Of course children need to be protected. What happens is that the overprotection It is not an excess of protection, but rather a protection that is misunderstood, misproportioned, even false, misfocused, misguided, dysfunctional, and maladaptive.
Protecting a child implies knowing how to read their needs, identify them and respond to them in order to transmit them security and comfort. The father who protects and cares healthily is a responsive father, that is, he responds to the authentic needs of your child, providing him with what he needs at different times in his life. The father who protects is aware of the difficulties his son has to face face and, although it hurts that he could have a bad time, he does not save his son opportunities and spaces for learningbut it offers you at all times the tools that best suits you to navigate through all the vicissitudes that life throws at you.
With all this, a father protective He is a father who helps his children create solid ties with others and with the world, because they will be based on security and confidence.
Instead, the father overprotect projects onto his son all his fearsthose that he has not learned to manage, and offers the child or adolescent what he believes he needs or what he considers he would have needed.
Let’s take a very common example. Before him fear or in the face of sadness, for example, the child may need something as simple as a hug to take shelter in or a hand to hold on to in order to learn to tolerate pain and being able to function despite the different emotions unpleasant and uncomfortable with which you have to live. The overprotective father, from his own vision of the world -and not from the position in which his son finds himself- will tend to divert his attentionit will try to distract you from fear instead of helping you manage it, it will try to keep you away from sadness instead of learning to live with it when necessary… It will try to relieve him as quickly as possible, because he himself is not able to tolerate his own emotions. He will do it with the best intentions in the world, but he won’t be giving his son any strategy to face life effectively.
Seek the blame
On a day-to-day basis, when faced with any type of problem, the overprotective father will tend to give his son the solution instead of accompany him while he is wrong and ask him alternatives so that you can decide what is the next step you want to take. She will make the decisions for him, considering that she wants and does what is best for him. And, in conflict situations, in order to take care of her son, she will tend to look outside for blame and responsibilities that most likely, to a greater or lesser extent, it is his own son who must assume.
fear and mistrust
Ultimately, the overprotective parent is deregulated, you have difficulties connecting with pain and managing it and, therefore, you cannot foster an optimal emotional adjustment in your child. Overprotection thus creates unnecessary needs, fosters dependency, generates insecurities, fears and mistrust. In the extreme, without knowing it, the overprotective father becomes the protagonist of the life of his son; he becomes a kind of undercover protagonist, in a obstacle falsely protective that does not allow the child to assume his own responsibilities and develop what, ultimately, is the ultimate goal of any formative process: the autonomy. What for the father is a show of love in the son generates a feeling of uselessness, lowers her self-esteem and prevents her from developing strategies to manage your frustration.
Where is the balance?
Which is the alternative? As much as it costs me to see my son suffer and assume that he has to face difficult situations, how can I protect him in a healthy way? Where is the balance that guarantees your emotional adjustment? How do I favor your autonomy and their well-being in the future? These are some guidelines.
- Accompanying and supervising, without assuming absolute control of all the situations that concern him.
- Allowing the child to do new activities inside and outside of school, letting him explore the world, with all the risks that this entails.
- Listening to what worries him and attending to what he fears, trying to expose him to it and providing him with tools that he has to put into practice, even if it is difficult for him and is part of a complex process.
- Providing spaces for social relationships with their peers, in addition to the security provided by the family.
- Reinforcing your curiosity, encouraging you to want to explore the world instead of just alerting you to potential dangers, although we accompany you very closely to help you get up in every stumble.
- Granting tasks and responsibilities progressively, assuming that “it will not always be as responsible as it should be” and, therefore, it will have to learn from each situation in which those responsibilities are not assumed in the best possible way.
- Always providing different visions and alternatives to a conflict, instead of a single magisterial solution.
- Fostering their empathy, helping them to put themselves in the place of others.
- Training him to be responsible also on an emotional level, so that he can see himself from the outside, so that he does not always put himself ahead of everything and everyone, and is aware of the impact that his attitudes have on others.
- Allowing him to gradually make certain decisions that have a direct impact on him.
- Negotiating with him rules that affect him in any area of his life, and always explaining to him what are the consequences that he must assume if he does not abide by them.
- Allowing him to set his own goals, regardless of what we want for him, and motivating him to take the necessary steps to achieve them; assuming that, progressively depending on his age and increasingly in more areas, he will be the one who manages his times and his goals.