Are You An Obsessive Parent?

When it comes to parenting, we all want to do better. Even the most confident Moms and Dads out there can admit that they don’t feel like they measure up in some areas. Of course, there are some that parent on the extremes. These are the helicopter parents or even the parent’s whose entire existence revolves around their children. I don’t think these folks feel like they are obsessed. I don’t believe that they even consider themselves on the extremes of parenting. I think they just feel like they are doing their job.

But what begins with good intentions can quickly spiral into something that is not only unhealthy for your kids, but for yourself as well. There are studies that state that overprotective parenting can create or confirm anxiety in kids. And while we certainly want to protect our children from stresses that can be long term problems, acute stresses, or dangers that they learn to navigate on their own, are helpful to their development.

And being overprotective certainly weaves its way into technology these days too. The amount of information that we consume as parents have contributed to our attitudes and general paranoia about what we should or shouldn’t let our kid’s do. The growing trend of keeping close tabs on your kids through their cell phones, devices, and social media accounts can bring negative repercussions very easily.

And it’s a trend with some big stats attached to it. Here is a sample from Pew Research.

When it comes to monitoring their child’s digital use and interactions, parents tend to take a hands-on approach to monitoring what their children do:

61% of parents say they have ever checked which websites their teen visits.
60% have ever checked their teen’s social media profiles.
56% have ever friended or followed their teen on Facebook, Twitter or some other social media platform.
48% have ever looked through their teen’s phone call records or text messages.
In addition, nearly half (48%) of parents know the password to their teen’s email account, while 43% know the password to their teen’s cellphone and 35% know the password to at least one of their teen’s social media accounts.

Is this ok? Well, there are certain cases to be made for monitoring your kids online and using it to teach them digital lessons. But how do you know when you’ve crossed a line into their privacy? (yes, they have some).

So whether you’re just starting to think about how you want to protect and teach your newborn or are battling the challenges of teenagers, it’s always good to take the temperature of your parenting approach and ask if those good intentions have become an obsession.

Joe Long