shielding kids from all the potential dangers in the world.

Some parents try to keep their kids "safe" by shielding them from all the potential dangers in the world. They may not let them play outside, go to parties, or even leave the house without supervision. While keeping kids safe is important, this overprotection can make them feel isolated and anxious.

6. Making everything about achievement and success.

Some parents put a lot of pressure on their kids to achieve and be successful. They may push them to get straight A's, be the team star, or get into the best colleges. While it's important to encourage kids to do their best, this type of pressure can be overwhelming and lead to unhealthy stress levels.

7. Refusing to let kids experience natural consequences.

Some parents try to protect their kids from experiencing any negative consequences, even if those consequences are natural and healthy (such as falling while learning to walk). This can prevent kids from developing resilience and problem-solving skills.

While there is nothing wrong with wanting to protect your child, it's important to strike a balance between protection and giving them the freedom to learn and grow independently. Overprotective parenting can do more harm than good in the long run.

Causes of Overprotective Parenting

There are many reasons why parents may overprotect their children. Sometimes, it may be due to a parent's experiences growing up. Maybe they didn't have a lot of freedom as a child and wanted their children to have more. Or perhaps they were abused or neglected and didn't want their children to go through the same thing.

Other times, it may be because the world is scary, and parents want to keep their children safe. With all the news of kidnappings, shootings, and other crimes, it's no wonder that parents might be inclined to shelter their children from the outside world.

Still, other times it may be because the parents are overprotective by nature, want to be involved in every aspect of their children's lives, and may be unable to let go.

Whatever the reason, overprotective parenting can have some serious consequences for both the parent and the child. For the parent, it can lead to anxiety and stress. And for the child, it can lead to a lack of independence and self-confidence.

  • Fear of News Media

In today's society, the media is always sensationalizing the news. This can lead to a lot of anxiety for parents trying to protect their children from the sometimes harsh realities of the world.

While it is important to be informed, it is also important to remember that the media often exaggerates or even outright lies to get attention. This can make it difficult for parents to know what is happening worldwide and how they should best protect their children.

  • Anxiety

It's no secret that parenting comes with a lot of anxiety. When children are born, they worry about their safety, health, and happiness. And as they grow older and begin to explore the world, anxiety can increase.

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One way that some parents deal with anxiety is by becoming overprotective. They may try to control every aspect of their child's life to protect them from harm.

Overprotective Parenting: Impact on Mental Health

It is well established that parents play a vital role in the development and well-being of their children. However, it is also important to recognize that such a thing can be too much protection, and when parents are overprotective, it can harm their children's mental health.

According to the research, overprotective parenting can lead to feelings of anxiety and insecurity in children.

It can also foster a sense of dependence and make it difficult for children to develop healthy relationships. In extreme cases, overprotection can develop mental health disorders like agoraphobia.

While parents need to provide love and support, they should also strive to give their children the freedom to grow and learn independently. Only then will they be able to develop into happy and healthy adults.

Overprotective Parenting: Impact on Physical Health

Overprotective parenting can harm children's mental health. However, new research suggests that the effects of overprotective parenting may also extend to physical health. In a recent study, children who reported having overprotective parents were more likely to suffer from chronic health conditions such as obesity and hypertension.

The researchers believe this is because overprotective parents are often less inclined to allow their children to engage in physical activity, leading to a sedentary lifestyle.

Furthermore, overprotective parents may be more likely to feed their children unhealthy foods to protect them from harm. This new research highlights the need for parents to balance protection and independence to ensure their children's long-term physical health.

6 Other Negative Effects of Overprotective Parenting

While it is natural for parents to want to protect their children from harm, there can be such a thing as too much protection. When parents are overprotective, it can negatively affect their children.

i. Independence

First, overprotective parenting can lead to children who are not independent. Because their parents have always been there to take care of them, they never learn how to do things for themselves. As a result, they become reliant on their parents and cannot function independently when they leave the nest.

ii. No Creativity

Second, overprotective parenting can stifle a child's creativity and sense of adventure. When children are constantly told what they can and cannot do, they fear stepping outside the box and trying new things, and this can limit their creativity and prevent them from taking risks later in life.

iii. Disappointment and Frustration

Third, overprotective parenting can cause children to have unrealistic expectations. When children are protected from every possible harm, they expect the world to always be safe and easy. This can lead to disappointment and frustration when encountering problems later in life.

iv. Anxious and Insecure

Fourth, overprotective parenting can make children anxious and insecure. When children are always being watched and monitored, they may feel incapable of taking care of themselves, leading to anxiety and low self-esteem.

v. Weak Parent-child Relationship

Finally, another negative effect of overprotective parenting is that it can damage the parent-child relationship. When parents are always hovering, children may start to feel smothered or suffocated. They may also resent their parents for not giving them the freedom to grow up and make their own mistakes. In extreme cases, this can lead to estrangement or divorce.

vi. Low Self-esteem

Overprotective parenting can have the opposite effect, leading to low self-esteem in children. When parents are overprotective, they message their children that they are incapable of caring for themselves, which can teach children to feel incompetent and unable to meet life's challenges.

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Statistics of Overprotective Parenting

According to a recent study,

  • Nearly 60% of parents in the United States consider themselves overprotective. This is up from just over 50% in 2012.

  • The study also found that overprotective parenting is on the rise globally, with parents in countries like Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom reporting similar levels of concern.

  • When it comes to freedom, 62% of parents are overprotective.

  • 44% of parents criticize their children, while only 33% of them love to praise them.

While the reasons for this increase are not entirely clear, a combination of factors is likely at play. One possibility is that parents are more aware of their children's dangers than they were in the past. With the proliferation of news and social media, it is now easier to be exposed to stories of crime, accidents, and natural disasters.

As a result, parents may need to take more precautions to keep their children safe. Another possibility is that parents are under more pressure than ever before. With rising living costs and increased competition for jobs and schools, parents may feel they need to give their children every advantage possible.

Whatever the reasons for the increase in overprotective parenting, it significantly impacts families worldwide.

Tips for Overprotective Parents

If you're the parent of a young child, it's only natural to want to keep them safe from harm. However, there is such a thing as being too overprotective. Constantly hovering and shields can do more harm than good. Here are a few tips for avoiding overprotective parenting.

  • Let them know their importance.

One of the most important things you can do is teach your child how to assess risk. Help them to understand that not every situation is dangerous and that they are capable of making decisions for themselves.

  • Teach them to be independent

Encourage independence by giving them opportunities to explore and make mistakes in a safe environment. This will help them to build confidence and learn problem-solving skills.

  • Give private space

Respect their privacy and give them some space. This doesn't mean you should stop being involved in their lives, but it's important to let them have some time to themselves.

  • Trust yourself

Finally, trust your instincts. You know your child is better than anyone, so if something feels off, go with your gut. But don't be afraid to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed. Parenting is a tough job, and there's no shame in admitting that you need some support.


In a nutshell, being overprotective by parents has more disadvantages than advantages. Because they don’t trust their children, they often don’t allow them to do anything. As a result, the children may feel frustrated and helpless. They may also have difficulty making friends because they haven’t had the opportunity to socialize.

Moreover, overprotective parents may inadvertently teach their children that the world is dangerous. As a result, the children may grow up to be fearful and anxious. While it’s important for parents to protect their children from harm, it’s also important to allow them to experience life and learn from their mistakes.

I hope the article, “Overprotective Parents: Signs, Examples, & Impact on Mental Health,” helped you understand the parenting style in detail. Do you think you're an overprotective parent or against the parenting style? Let us know how the information was helpful for you through the comment section below.

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