My excessive pampering is ruining my son’s childhood. My overparenting is impairing his progress, it is stripping off his independence and if I don’t do anything about it, it can entirely weaken his confidence.

As a first time mom, I became acquainted with various emotions which were previously unfamiliar to me. Along with brimming happiness and deep, almost unfathomable affection for my little man are worries and doubts.  I never imagined motherhood can actually make me feel inadequate; that it can bring about this notion of incompetence and uncertainty. I was surprised that it can enormously build up confidence and vulnerability at the same time. Bearing un-constructive sentiments most of the time leads to self-reproach; I often find myself examining and questioning my parenting ability.

Yes, I am a cosseted and I am greatly aware of the drawbacks of overprotection.  I feel awfully accountable for my son’s lack of social skills. I hold myself responsible for his reluctance of doing thrilling activities.  It breaks my heart to see him somewhat helpless, wanting badly to take risks but is too unsure to do so. My understanding of the downside of coddling should have stopped me from being a helicopter mom.  I know, and I try. Each day, I strive to allow my son to freely explore his little world. I struggle to not stop him from climbing chairs and stairs. I make a conscious effort not to impede his development. I do my best but I fail, then I try again and fail once more.

As I watched my 28-month-old-son declined his baba’s attempts to place him on the rides at the nearby park, I felt a heavy lump in my throat. I breathed deeply trying to reassure myself he is going to be just fine.  I looked at other kids who were carefree and daring and evidently fearless romped about the park, and I blamed myself. I wished I had been a braver, bolder mom.  I wished I had not prevented him from trying things when he was much younger.  I wished I have said ‘NO’ less often.

Each time I said ‘No’ I should have said ‘YES’. Each time I cried ‘STOP’ I could have just watched closely and provided support. It’s not just the fun of rides and swings that I am taking away from him—it is not only the enjoyment or excitement of various toddler activities, occasions which he will not even remember but will critically influence his personality.  My excessive pampering is ruining my son’s childhood. My overparenting is impairing his progress, it is stripping off his independence and if I don’t do anything about it, it can entirely weaken his confidence. I want him to be out of harm’s way, but bulldoze parenting doesn’t really keep him safe.

I have messed up the first crucial years of my son’s childhood, but I am convinced I will still be able to mend it.  I squeezed his little hands and kissed his rosy cheeks. This time, mama will try harder. If I fail? Then I will try again. In order to improve his confidence, I have to work on mine too—and hopefully, together, we will learn to overcome fears and find courage. It is not too late for him, and maybe, for me too.

 

This article is contributed by Rowena Luna