1. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Parent overprotectiveness

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Poziga, Jul 24, 2015.

    Hello, my first thread in research area I think. :)

    I was wondering if there is any rule which parent is more often overprotective. If I followed my guts, I'd say mothers are usually more protective of their children, but how is it with overprotectiveness, does anybody know?

    On the internet I found articles about overprotective parentS, but nowhere which gender usually does more harm. I was hoping to write an overprotective father and a mother who would be father's complete opposite. Their clashes would cause a confusion in their child. I don't want the mother to be overprotective, because that's quite cliched, I think, and I don't plan on having them both overprotective.

    Thank you for your answers. :)
     
  2. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Overprotectiveness would be more rooted in personality than gender. All you have to do is make a psychological profile in your planning of the father so that it makes sense for his behavior.
     
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  3. Lyrical
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    Lyrical Frumious Bandersnatch

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    It's been my experience that mothers are usually more protective. I say usually, because I have known some insanely overprotective fathers as well. Mothers, however, have strong hormones and instincts to keep our offspring alive. That can translate into overprotective mamas a lot of the time. Your scenario would work fine and I don't think it would be cliched.
     
  4. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    Perhaps the reference to "over" as opposed to more or different may not be a gender issue but I think there are gender differences in parenting in this area. For example a mother may be more inclined to not want their child in a risky activity a father might encourage. Sports offers some examples, dad wanting the kid to play football and mom wishing the kid wouldn't.
     
  5. PrincessSofia
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    PrincessSofia Active Member

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    I don't know about rules, but my parents were both equally overprotective, maybe not in the s
    ame areas ( for example my dad didn't want me to go out at night, and my mom was very protective about who my friends were etc).
     
  6. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would assume it might depend on the gender of the child, as well. Lots of pervert, jealous dads being way too protective of their baby girls :S
     
  7. Ben414
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    Ben414 Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think all of us here at WF are very protective of @Lewdog so apparently a desire to write has some role in it.
     
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  8. tasjess
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    tasjess Active Member

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    I've seen instances of both. I have known families where the mother was quite an - um - "free spirit" and not really concerned about the details of their children's care and the father was very attentive to all and quite overprotective of the children to compensate. It is also not uncommon for parents to be overprotective in specific areas and quite liberal in others or sporadically overprotective (i.e. a mother who works hard and generally doesn't spend much time with her children suddenly getting spurts of overprotectiveness, not allowing the kids to go out and cleansing the house of all "unsuitable" books and movies - only to lose interest again for a few months a week or so later.)
     
  9. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm in a psych program to become a shrinky dinky dink so we talk about stuff like this a lot and most of the professors who do couples and family therapy do say that gender stereotypes play out quite often in the room. A very, very typical case is a family where the mother is very much overprotective, overbearing and anxious. The father is distant, sort of indifferent, a bit avoidant. The problem child is acting out and the mom brings them all in to try to help the family and the dad just wants the kid "fixed." But in pretty much every class and textbook the "systems theorists" all agree that usually the over-whatever mom has become this way because -- at least in part -- because the dad has become more distant throughout the span of the marriage. While she once relied, as most partners in intimate relationships end up doing, on his love and affection, it has basically dried up. He is more concerned with his autonomy, uses his stress from work as The Excuse, and lacks presence in the family. This lets the kids act out at home and in school, which stresses the mom out and makes her feel guilty (am I a bad mom?) and since dad won't do shit when she tells him to (leave alone you always nag), she then tries too hard.

    We've seen the question in different forms here many times though. "What's normal/realistic?" Sometimes it's good to mirror present day norms into stories so a reader can feel immersed, but it's also just as if not more important to play around with those norms in stories. It's more impressive when you can say something about society or human nature by flipping hierarchies on their heads, shift roles around etc. So yeah, maybe moms are more "overprotective" (for a great variety of reasons, not just the distant dad syndrome explained above), but does any of this make your story any better once you start writing it? With the above scenario, having an overprotective mom transition into becoming distant, leaving the family, chasing her abandoned dreams, finding herself, being a badass, shedding the guilt and stress, and doing really cool shit, would make for a really interesting story in my opinion. I'm so just rambling though.

    ETA: And once the clinician cleverly aligns with the dad and hears his sob story of how his life is so hard being dad, how mom complains too much, the kids are too needy and bratty, there's the suggestion made. Well dad, what if you played with the kids just sometimes. What if you gave mom a footrub and had a date night just once a month. baby steps. Usually you'll see mom chill out and kids start doing their homework. That's what they tell me in school anyway, I'm not even in the field yet so I have no idea.
     
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  10. BrianIff
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    BrianIff I'm so piano, a bad punctuator. Contributor

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    Usually I don't like stereotype switcheroos but I think that would be a powerful idea. To write about the mom that "can't deal with this shit, I'm going to the bar. I might be back late." Then dad watches Toopy and Binoo with the toddlers, folding laundry.
     
