Over-mothering:
“It’s hard to be firm with my child, because he’s very sensitive.”

"Resolute" by Mimi Stuart
Live the Life you Desire

You may be projecting your own desire to be taken care of onto your child and therefore over-mother him. Ironically, this over-protection causes increased sensitivity and anxiety in both you and the child.

Life is difficult and can be challenging. It’s our responsibility as parents to prepare our children for those challenges. Too much protection and anxiety on the part of the parent can prevent the child from learning to fend for himself and to develop a healthy resilience and independence, leaving the child helpless, fearful, and dependent.

A child needs to gradually develop a sense of emotional separation from the parent. Being firm in a reasonable and respectful way requires having personal authority and the ability to set boundaries and mean it. This is a great thing to role-model for your kids if you want them to be able to stand up for themselves and others.

Start gradually treating your child as though he has some strength and resilience of his own (age-appropriately, of course). Children learn to handle life’s challenges without falling apart through having to muster up some courage in new situations and not necessarily getting what they want. So don’t be afraid to be resolute when it matters. Kids who gradually learn to deal with some pressure and boundaries while feeling secure and loved, grow up to handle most of what life is capable of throwing at them.

by Alison Poulsen, PhD

Read “Parenting Together: Authoritarian vs. Permissive Parenting.”

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10 thoughts on “Over-mothering:
“It’s hard to be firm with my child, because he’s very sensitive.”

  1. Rini

    Yes I would. I have done so in the past and will continue to do so.Just besauce someone isn’t a parent doesn’t mean they are incapable of giving good advice. Where I live, sadly a lot of the SAHM’s don’t stay home at all-they spend 90% of their time socializing, and their live in nanny’s raise their children. Those nannies are much more capable and knowledgeable than the children’s actual parents.I have received plenty of good advice and opinions from people that aren’t parents. My 15yo who obviously has no children gives fantastic advice based on her experiences she has gained from being around her younger siblings, and friends children. She’s more capable than a lot of mothers I have met. In fact her close friend who is the eldest of 6 children has given me GREAT advice, and she is not a parent. But she basically raised those little kids, and I find her opinions and advice to be very mature, intelligent and reliable.Has no one else ever heard a parent give terrible advice? Sure, being a mom or dad is a unique experience, but it doesn’t mean others advice is not valuable or worth taking on board.

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