My father is 76 years old. My mother is 60 years old. I am 25 years old. Right now some of you may be saying wow. Growing up was quite a task. Having older parents helped me connect better with my elders as well as always acting ten years older than I was. Having older parents meant, in my case, having stubborn and fixed ways and thoughts for their generation and not open to much change.
Day in and Day out I was faced with routines and guidelines and rules that I felt as though I was not myself. I was not an individual.
I woke up at a certain time, went to school at a certain time, and went to bed at a certain time. Sounds like a normal kid growing up right? WRONG! It was all of the in between things that deprived me of my individuality and sometimes my sanity.
My clothes were chosen for me. Baggy sweaters, long T-shirts, snap or elastic jeans. I hated the sweaters, the long twice my size T-shirts, and the uncomfortable jeans. Every time I would go clothes shopping with my mom she would always say I was so hard to buy for because I didn’t like what she liked and what they were buying for me.
My hair was another story. I wanted long hair, but I wasn’t allowed. It would have been too hard for my mom to take care of. So I was forced to suffer through middle school with a Shirley Temple afro and or mullet style hair do’s.
Because of my parents ways I had few friends. The kids at school saw me as a baby that was always under her parent’s wing. I was told what to wear, how to have my hair, what I ate for breakfast, when I ate my breakfast…sometimes waiting up to 4 hours for a simple sandwich because I was not permitted in the kitchen in order to make it myself.
Getting dressed for the day when I was home from school was like pulling teeth because I wasn’t allowed to get dressed until my mom told me that I could. Sometimes I wouldn’t be out of my pajamas until 4pm. I was only allowed to wonder next door to play and most times I was confined to my room writing, singing, or watching television.
I was always told that there was a cruel world out there, but I was never able to view it for myself. I felt like an only child….trapped. I was always told that sex came after marriage because it was the right thing to do. But I was never taught why or even what sex really was. I was told it’s not right to even sleep next to a boy if you were not married to him. There was no such thing as boys as friends in my parents eyes. I was told it wasn’t nice to swear, even though my parents did it all of the time.
Everywhere I turned my parents fought my battles. Every time I wanted to do something against the routine such as go out with a friend to help him or her sell things at a garage sale or try to just go to the park before noon, the response was always “what would the neighbors say”?
By the time I was 16, I still had my mother walking me to school one mile up the road. I wasn’t allowed to date, no body wanted to date my anyway because of my life and how much my parents watched over me. My father refused to teach me how to drive and refused me to get a job. I had no money for myself. No allowance. What allowance I was given was immediately taken away because my father needed the money for bills, however I knew for a fact he had them already paid and ended up using the money to go to the local VFW with.
There was no privacy. The phones were tapped, and the conversation recorded. Everyone walked all over me because I wasn’t raised to speak up for myself. It was wrong to argue and act as though you were anything but a nice young lady. But it wasn’t like I was a wild child or anything like that. I never ran away from home or did drugs or stood on a street corner. I was a straight A student looking to find myself.
After I graduated High School, I had decided that I was going to go against my parent’s wishes and go to college that was 40 minutes away from my home and live in a dorm. And what did my parents want me to do you ask? Join the Navy or become an X-ray technician. Neither would have worked. For one I am the type of person that can’t stand the sight of blood and for two, my knees dislocate on a regular basis that prevents me from doing any physical work.
I decided to go to a technical institute and major in Multimedia Technologies in the year 2000. When I left home I swore that I would never, ever move back. And now it is 2007 and I have kept my promise to myself. Since 2000 I have moved ten times, met many wonderful people who have become my true best friends, had four relationships (which I can say I have only had sex with four people, the ones that I have had the relationships with), and I have learned a lot.
I dropped out of the technical institute because it bored me and the teachers never taught. Since then I have worked three years as a advanced technical trouble shooter for satellite receivers them moved onto a different satellite company to do general customer service and installation support. I love my job and make $750 every two weeks. In my spare time I have built a website for an electric and supply company in Clearfield. I have taught myself the ins and outs of over ten different computer software. I have met the most wonderful guy who has been a true friend who has taken the time to teach me how to drive, teach me computer systems and networking.
I have a car, I have a town home, I have a wonderful boyfriend, and three adorable felines. I have learned that life is what you make of it and does not have any rules or guidelines to abide by. You create yourself. Letting people walk all over you doesn’t get you anywhere, but having footprints on your back. As for sex, there is no such thing, in my life it is referred to as making love. This is something of the most intimate nature that is shared with you and the one that you love, it is not something that is or can be given freely.
I have learned that you can have a best friend that is male that it is okay to lie next to and confide in. I have discovered comfortable clothing that still covers my body, but is far from provocative, which I do believe my parents were trying to keep me from becoming. Although life has turned out wonderful for me, discovering who I was did take me through an abusive relationship, as well as all the pent up anger and frustration growing up finally came out in the form of severe depression and panic attacks, which has been treated successfully.
Being an overprotective parent comes naturally to many parents. While it is good to be protective, one should know where to draw the line so as to not step into your child’s individual space. In the long run, it could stifle your child’s growth. You may be genuinely concerned but the more hyper you are about your child, the more stressed out you are going to get. And, the more finicky, extra-delicate and cranky your child is likely to become.
Overprotection can cause kids to be unready for the real world. When the kids do get out into the real world, they don’t know how to handle it. They sometimes react very seriously. Some have panic attacks and are more likely to have panic disorders when they get older. This is caused by not being able to do things by themselves while they grew up. Their parents are always there making sure they are all right and that they weren’t experiencing any pain or discomfort. When children grow up, they need to make their own mistakes and experience failure a few times.
No one is perfect; everyone has to mess up at some point. Often parents think that their children are to young and this may sometimes be the case but sometimes the child has grown up and matured and is capable of making his or her own decision but the parents still view them as a small child who is incapable of making wise decisions.
Parent’s fears for their children’s safety, if extreme, can have an adverse effect on their children’s confidence and self-esteem. By molly-coddling a child, a parent is only making the child more dependent and inhibiting her attempts to learn to do things by herself. Overprotective parents unintentionally send out a message to their children that they are incapable of handling things by themselves.
In conclusion, being an overprotective parent can reflect on the child for his or her entire life, and in most cases, not in a good way. Kids are going to go out on their own and find themselves whether you like it or not, and whether you the parent, teach them now or let them find out the hard way on their own, is up to you.