Am I Too Overprotective?

Lounge By Tita9499 Updated 9 Feb 2009 , 9:08pm by Melvira

Tita9499 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 7:47pm
post #1 of 56

Okay here's my situation.

Prayed 5 years for a baby, God blessed me with twins. They're my world and I don't let them out of my sight- ever (unless they're sleeping- and then sometimes I stalk them).

I live on a military base in a very small neighborhood (ie, we live behind gates that only military personnel can get through guarded by armed police).
I live on a quiet street and there are only about 4 moms that stay at home during the day.
I have a huge backyard that's surrounded by a 5 ft stone wall and a gate that is locked (niether of my kids big heads can fit in between the bars). They have a huge swingset in the backyard, tons of toys and nothing they can get into that is poisionous or toxic or dangerous. No access to the neighbors yard in any way shape or form.
I have 5 windows and a door where I can see them at all times from all angles in the yard.
Here's the question: Would you let your 3 year olds go outside without you being outside with them? I always feel like I have to be within 5 feet of them at all times...is that a little over the top?
Ultimately I know I have to make the decision, but I just want to know if anyone else has dealt with this or thinks I'm too overprotective.

55 replies
Karema Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:02pm
post #2 of 56

Its what you feel comfortable with. I have a back patio area and I close off the steps and let my kids go out there and they were 4 and 2. I dont go sit down though. I have a window that is in the kitchen that shows the patio. So I open that window all the way and then I was the dishes. Other than that I sit out there with them, unles my nephew is here and he is 8 years old. I tell him that no one is allowed to leave the patio or go near the steps. I wouldnt let my kids go outside alone and go upstairs or anything. I am to scary to do that. I personally dont think kids should go anywhere alone or be outside alone until they are about 8-9 years old and that is just in back of the house or walking to the school bus stop on the corner. I'm to paranoid. I'm walking my kids to the bus until they are like 9. Dont worry you are a mom do what you feel is the best. And yes three is too young to be left on swing equipment. They can fall, hit their head or really get hurt and and you wouldnt know.

Larrimore Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:04pm
post #3 of 56

Tita9499, I don't think you are being overprotective, but then again, I have been accused of being an overprotective mother (and I know I am even more so over my grandson) They are only 3. If they were a older, I would feel more comfortable.

Tita9499 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:08pm
post #4 of 56

Thanks for your replies. My husband thinks I'm super paranoid for no reason, but I couldn't live with myself if anything ever happened to them...

CakesByJen2 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:24pm
post #5 of 56

I have often been accused of being over-protective, as well. I never let my kids in the front yeard/driveway unless I am out there with them. I do sometimes let the 13-year old out front by herself, but I keep an eye out and prefer to be out with her unless I just really can't. She must stay in our driveway. She doesn't understand why I won't let her ride her bike or jog around the neighborhood by herself.

My 6-year old does not go out front unless I am with him, period. But he does play in the fenced-in backyard by himself, but I am usually in the kitchen and the window has a clear view, and he's usually not out by himself for more than 30 minutes before I'm finished doing what I have to do and can get out there. I can't remember at what age I started letting him go out by himself, but I don't think it was as young as 3, but I probably did let him go out if his older sister went with him. Three might be a little on the young side, especially since twins are known to get into more mischief than singles, aren't they? Maybe try letting them out by themselves for just 15-20 minutes while you watch from inside just to see how they handle themselves.

7yyrt Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:37pm
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summernoelle Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 8:42pm
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OK, here is the thing. DO NOT mean to scare you, because I sometimes let my kids out. But listen to this.
Over the summer, I went to McDonald's with my DD while my son was at VBS. I started talking to a woman, who told me one of her children had died. I didn't want to be nosy, so I didn't ask. She kept bringing up "the accident", so I finally asked her what happened.
She and her two sons were playing in the backyard, came in, watched TV. She dozed off for maybe 10-15 minutes, and her littlest son (about 2) went back outside. He crawled up onto the soccer net, fell through, and hung himself.

There are some pretty horrible aspects to this story, but my God, I hugged and hugged my kids that day and am now a little paranoid about it. It happens SO quickly. From the time this kid got out, to the time his mom got out there, a neighbor also had some information on time because she had heard him out laughing...it happened within 5 minutes or so.

Tita9499 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 9:10pm
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Yep, 5 ft is literal and after Summer's story I could care less if I'm being over protective. OMG I could not imagine the pain that mother experienced!

And yes, twins do seem to find a way to get into more things. I've never had singles, so I have nothing to compare them to, but I would venture to say, my little ones are very creative in finding ways of getting into trouble.

