Stop over-protecting your child!

This blog post has been requested by our Centre Manager - Ting Ting, after something trivial happened to one of our members children and unfortunately it got blown out of proportion.


I gladly accepted writing this up, as I witnessed the goings on and how occupied the manager was all day for this ‘incident'.


Let me tell you the back story to this...


Towards the end of a regular summer camp morning in Can Cubs, the parents began to collect their children. One child appeared to have a small scratch on her face that we noticed as she was getting her things together. She didn’t seem to realise it, nor did she tell anybody or give the impression that she was hurt. We assumed she may have just done that to herself by accident.


When her mother collected her, she noticed it and started to cause a slight commotion by saying ‘it was a serious injury’. The manager wasn’t sure how it happened, but we could try and check on our CCTV system. We checked and seemed to be another girl had scratched her (it wasn’t clear if it was on purpose or an accident). We saw fit that a sorry from the child in question would suffice. But we were wrong….


During the afternoon the mother who was in our ‘wechat’ group, was causing quite a commotion with the other parents, and I quote: ‘You (directed to the parents in the group) should educate your children better and make sure they will not hurt other children. I am heart broken, and not cannot forgive you.’ After the bickering back and fourth ensued for most of the day (yes really), we decided to delete that chat group from wechat, as we thought if we let them continue we may have to set up a wrestling ring in Can Cubs!


The mother of the child who did the scratching already said she would apologise early on in the discussion. It didn’t seem to matter though. The parent of the scratched child was clearly ‘triggered’.  It would take a new day for it to settle, and first thing in the morning, the parent of the child who did the scratching apologised. Whether or not the other parent accepted, we don’t know, but we all hope to hear the end of that incident.


On the upside, there can be a chance to learn something from all this, that is - ‘Over protection leads to psychological damage’. This is the common statement that crops up when you research this type of incident. This is what the psychologists say.


What happened regarding that mother and her child was overprotection, bubble wrapping, modi cuddling, risk aversion etc. We know that wasn’t a one off with her, because we also witnessed a similar incident with her previously with another parent. Giving her reaction, choice of words, temperament and handling of the situation this will harm her child in the long term if she continues that way, perhaps unknowingly. We don’t want any child to be psychologically damaged, after all, as a child care provider we have a duty of care as much as the parent does to the child. With that particular child (who was scratched, I can already see patterns of anxiety). Oh dear.


Unfortunately, she isn’t an exception, in fact her behaviour is becoming scarily normal here. So, what’s going on?!


Over-protective parents - the definition.


• Sheltering

• Constant Supervision and Micromanagement

• Prevention of Taking Responsibility

• Excessive Catering and Over-Consoling

• Controlling of the Social Sphere

• Excessive Caution


• Creating Dependency


My observations


Let’s look at the common observations here in Shanghai regarding the upbringing of a child.


  1. Most children here are constantly accompanied and minded by a relative. Everywhere they go, and whatever they do. They often don’t get enough space to explore and play by themselves or with other children without an adult interfering. Give the child space and let them work things out!
  2. Most people don’t live in a place with a garden or a safe place to let the child ‘roam’ around and play with other youngsters. Many people live in areas where this isn’t possible due to the design of the ‘communities’. An element of risk is essential to growing up healthily.
  3. Many children are spoilt, and treated like little ‘princes and princesses’. We all know what kind of person this creates…
  4. Adventurous play and some general rough and tumble is almost non-existent in children’s lives. 
  5. Many of children don’t have any responsibilities at home, such as helping with the cooking, cleaning and other tasks that promote maturity.

I’m sure you have some other observations on this topic, so be sure to share them below if you do. 


I have found an insightful article that relates to this, I will quote the psychologists solution to over-protecting parenting, but you can read the full article here.



The solution 


‘Ive found in my clinical work that the solution to the problem of overprotection can begin with two tasks. First, parents need to make a realistic survey of the risks their children face at home and beyond their front door. Second, they need to assess their children’s capacity to solve their own problems given the risks they face. If we remember that resilience is nurtured when children have the support they need to develop competencies and self-efficacy, then our role as caregivers (and therapists) becomes that of crossing guards, rather than jailers. We can ease children’s successful—if sometimes challenging—transition through danger, rather than sparing them from danger altogether.’


We all hope at Can Cubs, that this sort of situation doesn’t happen again, but something tells me that it will…


Further reading on this can be found on the red buttons below.



Is society to blame or the individual parents? Have a think... Why not create a discussion on this topic in the forum?

Here is an informative video I have found on this topic:

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