Over protective of my 7 yr old

Michelle - posted on 04/24/2013 ( 5 moms have responded )

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I have realized that I am way over protective of my son who is 7 and realizing the harmful affects that could have in a child, I am not sure if its too late to fix :-(

I don't know how to back off. Obviously I don't do it on purpose but I have a huge fear of something bad happening to him that I just can't seem to get over. I want him to be confident and I can see that he's not and it breaks my heart. I was fearful as a child and I don't want him to be like me. Any advice on how to let go an help him to be more confident in himself??

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Evangelyna - posted on 04/27/2013

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It's never too late to change your ways if you're truly ready and willing. Worrying about your baby (I don't care how old someone's kid is they will always be their baby) part of being a parent. There's nothing you can do to keep yourself from worrying but you have to realize that he HAS to make mistakes. It's part of growing up. You have to learn how to fall down and pick yourself up again. Of course you'll always be there for him but you won't always be right there. Before you know it he's going to have to make his own way in this world and to do that he needs independence. Let him do things on his own before jumping in to the rescue. Give him freedom to be a kid without making yourself crazy thinking about what ifs and ultimately projecting your fears and insecurities on him to the extent that he's afraid to live.

My dad is a worrier mostly because of his job, he was in law enforcement for almost 30 years. He educated us on safety but never let his fears become our fears. Whenever we asked his opinion he would say, "it's your decision" or "it's your life, I can't live it for you." He still does this which drives me nuts lol but I also love that he never gives unwanted advice and I practically have to coerce him into giving any type of opinion on what I should do lol but him stepping back and letting me take charge of my life, in my opinion, has made me a better person. I learned to accept responsibility for my actions at a young age, I've never made excuses for myself. I believe in myself enough to make the right decision and even if it turns out to be the wrong decision I know how to learn from it and move on without being afraid of being wrong again.

You have to have confidence in your child so he can have confidence in himself. You know firsthand what it's like to be fearful and you don't want that for him which is good but it also means you have to change how you react to things. It's okay to worry and be afraid but pretend to be confident and sure in front of him. Fake it until you make it. You can't put him in a plastic bubble for the rest of his life so you have to prepare him for life. If he always has mommy holding his hand and checking under his bed for monsters he'll never learn how to be on his own. Leaving home for him will be a complete shock.

Try baby steps for yourself. If he wants to go outside and play but you're afraid someone is going to take him or that he's going to fall or whatever take precautions without creating fear. Teach him about strangers and not to go near cars he doesn't recognize. If he's skateboarding or roller blading make him wear a helmet and pads. Have him come home and check in every hour so you can see for yourself that he's fine. If he gets hurt don't make a big fuss about it, it's part of being a kid. I got hurt so much as a kid my doctor would say, "it's been a while." If a month had gone by since my latest hospital worthy injury. I'm also very clumsy and accident prone.

If you're worried about bullies at school, make sure you keep communication open between the two of you and that he knows to go to a teacher or the principal.

If you're worried about him getting hit by a car, make sure he knows the importance of looking both ways before crossing the street and never goes chasing a ball or skateboard. Or have a "no crossing the street" rule.

Just slowly allow yourself to give a little, don't over think things, stop watching the news if you watch the news. You'll probably have to push him a little too since he's not confident yet. But kids are capable of adapting quickly. It'll be better to learn how to let him be a kid and stop trying to shelter him now than when he's a teenager and will resent his lack of freedom. Teenagers who are given freedom don't have anything to rebel against.

When I was growing up I never had a curfew, in high school if I was going to be out all night I just had to let my parents know I wasn't going to be home. I never kept secrets from them or snuck out because I didn't have to. As a young kid I had boundaries that changed with age and they always knew where I was and who I was with but they allowed me the freedom to grow. They knew the risks, my dad more so than my mom, but the benefits of raising a self aware, responsible, confident person who knows what to do in bad situations and is comfortable talking to their parents because they never freak out outweighed the risks of the highly unlikely chance that anything would actually happen.

Because you realize your need to change, I think you can but you can't rush it. Take it a step at a time and you'll both be fine. Worse comes to worse he'll be living in your basement when's he's 40. ;)

Marian - posted on 04/26/2013

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You have already taken a huge step, by recognizing your over protective ways. And let me say this, I have huge respect for Mommy instincts. We have instincts as a defense mechanism, listen to them. But at the same time recognize the difference between instincts and paranoia.
I find it very hard to let my 8 year old be more and more independent. But that's because as his Mom there is a part of me that always wants him to need me. I find that he seeks independence, and I need to respect that. After all, my goal is for him to be independent, confident and self-reliant as an adult. The only way that is going to happen is to get out of his way and let him do his thing. He knows that I will always be there if he needs me, but he also knows he can do many things on his own successfully.
The best thing you can do is step aside, let him try things on his own, and then be there to cheer his successes. My son loves to hear me cheering for him on the sidelines at his sporting events. He always says, "Mommy I can always hear you cheering for me." Not sure if it bothers him, but I do it because I want him to know I am there, for him. Your son will start to try things as you let him. Start small and let him work up to completing bigger challenges on his own. And when he does pat yourself on the back because you have helped your child take steps towards independence. Good luck!

Tina Marie - posted on 04/26/2013

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Generally "overprotectiveness" is a symptom associated with fear or anxiousness. Such you stated as a child you were fearful as well. Perhaps his lack of confidence is a direct result from anxiety he sees and feels in the home. Maybe it would be beneficial for you to discover how to deal with the anxiousness you are experiencing and his will dissipate afterwards. People aren't born to be fearful, they are taught to be. I wish you well and am sure you'll do just fine.

Michelle - posted on 04/24/2013

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So after posting this I read some comments on a similar post and maybe I'm not so over protective after all ;-)

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