People who were overly coddled growing up usually develop these unique traits later in life

In all my years of delving into human behavior, I’ve noticed something interesting: folks who were smothered with protection and care in their early years tend to share some common traits.

These traits, whether they’re emotional quirks or patterns of behavior, often stick around into adulthood and shape how we handle life’s twists and turns. Now, I’m not here to judge anyone’s parenting style. Instead, I want to shine a light on how certain childhood environments can leave a lasting mark on our growth and development.

So, in this piece, I’m going to lay out these 7 distinctive traits, drawing from the worlds of child development and positive psychology.

My goal? To help you make sense of your own experiences, boost that self-awareness, and maybe even point you toward some personal growth.

1) Difficulty dealing with failure

One of the most common traits developed by people who were overly coddled as children is a difficulty in dealing with failure. When a child is shielded from every potential harm or setback, they often do not develop the necessary skills to cope with disappointments and failures later in life.

This can manifest in various ways as an adult. Some may become excessively risk-averse, fearing the prospect of failure so much that they avoid taking on challenges or stepping outside their comfort zone. Others may struggle to process the emotions associated with failure, leading to anxiety, depression, or feelings of incompetence.

Being overly coddled can also impact one’s ability to learn from mistakes. If a child is never allowed to fail, they miss out on the critical lessons that come from making errors and then correcting them. This could lead to a pattern of repeating the same mistakes in adulthood because they were not equipped with the knowledge or skills to rectify them in the past.

2) Struggles with interpersonal relationships

Adults who were excessively pampered as kids often struggle with forming and sustaining healthy relationships. The reasons behind this can be complex, but they usually trace back to the same issue: an upbringing that didn’t foster a balanced sense of self-reliance and independence.

When a child is constantly shielded from life’s challenges, they miss out on crucial lessons like resolving conflicts, understanding others’ perspectives, and expressing emotions constructively—essential skills for nurturing strong connections. Consequently, these individuals might find it tough to forge meaningful bonds or keep relationships going.

They might also lean towards overly dependent behaviors, expecting others to meet their every need, much like their parents did. This dynamic can strain relationships by creating an uneven give-and-take.

3) Lowered sense of self-efficacy

The third unique trait that individuals overly coddled in their childhood often develop is a lowered sense of self-efficacy. Self-efficacy refers to a person’s belief in their ability to achieve goals or overcome challenges. This belief is typically cultivated during childhood and adolescence through experiences of mastery, overcoming adversity, and observing others.

However, for those who were overly coddled, these experiences may have been limited. Their parents might have stepped in to prevent failures or solve problems, depriving them of opportunities to build their sense of self-efficacy. In adulthood, this can lead to feelings of incompetence or a lack of confidence in their abilities.

Such individuals might also display a tendency to avoid responsibilities or challenging tasks due to the fear of not being capable enough. They may rely heavily on others instead of trusting their abilities, which can further limit their personal growth and self-esteem.

4) Reduced resilience

The fourth characteristic typically developed by individuals who were overly coddled during childhood is reduced resilience. Resilience is our ability to bounce back from adversity, to cope with life’s challenges and stressors. It’s a crucial life skill that develops over time, especially during childhood, as we encounter and overcome obstacles.

For those who were excessively shielded from difficulties, the development of this vital skill can be hindered. A lack of exposure to manageable challenges means fewer opportunities to build resilience. As adults, they might find it harder to cope with life’s ups and downs, often feeling overwhelmed or helpless during difficult times.

Moreover, they might have a lower threshold for stress, which can lead to heightened anxiety or stress-related health issues. The ability to adapt to change can also be impacted, as they might have been rarely exposed to situations requiring them to adjust or adapt within their childhood environment.

5) Difficulty in decision-making and independence

A fifth trait often seen in those who were overly coddled growing up is difficulty in decision-making and a struggle with independence.

Decision-making is a crucial life skill that typically develops as we grow, make mistakes, and learn from them. If a child is over-protected, they might miss out on these valuable learning opportunities.

Such individuals might struggle with making decisions, often second-guessing themselves due to a lack of confidence in their judgement or abilities. They may lean towards seeking validation from others for their choices or might avoid making decisions altogether to evade potential failures or mistakes.

The struggle with independence can also be prominent. Individuals who were overly coddled might find it challenging to live independently or take care of themselves without constant support or guidance from others.

6) Lower self-esteem and sense of self-worth

Another common trait seen in those who were excessively sheltered as children is lower self-esteem and self-worth. Self-esteem, which is how much value we place on ourselves, is heavily shaped by our early experiences, particularly how our parents or caregivers interacted with us.

When kids are constantly shielded from challenges or failures, they can start to believe they’re not capable of handling tough situations independently. As they grow, this can chip away at their self-worth, leading them to feel less competent than their peers.

These individuals may also battle feelings of inadequacy or inferiority, often measuring themselves against others and coming up short. Even when they achieve success, they might chalk it up to outside factors rather than recognizing their own abilities, which only serves to dent their self-esteem further.

7) Tendency towards perfectionism

Another common trait seen in those who were excessively sheltered during childhood is perfectionism. Perfectionism is all about striving for flawlessness, setting impossibly high standards, and often being overly critical of oneself, worrying about how others see you.

Kids who were overprotected might grow up thinking they have to be flawless to be loved or accepted because they link their parents’ overprotective behavior with needing to be perfect and avoiding mistakes at all costs. This can lead to a cycle of chasing perfection in adulthood, which usually means more stress, anxiety, and even burnout.

Plus, they might struggle to accept their imperfections or handle criticism because they didn’t get much practice with it in a supportive yet challenging environment growing up.

Cultivating personal growth and resilience

Recognizing these traits in yourself is the first step towards personal growth. If you were overly coddled during your childhood and can identify with the traits outlined above, it’s important to remember that your upbringing doesn’t define you. You have the power to change, grow, and develop healthier habits and behaviors.

Start by acknowledging your experiences and emotions. Self-awareness is the foundation of personal growth. Understand that it’s okay to make mistakes – they’re opportunities for learning, not signs of failure or incompetence.

Work on building your resilience. This could be through seeking out new experiences, trying different things, and gradually stepping out of your comfort zone. Remember, growth happens when we challenge ourselves.

Consider seeking professional help if necessary. Therapists or counselors can provide valuable tools and techniques to help you navigate your feelings, build self-esteem, and improve interpersonal relationships.

Above all else, be kind to yourself throughout this journey. Personal growth is not a destination but a continuous process. Every step you take towards understanding yourself better is a victory in itself. Let’s celebrate these small wins as we continue on this path of self-improvement together.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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