People who were overparented as children often display these behaviors as adults

Helicopter parenting, or overparenting, can deeply affect children, with its repercussions often surfacing in adulthood. 

While this style of parenting typically stems from good intentions, it can hinder a child’s development of vital life skills and independence. Consequently, individuals carry these learned behaviors into their adult lives.

In this article, we’ll explore these seven behaviors, aiding in self-identification and offering guidance for a fulfilling life journey.

1) Difficulty in making decisions

Adults who grew up with helicopter parents often struggle with decision-making. This challenge is a direct consequence of their parents’ excessive involvement in their lives, which often included making decisions for them.

As children, they were rarely given the opportunity to make choices on their own, from simple day-to-day decisions to more significant ones. This lack of decision-making practice during their formative years can lead to a kind of paralysis when faced with choices in adulthood.

They may find themselves frequently second-guessing their decisions or avoiding decision-making altogether. This can impact various aspects of their life, from personal relationships to career choices and beyond.

If this resonates with you, remember to be kind and understanding towards yourself. Acknowledge that everyone makes mistakes and that your worth is not determined by your decisions.

Above all, avoid placing unrealistic expectations on yourself, but break down decisions into smaller, manageable steps and focus on progress instead.

2) Constant need for validation

The second thing you’ll notice about adults who had those overbearing parents growing up is their constant craving for validation. It’s like they’re always seeking that parental stamp of approval they got used to as kids.

As adults, this can translate into a constant search for validation from others. They might seek approval for their actions, decisions, and even for their very identity. This need can extend to all areas of life, from personal relationships to professional endeavors.

It’s not unusual for such individuals to struggle with self-esteem and confidence, as they’ve often relied on external validation to define their worth.

Breaking free from this pattern requires self-awareness and conscious effort. It involves recognizing this tendency and working towards cultivating self-validation and self-love. Building self-confidence is a journey that starts with accepting oneself, flaws and all.

3) Tendency towards perfectionism

Another quirk you might spot in adults who had those micromanaging parents: they tend to be perfectionists. 

These individuals may have been raised in an environment where making mistakes was not tolerated and high standards were the norm.

The result is a deeply ingrained belief that they must be perfect in all aspects of life, from their career to their relationships and personal interests.

This pursuit of perfection can lead to unrealistic expectations, high levels of stress, and even burnout. It can also hinder their ability to take risks or try new things out of fear of failure.

To overcome this tendency, challenge black-and-white thinking by embracing imperfection and setting realistic goals.

Practice self-compassion, accept mistakes as opportunities for growth, and seek support from others. Shift focus from flawless outcomes to enjoying the journey and learning from setbacks.

4) Difficulty in establishing boundaries

The fourth characteristic frequently seen in adults raised by overprotective parents is a challenge in setting boundaries. That’s because parental involvement may have blurred or disregarded personal boundaries altogether.

As children, they may not have had the opportunity to express their needs or desires freely, leading to an inability to assert themselves or set boundaries in adulthood. This can manifest in various ways, such as overcommitting, difficulty saying no, or tolerating mistreatment or disrespect from others.

Recognizing your needs and values is crucial for developing healthier relationships. Practice assertive communication, clearly stating limits and enforcing consequences. Prioritize self-respect, set realistic expectations, and seek support from trusted individuals.

Remember, setting boundaries is essential for healthy relationships and personal well-being.

5) Heightened sense of anxiety

The fifth behavior that is often displayed by adults who were overparented as children is a heightened sense of anxiety.

Overparenting can create an environment where mistakes are not tolerated, and failure is seen as unacceptable. The child may then grow up into an adult who experiences high levels of anxiety related to performance and success.

These individuals may constantly worry about meeting expectations, making the right choices, and achieving perfection in all areas of life. The constant state of anxiety can be debilitating, affecting their overall well-being and quality of life.

Acknowledging your feelings is crucial for maintaining emotional well-being. If necessary, seek support from friends, family, or a therapist.

Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce stress. Engage in relaxation exercises like deep breathing or meditation to calm your mind. Cognitive-behavioral approaches can also help identify and challenge negative thought patterns.

6) Propensity for co-dependency in relationships

Adults reared by hyperattentive parents may also have a pronounced inclination toward co-dependency in relationships.

Rooted in their upbringing, where they were conditioned to lean heavily on parental guidance and support, this behavior becomes ingrained in their adult interactions.

In navigating adulthood, these individuals often struggle to strike a balance in their relationships, gravitating towards partners who mirror the parental roles they once relied upon.

Consequently, they find themselves ensnared in co-dependent dynamics, where emotional support, decision-making, and self-worth hinge precariously on their partner’s validation.

Overcoming co-dependency is a gradual process. Take time to reflect on past relationships and patterns of behavior, and identify instances of co-dependency and the underlying reasons behind them.

Establish clear boundaries in relationships to delineate individual needs and responsibilities. Celebrate small victories and be patient with yourself as you work towards healthier relationship dynamics.

7) Difficulties in handling criticism

The final behavior that adults who were overparented as children often display is a difficulty in handling criticism. This can stem from a childhood where mistakes were not seen as learning opportunities but rather as failures.

Criticism from their parents may have been harsh or constant, so they may have developed a heightened sensitivity to criticism. Even in adulthood, any form of negative feedback can feel like a personal attack.

The challenge here is learning to separate criticism from self-worth. Constructive criticism is a part of life and can be an opportunity for growth and improvement. It’s crucial to understand that being criticized does not diminish one’s value or worth.

Overcoming these behaviors

Once these patterns are identified, it’s possible to work on changing them and breaking free from the effects of overparenting. 

Start by acknowledging these behaviors and understanding their roots in your upbringing. This self-awareness can help you understand why you act the way you do and give you a starting point for change.

Seeking professional help, such as therapy or counseling, can be extremely beneficial for personal growth. A professional can provide you with tools and strategies to cope with anxiety, establish healthy boundaries, and build self-confidence.

Self-care is also crucial. Take time for yourself, engage in activities you enjoy, and practice mindfulness. This can help reduce stress and promote a positive mindset.

Remember, everyone’s journey is unique. It’s not about comparing yourself with others but about making progress at your own pace. With patience, persistence, and positivity, it’s entirely possible to overcome the effects of overparenting and lead a fulfilling life.

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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