  11. J Faceless
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    J Faceless Active Member

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    I work in education and form my experience gender doesn't matter its the personality and more likely in parents with only one child, parents with multiple are more understanding.
     
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  12. Poziga
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    Poziga Contributing Member Contributor

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    Great, thank you all for replies :)
     
  13. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say mothers as well. It seems that generally women are more empathetic than men and less predisposed to engage in risky activities.
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It's an interesting question. I've always wondered how much of 'overprotectiveness' has to do with the child's welfare and how much is simply unwillingness to relinquish control over the child. I suspect overprotective parents of whatever gender are also control freaks in other areas as well.

    The most important thing any parent can do—and you certainly see this when you look at the animal kingdom—is to teach a child to be self-reliant. Give them the knowledge and tools they need to protect, and fend for, themselves. Anything less is failure as a parent, in my book. When a parent's influence ends, adults who were overprotected as children are basically clueless and have to start learning difficult lessons without any backup at all. Either that, or they never leave the nest.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2015
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  15. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    You guys won't let me play sports. :unsure:
     
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  16. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    My first thought was Marlin from Finding Nemo. He was so worried by his son being able to survive with a gimpy fin that he basically policed Nemo's every move. What he said to Nemo in front of the latter's class sumps it up nicely: "You think you can do everything, but you just can't!!" That led to Nemo saying, "I hate you, Dad," before swimming off to the boat.

    In Marlin's eyes, Nemo was a disabled little fish in a big, scary ocean where anything could take advantage of Nemo's disability and kill him. He couldn't do anything, he couldn't take care of himself, etc. He worried himself to a neurotic degree that he freaked out when a sea snail looked to be about to charge (according to the backstory they gave us.)
     
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  17. Hubardo
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    Hubardo Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah and those control/anxiety issues can literally "sponge" into a child neurobiologically through mirror neurons when they're infants.

     
  18. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I've noticed dads can be pretty protective over their daughters in particular, but can't base this on any research or facts.

    You can always go with your characters' personalities. Their gender might not be such an important factor in the end. Of course, kind of depends on what you want to say with your story. If your message is 'dads are overprotective over their daughters' or something to that effect, then you'd want to focus on the gender more.
     
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  19. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    If you promise to be very careful, we'll let you have a sponge ball.
     
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  20. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Mama needs a break, too. ;)
     
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  21. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Ah, shit.

    Thanks a lot, Hubardo. As if I didn't have enough to worry about in regards to screwing up my kids, now I'm worried about worrying.

    :p
     
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  22. C. W. Evon
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    C. W. Evon Member

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    All the overprotective parents I know (including the one in my WIP) are mothers, but that doesn't mean there can't be a father who is overprotective.

    And don't forget the classic dad-doesn't-trust-daughter's-boyfriend-because-no-one-is-good-enough-for-his-daughter thing. I'd say that's a sign of over-protectiveness.
     
  23. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Look up "Helicopter Parenting", my generation is the fault of this. The way I see it, it has a lot to do with how we interpret the information that we have access to. I've experienced a family who would not let their kids play in parks because of all the germs and potential parasites nature is littered with. Who wipes down monkey bars with clorox wipes?
     
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  24. TheClintHennesy
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    TheClintHennesy Member

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    Hi. :D

    I didn't read much of what the people have replied- but I am sure I know a think or two about over protectiveness. I'm not entirely sure what genre of story you are writing- but let me just give out some stuff I experienced because my parents (my dad, specifically) was being way too overprotective of me as a kid. :p

    1. I can't and am not allowed to take public transport. All my friends and classmates did it (taxies, busses, etc.) I wasn't.
    2. I wasn't allowed to sleepover at friends places and I'd always have to be home by 12... I would have the driver wait for me till that time.
    3. If I go out to the mall- even with friends, my dad would tell one of the drivers to just be around at all time. :-l It was awkward, so I didn't go out that often.
    4. If ever I'd go out, my dad would give me more money than I need... o_o Well, not that it was a bad thing- but I was only a kid that time and had no idea what it was worth. lol...

    All these were from my dad. My mom was pretty "normal". So yeah... about the gender and over-protectiveness thing- I think it goes both ways. :p It all depends on the person.
    If I understand correctly- over-protection usually would come from someone who is exposed to the "bad influences" of the world and have been in them- so they get overly careful of their offspring/friends/family and all that.
    Though, I think daughters are usually more protected than sons because of the whole pregnancy and the "girls" being targets by "guys" kind of thing. xD

    Sorry if I'm going a bit off-topic- but I hope these help! :D
     
  25. HelloThere
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    HelloThere Contributing Member

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    Parents tend to see their children as an extension of themselves. If a parent is very self conscious and lacking in confidence they will probably be overly-protective of their child because of those same insecurities. I guess if your parent characters are fleshed out then it should be just logical steps as to how they look after child. I wouldn't worry too much about gender, mother's and father's can be equally overprotective.
     

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