Overly Protected?

“Why are my parents so overprotective?”

This is another of the questions submitted by teen girls at my church (see previous post for more info). When we discussed this with the group, I saw girls’ heads bobbing and moms’ heads shaking. I even saw some ribs being poked and some, “Uh-huh” looks thrown across the tables. This one really hits home. Especially today.

Back in my day (that’s right, I’m going there), I could ride my baby blue Schwinn through the streets of Winter Haven, FL with no fear. I rode to voice lessons, to my friends’ houses, to the mall. And that was “only” 25 years or so ago.

But it’s not 1987. And we don’t live in Winter Haven. I hardly even let my kids ride their bikes around the block without me being there. And I am one of the laid back parents!

So why do we do this to you? Is is because we don’t trust you? We want to make your life miserable? We want to do all we can to make your teen years as dull as possible?

Believe it or not – no. None of the above.

Some of you reading this may babysit. When you do, are you careful with that child? Do you let her run around with scissors or hop up to the stove and fry up a burger? No way! you know you are responsible for her. And you know you won’t get paid – or asked to babysit again – if you’re irresponsible.

That’s how parents feel. But time a thousand. We are responsible before God for you. It’s scary! And we want to do a good job. Sometimes, we get carried away. Sometimes we drive you crazy. But it really is done out of love for you because you are precious and we don’t want anything bad to happen to you.

In another post, I’ll talk about how to tell your parents if you’re feeling smothered or frustrated or overwhelmed. Communication is important. Don’t ever let your frustrations turn into bitterness. Sometimes parents are wrong (gasp!). We are not perfect, and we make mistakes, even when we mean well. And sometimes, we need you to tell us that – lovingly, gently. And if you’ve tried that and you still feel like your parents are being unreasonable, talk to God. Actually, you should talk to him all the time, anyway. About everything. But ask for his help, ask for his wisdom. Pray for your parents.

I know that when you’re a teenager, life sometimes seems to go in slow motion. But for your parents, it is in fast forward. Yesterday, you were a baby. A few hours ago, you were losing your first tooth. We know that, when we blink, you’ll be leaving for college. We want to hold on to you as long as we can because the 18 years we get with you are far too short.

So try to let the overprotectiveness be something that makes you smile instead of something that makes you cringe. We mean well. We really do.


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