Protective versus over-protective. It’s a fine line isn’t it? Being a parent is about making sure your family, from partner to kids to pets, are protected at all times. You want to help guide them through life, offer advice, and provide support whenever and wherever they need it. However, as important as this is, there is the risk of overdoing it. Coddling your family often does more harm than good, and it’s all about finding a balance between adequate protection and being overbearing. While the line is fine, it’s not impossible, so here’s how you can protect your family without overdoing it.
Give Them Boundaries
Setting rules and boundaries is a standard thing of any parents’ handbook, but it’s deciding on these boundaries where some parents go wrong. If the reins are too tight, then it can cause a backlash, but too loose and they can run amok with no hope of bringing them back to how they were. These boundaries should be manageable but not too harsh. You can take inspiration from other parents while still ensuring that your family is always respectful. You can pick your battles wisely, so that they will respect your wishes when you do need to put your foot down, protecting them from mistakes they could make.
Let Them Speak Up
A lot of problems families have with one another is that they don’t listen and instead just wait to talk during a discussion. This can breed feelings of being ignored and stops them from respecting each other’s opinions, which is no way to foster productive discussions. Allowing your family to speak to you and others without butting in and giving your opinion until it’s required will make it easier for them to talk to you. They will feel comfortable voicing opinions or asking for advice, which helps build relationships and creates a better environment for everybody.
Help Them Be Aware of Their Health
The thought of anyone in your family being sick or in pain is awful, so encouraging them to be aware of their health, both physical and mental, will ensure protection. It’s no good hiding issues from family, and they’ll likely find out eventually. You can help them organize a trip to the audiologist if their hearing is not as it should be, or walk them through booking a dentist appointment if it’s been years since they last attended.
It’s also essential to create a positive attitude around mental health, and asking them to think about their feelings, even if they don’t want to talk to you about it, will help them manage any issues they might face easier. While you may not be over their shoulder, asking them questions, your encouragement can protect them by stopping them from pushing negative thoughts down instead of overcoming them.
Protect the Nest
It’s a parents’ instinct to protect the nest at all times, but you don’t need to be in your family’s ear every second to ensure this protection. Trusting them to make the right decisions will make them more comfortable with owning up if they go wrong, and if they do, then they can feel safe to come to you for you to help them.