Side Effects of Overprotective Parenting

As children grow, they progress from total dependence during their first years of life to a higher degree of independence in their teenage years, when they start feeling the need to create their own identity. Parents may feel overly protective of their kids and want to control every aspect of their lives, fearing dangers such as drugs, alcohol, violence in schools, teenage pregnancies and pedophiles. Parents need to know the difference between being involved in their children's lives and being overprotective.

Parents talking to their children in the kitchen. (Image: Jupiterimages/Pixland/Getty Images)

Lack of Self-Confidence

Overprotective parents send the message that their children can't handle life's challenges on their own. This can lead to a lack of self-confidence in these children. They may feel that if their parents don't trust them with the freedom to make mistakes and tackle problems on their own, then they may not have the ability to succeed in life without the continued guidance of their parents.

Illusion of Control

Parents themselves may believe that they have a handle on being able to keep their children safe and protected by being overprotective. This can lead to an illusion of control over their children, who may rebel as they grow older and shatter that illusion.


As children reach the teenage years, they often spend greater amounts of time beyond the reach of the parents. This freedom can lead to greater risk-taking behavior for children of overprotective parents, suggests Teens might be more likely to participate in sexual activities, drinking or drug abuse. Teens often test the boundaries of their overprotective parents because these children have likely not developed a sense of responsibility for their actions. Overprotective parents have often assumed that responsibility. suggests talking with your teen about taking risks, explaining how devastating the consequences can be for things like using drugs or alcohol.


Overprotective parenting can cause the lack of the development of self-esteem in a child. This is because the child is not allowed to face challenges without parental intervention. Part of the development of self-esteem in children comes from surmounting challenges on their own, which can be denied to them by overprotective parenting.

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