Shelle_75 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 9:19pm
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I don't think you're overprotective at all. I have three kids, one of whom is three, and I would not let him play unsupervised in a rubber padded room. He would find SOME way to hurt himself. It never fails.

Deb_ Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 9:29pm
post #10 of 56

I am proud to be an overprotective Mother. 3 is way too young to be outside alone, even in a fenced in yard. You are doing the right thing, it's better to be safe then sorry.......... icon_rolleyes.gif My God, I'm starting to sound exactly like my Mother.

It only takes a second for something tragic to happen and how could we ever live with ourselves if we knew it was because we weren't there. Kids grow up so fast, before you know it they'll be in college. These are precious times for you and I commend you're over-protectiveness! More parents need to be like you.

summernoelle Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 9:37pm
post #11 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tita9499

Yep, 5 ft is literal and after Summer's story I could care less if I'm being over protective. OMG I could not imagine the pain that mother experienced!

And yes, twins do seem to find a way to get into more things. I've never had singles, so I have nothing to compare them to, but I would venture to say, my little ones are very creative in finding ways of getting into trouble.




You know what, you really can't. She was an empty shell, and I am sure a shadow of who she used to be. It was absolutely heart breaking.
There was a news story on her this fall, and people were posting the meanest things about her. Saying it was her fault, etc. Rips my heart out. Who would have thought a Little tykes type soccer net could kill your child? I guarantee she didn't.

Tita9499 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 9:40pm
post #12 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by dkelly27

I am proud to be an overprotective Mother. 3 is way too young to be outside alone, even in a fenced in yard. You are doing the right thing, it's better to be safe then sorry.......... icon_rolleyes.gif My God, I'm starting to sound exactly like my Mother.

It only takes a second for something tragic to happen and how could we ever live with ourselves if we knew it was because we weren't there. Kids grow up so fast, before you know it they'll be in college. These are precious times for you and I commend you're over-protectiveness! More parents need to be like you.




Thank you. Everyone around me makes me feel like I'm psycho or something. I always tell them, "If something happens to one of my babies, I'm the one that will have to deal with it for the rest of my life. You'll be the one who sits there pitying me and saying, 'Glad I'm not in her shoes', so I'll be psycho all day long it that's what it takes."
Shelle: My daughter is so accident prone she would hurt herself in a room full of clouds! She'd find a way to make thunder or something!

Melvira Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 9:55pm
post #13 of 56

Ok, my son turned 3 in June, when the weather was nice, every once in a while I'd let him go out on the back deck 'alone'. In other words, I let him play on the deck (baby gates on both access points to the yard) while I sat inside the door on the porch, not even 'in' the house staring at him. icon_rolleyes.gif I don't let him go outside alone. I will still not do it this summer when he is 4. Normally, I just take my laptop outside and do whatever while he plays on the deck. Why? Because I am paranoid, overprotective, psychotic, whatever you want to call it... NO... because I love my son and could not LIVE if anything happened to him. Especially if it was my 'fault'. There are enough real things that can happen, whether an 'outsider' can get to them or not. It's not always about 'they could be kidnapped' or 'they could run away' (though that is a real concern) but even in a protected environment, they could get seriously hurt. Not like you have to have them superglued to your hip until they're 20, but... well, wait... I wonder if I COULD do that? icon_lol.gif My poor boys are going to be mothered within an inch of their lives. But I'll tell you, they'll love and respect women when they grow up. Or they'll turn into them. Whatever. icon_rolleyes.gif

JodieF Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 11:10pm
post #14 of 56

I might let them go out in the environment for short periods of time, if I was watching from inside and had quick access to them, if it was the kids who were asking for the time. Kids like to feel a little independent. Some three year olds want to be "big kids". I wouldn't want them to become fearful. It could be a great learning experience for them (and you!).

Not trying to scare everyone, but your kids can get hurt right next to you. You can't guarantee they won't be hurt by being the perfectly vigilant mom. Unfortunately, accidents happen. When my older son was 20 months old I had an apple pie in the oven, set at 425 degrees. I was washing up the dishes. For whatever reason, he came up, opened the oven and laid his hands on the inside of the oven door. He was less than 2 feet away from me and I didn't even see it. I had no idea he could open the oven door. He'd never tried before. I'll hear that scream in my head until the day I die. I scooped him up and held his little hands under cool water. My neighbor, 4 houses down, heard him screaming and ran to my house. The Dr.'s didn't think he'd even have fingerprints. Was I a terrible mom because that happened? Did I not love him enough? Nope...it was an accident.

