The other night our family went to see Brave, and when the Queen Mom was turned into a Bear, I thought it was quite appropriate. After all, don’t we moms–and dads–turn into protective “bears” when our children are threatened?
Being a Papa or Mama bear is a normal, God-given instinct. In fact, I might question the dedication of any parent who does not rise up to protect his child.
Unfortunately, some parents have a muddled picture of how a healthy Mama or Papa bear behaves.
What protecting your child doesn’t mean
- Protecting doesn’t mean bailing out your child when he makes a choice. He must live with the consequences of his actions.
- Protecting doesn’t mean lashing out at people who don’t give your child the recognition you think they deserve. I knew a sports mom who would call my husband screaming at him on the phone because her daughter–who was the main pitcher of my husband’s high school softball team–sat out two games in a tournament weekend. She wasn’t just protective. She was ballistic.
- Protecting doesn’t mean embarrassing your child by fighting their battles for them. Kids must learn this gradually on their own.
- Protecting doesn’t mean putting a bubble around your kid and keeping them from every bad experience. Of course, babies and little ones do need a protective bubble, but as they get older, the bubble should slowly disappear so they can learn–with your help–how to deal with circumstances that are less than perfect.
- Protecting them doesn’t mean orchestrating the details of their lives, so things will be easy for them. Resist the temptation to push for them to be on the winning team just because they win or to switch teams just so they don’t have to fight for their position.
What protecting your child does mean
- Protecting does mean keeping them safe from things that will harm them…physically, emotionally, or spiritually. As long as they are living in your house, this is part of your job. And that includes speaking up when they are making choices that endanger themselves.
- Protecting does mean letting them know it is okay to be afraid because you are there for them when they are.
- Protecting does mean they feel your love and support no matter what they do. That should be the bubble around them that never goes away!
How do you protect?
Most parents, I think, are tempted more towards being too protective, rather than not protective enough. So the question for you then, is this, Are you trying too hard, going too far to protect your child?