Overbearing Parents – Just How Far is Too Far?

Photo by David Castillo Dominici FreeDigitalPhotos
Photo by David Castillo Dominici FreeDigitalPhotos

Take several rebellious adolescents who are eager to expand their freedom. Throw in a handful of parents who are likely confused and anxious about their children’s safety. The result? A large supply of tension and frustration.

There is a very delicate line between reasonable and extreme measures, one that is often easily blurred when it comes to healthy parenting. Secure protection is absolutely necessary for the wellbeing of adolescents, but sometimes things are taken too far, and what was probably kind-hearted concern ends up coming across as insane dictatorship. I’m sure I speak for a decent portion of the world’s populace when I say that having someone constantly breathing down your neck is not the ideal way to spend your days.

The sense of feeling trapped and suffocated can be produced by overwhelming pressure from parents and their possible need to scrutinize and control your every move.

Situations may include having to answer a dozen questions about your friends’ first and last names, your planned whereabouts, your intended time of arrival and return, your mode of transportation, as well as giving a precise step-by-step game plan of your exact actions before you are allowed to head out. Or maybe you have to endure a novel-length speech whenever you’re interacting with a person of the opposite sex. Or perhaps they take the occasional dig through your personal possessions without notice or consent.

One of the most valuable aspects of a parent-child relationship is solid trust. But there will never be much of that if the child is forced to display every inner detail of their life under a magnifying glass, given no free will and constantly feeling as if walls are pressed up around them. Now, I’m not saying to let them run wild and leave destruction in their wake, but everyone requires breathing space and their fair amount of freedom in life.

Of course, it’s only natural for parents to look out for their kids, and yet it’s equally as natural for the looked-after individuals to feel emotions of distress at having their every action stared down and analyzed to the core.

What some parents seem to have a hard time grasping is that when people mature, they grow both physically and mentally, the process being one that is uncontrollable even by the most careful of guardians. Mental growth is easily linked to a new desire for greater independence, and this is in no way a negative effect. Gaining independence is a person’s most direct path to recognizing and acknowledging their innermost being. What inevitably comes with new found independence is the urge to test the waters and seek previously untouched experiences. This development is a natural piece of everybody’s lives, and it is crucial for youth to be given some space to freely find themselves during this process. Smoldering their independence and monitoring their lives does more harm than good.

This does not merely apply to adolescents, either. Humans in general tend to enjoy being able to go about their life without the constant requirement to execute every move beneath the lenses of hawk eyes.

However, although parents may sometimes seem like the antagonists, it’s often unreasonable to completely thrust the weight of blame onto their shoulders. We mustn’t disregard their intentions. Most of the time they simply want the very best for us and are prepared to go to great measures to ensure that we have it. The approach they use may not always be the most effective, but they normally hold an admirable amount of love. It is often because of this immense love that they tend to overprotect, attempting to make the moves for us as they see fit. Again, not a great parenting method in terms of shared trust, but the reasons are there.

So why is it so difficult for some parents to understand and acknowledge the flaws in overbearing management? Why not take a step back and offer the healthy amount of needed freedom?

Although I lack personal experience in the area of parenting, I feel it’s safe to say that watching your children grow from a helpless bundle into a strong and capable being has the potential to evoke feelings of reluctance and nostalgia. Everyone goes through a time where they spread their wings and launch into the air, attempting to take those first steps out of the nest. For parents, watching this process is not always easy, and beginning to let go is definitely even harder, which may cause them to reach for firmer control.

Not only that, but many parents are simply worried to an over-the-top degree. So driven are they to do their absolute best that they forget just how far is too far, ultimately ending up going overboard.

If placed in the right mental position, it’s not always difficult to empathize with parents. It’s important to remember that they care, and it’s also important to stand up for yourself. It’s not fair for you to be living within unreasonable limitations, but perhaps this is a negotiable matter. Sit down with your parents and explain your perspective. After all, they were likely in your position at one point in their lives as well.

As for all the parents out there, it is completely understandable that parenting is one of the world’s toughest jobs. A lot of dedication and purpose is needed, but everlasting worry doesn’t need to be a consistent piece. Take a step back and brush off the little things that aren’t worth the non-proportional amounts of stress. You’ll find yourself to be a lot happier without all the unnecessarily burdensome weights, leaving a more comfortable parent-child bond.

When it comes down to it, the connection between parents and their children is utterly precious and deserves to blossom to its fullest potential. Mutual trust and just the right amount of good-hearted support add up to a bond worth sustaining, but this also requires making an effort to understand each other’s side. The result, however, will surely be a step up from a previously strained relationship.

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