He's 21 now, perfectly fine, and is getting ready to graduate from college as a music performance major. His hands make the most beautiful music. And, yep, he has fingerprints.

I have 2 other kids, 25 and 17. They've had their share of hurts and we've all survived it. It's part of growing up. I am very proud of what kind of mother I've been, but I couldn't spare them from those growing up hurts.

Jodie

Shelle_75 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 11:21pm
post #15 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by JodieF

Not trying to scare everyone, but your kids can get hurt right next to you.





This is an excellent point. When my son was two he tripped in the living room. Over his own feet. Just tripped. He landed, twisted-like on his left leg. Broke his femur clean in half. The ER called CPS because they just knew there was no way it could be an accident. (after interviewing us and his older brother, CPS never even gave us a case number) He spent six weeks in a body cast from his hips down.

I will, however, continue to supervise my children to the absolute best of my ability until they no longer reside in my house. Even if that makes me overprotective to some.

JodieF Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 11:31pm
post #16 of 56

Isn't the biggest trick of motherhood being protective without smothering and making them do everything they can think of to get away from us? icon_rolleyes.gif
Shoot...I've chased my kids down in the car when I saw them try to ride off on their bikes without wearing their helmets. I spent years yelling at my boys to stop fighting with sticks and to stay where I could see them. *lol* I think I almost had a stroke when my daughter got her drivers license, came home ALL excited, and yelled for her 2 little brothers to get in the car and she'd take them out to lunch. I called the school the first morning I let my 1st grade daughter walk the block and a half to school by herself, to make sure she'd made it okay.

Motherhood ain't for sissies!

Tita9499 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 11:35pm
post #17 of 56

Amen Jodie!

Shelle_75 Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 11:46pm
post #18 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by JodieF

Motherhood ain't for sissies!




I want that on a t-shirt!

Cakepro Posted 6 Feb 2009 , 11:55pm
post #19 of 56

Summer,

That woman and her husband were interviewed by a local Houston news channel some time before Christmas (I was wrapping presents so it probably was during the week before Christmas) and their story is horrendously tragic. Their son very well may have lived had there not been an asshole sheriff who got there before the ambulance and kept everyone, including the parents, away from the baby -while he was still alive - and without doing any kind of assessment for airway, breathing, etc. Oh, my God, they played her 911 call and she BEGGED the dispatcher to tell her - like 9 times - what to do for her baby, and the dispatcher was another completely cold asshole who would not tell her how to care for the child, AND THEN HAD THE AUDACITY TO TALK BADLY ABOUT HER ON THE TAPE AFTER SHE HUNG UP!! When the medics arrived, the sheriff held out his arms to not allow them to pass and told them that it was a crime scene and the child was dead. The paramedic (all of this was read from the paramedic's report) told the sheriff that is was not his job to declare the child DOA and found that the child was still breathing. Unfortunately, the baby stayed in a coma for several days and then died.

It was sheer agony listening to her 911 call and watching the parents' interview. I sobbed while I sat there amidst Christmas presents watching that news story. If you ever see her again, please give her a big hug for me. I cannot even begin to imagine her pain.

------
Tita, 3 is too young for unsupervised playtime out even in the safest of compounded yards.

Sherri

Quote:
Originally Posted by summernoelle

OK, here is the thing. DO NOT mean to scare you, because I sometimes let my kids out. But listen to this.
Over the summer, I went to McDonald's with my DD while my son was at VBS. I started talking to a woman, who told me one of her children had died. I didn't want to be nosy, so I didn't ask. She kept bringing up "the accident", so I finally asked her what happened.
She and her two sons were playing in the backyard, came in, watched TV. She dozed off for maybe 10-15 minutes, and her littlest son (about 2) went back outside. He crawled up onto the soccer net, fell through, and hung himself.

There are some pretty horrible aspects to this story, but my God, I hugged and hugged my kids that day and am now a little paranoid about it. It happens SO quickly. From the time this kid got out, to the time his mom got out there, a neighbor also had some information on time because she had heard him out laughing...it happened within 5 minutes or so.


