People Who Were Overparented As Kids Usually Grow Up With These Issues

People Who Were Overparented As Kids Usually Grow Up With These Issues

When you’re young, your parents should be there to help guide you toward becoming a kind, responsible, independent adult. However, for people who were overparented, their caregivers controlled every single aspect of their existence, leaving them in a real pickle once when they were old enough to leave the nest. For those who grew up in this situation, here are some of the issues they’re likely to experience.

1. They’re indecisive and struggle to make decisions.

People who were overparented often hit a snag when it comes to decision-making. Growing up, their parents made most of the calls, so now making choices on their own can feel like uncharted territory. In adult life, this often translates to hesitation and uncertainty in even the simplest decisions. They’re used to having someone else steer the ship, so taking the wheel themselves is a new and sometimes daunting experience.

2. They’re not big on taking risks.

Risk-taking isn’t usually their go-to move, which is a shame. For those who were overparented, playing it safe was the norm, so taking their chances can feel like a leap into the unknown. They’re used to a safety net always being there. In adulthood, this means they might shy away from new or uncertain opportunities. It’s a hangover from those days when stepping out of line wasn’t part of the plan, and it shows up in their choices and life paths.

3. They’re desperate for external validation.

People who were overparented often look for approval from everyone else, from friends to colleagues and even romantic partners. This stems from a childhood where decisions and achievements were closely monitored and judged by their parents, making their own judgment feel less valid. As adults, they might find themselves frequently seeking reassurance or approval in their personal and professional lives. It’s like they’re still hearing that parental voice in their head, asking if what they’re doing is good enough. (By the way, if this is something you struggle with, check out our sister site, Sweetn. They use researched-backed methods to help overcome your limiting beliefs and improve your [love] life for the better. You can visit them here.)

4. They can’t handle failure of any kind.

depressed young woman in living room

Dealing with failure can be particularly tough for those who were overparented. They weren’t exposed to much trial and error growing up, so mistakes can feel like huge setbacks even when they’re relatively minor. They missed out on learning that failure is part of the growth process. This can lead to a fear of failure in adulthood, where they might avoid taking risks or trying new things because the possibility of not succeeding seems overwhelming. It’s a shadow from a childhood where mistakes were often avoided or shielded from them.

5. They struggle with extreme stress and anxiety.

Managing mental health is often a bumpy road for the overparented. They might not have had the chance to face challenges and develop resilience during their younger years. So, when adult life throws curveballs, it can feel extra daunting. They might find themselves feeling overwhelmed more easily than others, especially in high-pressure situations. It’s a side effect of growing up in an environment where many of the rough edges were smoothed out for them. Hopefully, with the help of a therapist and some self-soothing/coping mechanisms, they can find a healthy balance.

6. They missed out on self-discovery.

Self-discovery wasn’t a major part of the itinerary for those who were overparented. They were often guided along a set path, with little room to stray and explore their own identities and interests when they were younger. As a result, in their adult life, they might struggle with understanding their true selves and what they genuinely want. It’s like they’ve been following a map drawn by someone else and are just now starting to sketch out their own routes. Sometimes this leads them to make some pretty terrible choices that most people their age probably know better than to make. It’s all part of the learning process.

7. They have a complicated relationship with authority.

millennial guy bad attitude headphones

Navigating relationships with authority figures can be complex for people who were overparented. They might find themselves either overly submissive, seeking approval from those in charge, or they might be extremely resistant to authority as a way of rebelling in the way they couldn’t when they were kids. This stems from a childhood where authority was a dominant presence, dictating pretty m uch everything in their lives. In adulthood, this can translate into uncertainty about how to assert themselves or stand their ground in situations where there’s a power imbalance.

8. They avoid conflict like the plague.

Upset arguing couple sitting on bench in park. Relationship problems

People who were overparented usually steer clear of conflict. Growing up, disagreements might have been shut down quickly, or they saw their parents handle all the tough stuff. So now, they might shy away from confrontations or challenging conversations. In adult life, this can mean they’re more likely to keep quiet or agree to things just to keep the peace. It’s a bit like they’re still playing it safe, avoiding the rocky waters of disagreement or standing up for their own opinions.

9. They lack financial independence.

Confused puzzled and upset female accountant working from home at kitchen table, having troubles with laptop internet connection or annual financial report, looking at camera frowning and shrugging

Financial smarts can be a tricky area for those who were overparented. Their parents might have handled all the money matters, leaving them a bit in the dark about managing their own finances. Budgeting, saving, investing – it can all feel like a foreign language. As adults, they might struggle with budgeting, saving, and other financial issues, and as a result end up relying on others for guidance or support. It’s like they’re playing catch-up in learning how to handle their own cash.

10. They’re scared of trying new things.

Stepping out of their comfort zone isn’t exactly their favorite thing to do. People who were overparented might have been kept in a very safe, predictable bubble their whole lives, so diving into new experiences can be intimidating. They didn’t get to flex their adventure muscles much as kids, so they don’t really have a taste for it now. As a result, they might stick to what they know and avoid trying new activities or hobbies. It’s a lingering effect of a childhood where “new and unknown” was more “nope and not happening.” It’s kinda sad, really.

11. They’re perfectionists who are terrified of criticism.

Perfectionism can be a big thing for those who were overparented. They might have grown up feeling they needed to meet high standards or risk criticism. So as adults, they put a ton of pressure on themselves to get everything just right. Unsurprisingly, this often leads to anxiety and a major fear of criticism. It’s like they’re still trying to hit those high marks set in their childhood, and falling short feels like a major letdown.

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Sinead Cafferty is a writer who has authored four collections of poetry: "Dust Settling" (2012); "The Space Between" (2014); "Under, Under, Over" (2016); and "What You Can't Have" (2020). She's currently working on her first novel, a dystopian romance set in the 22nd Century, that's due out in 2024.

Sinead has an MFA in creative writing from NYU and has had residencies with the Vermont Studio Center and the National Center for Writing.