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Overprotective Parenting: Helping Parents Provide Children the Right Amount of Risk and Responsibility
Overprotective parenting in low-risk environments may have negative consequences for the psychosocial development of children and youth. Though not well studied, a number of different bodies of literature can be used to speculate on the reasons for overprotective parenting and the impact it has on children. In this article, the social and familial dynamics leading to overprotection are discussed. It is shown that overprotection among middle-class families may result from poorly informed parents regarding the psychosocial developmental needs of their children for risk and responsibility and a lack of familiarity with population-wide data which shows that many of today's youth are safer that at any previous time in history. Focusing on the “risk-taker's advantage,” this article uses a case example to illustrate a three-part model of intervention to help challenge overprotective parenting while opening up safe opportunities for youth to experience manageable amounts of risk and responsibility.