By Anabel Medina
Society expects parents to provide for and raise children uniformly, but each child has his or her own needs. I now understand why my parents raised me the way they did.
Often, we tend to forget that parents are also human. They too were once kids themselves. Parents try to give their kids an easier path to success for the future. However, they can forget there is a fine line between having practical, protective instincts and being overly protective.
It’s one thing to be nurturing, supportive and concerned, but it also causes negative consequences when parents ask too much of their children. Many parents experience things that they don’t want their children to experience. They shield their child from unpleasant experiences, making them fragile to reality.
As parents try to create better, safer environments for their children, they don’t understand that doing so can create weaker coping skills and, my personal favorite, lower self-efficacy.
Over parenting causes the child to limit their experiences and have a false sense of real-life struggles. Struggles where they always have a helping hand at the ready.
Overprotective parents don’t understand that there should be open communication. This would present their children with the opportunity to fix their own mistakes.
Growing up with overprotective parents was hard for me because I had to figure things out on my own as I became more independent. Being the oldest meant my parents expected me to set good examples for my younger brothers.
As I grew older, my parents’ expectations grew similarly. They often reminded me that I was to be a role model for my brothers and whatever choices I made, they would follow.
For me, education will always be a priority. My family hasn’t experienced what it feels like to walk across the stage and receive their high school diploma. As my graduation date drew near, my parents had an academic plan for me to follow.
My friends didn’t like that my parents made my life decisions, but my vision for the future fell in line with the goals set up for me. My parents tried to make my education follow a smooth, straight path with as few bumps as possible.
To avoid distractions, they installed a tracking application on my phone called Life 360. I’m sure many teens have heard of this app. The app allows you to track your parents and parents to track you.
I am forbidden to uninstall Life 360. My parents want to make sure I am under their supervision 24/7. Even to this day, living 258 miles from home, my parents can track every cent I spend and every step I take.
My parents always remind me why they do this – to create a better future for me.
Having to experience this type of parenting isn’t fun. As a teenager, you want to explore places, you will make mistakes and you want to attend school events. Often you hear from fellow high school graduates that showing school spirit and being involved with your high school is an experience where students shouldn’t be left out.
As a teen with overprotective parents, my senior year wasn’t as spontaneously spectacular as my fellow classmates’. I didn’t experience homecoming. It never mattered if I was asked by someone, I wasn’t allowed to attend school events that went on after 11 p.m.
Now that I’m in college I feel a bit of freedom. I feel I have the ability to breathe without the pressure that I am carrying my parents’ weight on my back. Two months into college, my decisions weren’t made because of my parent’s suggestions. They were made because I decided it was time for me to learn how to make my own decisions.
Although my family didn’t want me to struggle throughout my childhood, they wanted me to understand that life comes with responsibilities. They weren’t completely concerned about shielding me from the world so that I became clueless.
My family figured out how to work around the challenges we faced. My parents had different morals and values than other parents did. One thing they regret was not allowing my siblings and I to learn from our own mistakes. All they wanted was for us to live the life they wish they were able to live.
Many view this as a bad thing. However, I see it as parents who only want the best for their children. Others who view the methods of overprotective parents as bad parenting believe their children become more depressed and less satisfied than those who were parented by adults who supported their kids and their choices.
However, studies have shown that college students with highly-involved parents actually have increased personal and social development and greater satisfaction in life.
Having controlling parents once was the worst. Despite this, they taught me many strategies and enabled me to grow up with a better view of the world.