Doug Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 12:03am
post #20 of 56

at 3 --- throw rug surfed down waxed hall (unintentionally) - slammed into door frame and also fell on 6-pack of glass pop bottles shattering one -- big gash in head.

at 3 or 4 --- sent hand through the washer wringer (remember those???)

at 4 -- learned electricity is a shocking experience when I touched the old electric ice cream maker while standing in the pool of water that hand gathered around it.

at 5 -- removed skin from both knees -- and I do mean removed -- riding bike -- fell off onto cinder paved road (remember when they use crushed coal cinders for that!?)

at 6 or so -- ditto age 5 (nope -- didn't learn)

not sure of age -- but-- the old classic nail through shoe and into foot.

at 11 -- fell on picket fence ripping right arm open at the elbow all the way to the bone -- still went on vacation the next day (tho' almost was killed by mom when I woke her at 6AM to tell I was good to go!) -- 40 stitches to put it all back together -- oh and BTW - I was taking a picture of mom's rose garden when it happened!

at 13 -- ripped end of right toe off playing miniature golf -- stubbed toe on concrete step while wearing flip-flops.

at 16 -- flipped out bicycle riding down a long hill --- seven stitches just below right knee

at 20 -- popped right knee cap completely off

at 30 -- ditto 20 (this time it blew up like a watermelon!! ---- poor right knee, it gets so much abuse)

at 45 -- ripped open bottom of right foot on a nail that was sticking up out of the parquet wood floor.

at 54 -- nearly removed tip of middle finger on the right hand with jig-saw -- and NO, not with the blade (too easy/normal) but by getting it caught between the saw casing and the thing that holds the blade (the part that goes up and down) while trying to change the blade with the saw plugged in (duh!)

and I can't even begin to remember all the times of sliced open fingers on knives, razor blades etc. all why trying to cut something from salad to a piece of paper. Or burned myself on something


Got to point the running gag in my family was: now what did you do? don't drip! clean it up!

----

all this by way of saying....

not matter how vigilant you may be -- kids WILL!!!!!!!!! get hurt -- some more creatively than others. icon_rolleyes.gif

yes--- teach them all you can about being safe.

yes -- hazard proof as much as humanly possible the environment -- realizing tho' you can't cover every base (like the throw rug/door frame/pop bottle incident above)

yes -- exercise caution....

but ---

no --- don't hold so close they can't explore and get messy --

learning, of which bumps, bruises, cuts, scraps and the like ARE a part -- is messy.

-----

horrific accidents do happen...and in this modern era with our instantaneous media to hype it up, they can become all blown out of proportion.

Jeraldo Rivera once did a news show called "Are We Scaring Ourselves to Death?" in which he addressed how we are becoming ever more paranoid about "everything" -- and how people are become so over-protective.

one illustration he gave:

would you knowing allow into your home something that had the force to blow it and your neighbor's house to pieces and kill you in the process.

OF COURSE NOT -- the studio audience said.

Then he asked them to do a show of hand for who cooked with natural gas or propane.

OOOOPSSS --- well golly-- didn't everyone feel silly (ok the other s word too) then -- realizing they already had that dangerous something in their home.

-----

Stock up on band-aids, suckers and keep the doctor's number handy and let them slowly expand their horizons out the door, into the yard and beyond


and speaking as a boy ---

gates and stone walls are just great big "I DARE YOU TO CLIMB ME!!!" invitations!

JodieF Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 12:47am
post #21 of 56

Doug...I sure hope you bought your mom lots of flowers after you were lucky enough to grow up!!!!
Image


Jodie

myslady Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 1:43am
post #22 of 56

I am an auntie and I don't think you are overprotective. Imo 3 years old is too young to be outside by yourself.

I will let my two older nephews (7 and 4) play outside by themselves in the summer, provided I can see them. Meaning they are either in the front yard only with the front door open and the curtains to all the front windows open so that I can keep an eye on them or they are in the back yard only and I am in my room with my blinds open and my windows open so that I can hear them.

They know that if they want to go anywhere else they better come in and ask first or else they are coming in the house.

With my now 2 year old newphew, he is not allowed to play outside with his brothers without someone else being outside with him.

Melvira Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 2:18am
post #23 of 56

It is so true that there will be accidents no matter what. I always say, "They call them accidents for a reason... otherwise it would be called an 'on purpose'." And Doug... good Lord... I am probably going to have heart failure raising two boys after reading that!! icon_cry.gificon_lol.gif

indydebi Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 2:32am
post #24 of 56

I am NOT an overprotective mom. If my kid is crying, I yell, "Are you bleeding? THen stop bothering me until you're really hurt!" Hubby asks where the kids are. I say, "I dont' know." He says, "Shouldn't you go look for them?" I say, "YOU'RE the one worried about them ... YOU go look for them."

That said, I wouldnt' let my 3 year olds play outside alone. 5 .... yes, I would.

My favorite kid story is when I came home and my then 10-year old complained because her big brother (16) folded her up in the fold-up couch. Big brother shrugged and said, "She was buggin' me!"

adonisthegreek1 Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 3:06am
post #25 of 56

No you're not too protective. Even if no strangers can get to your kids, there are other things that can happen. Three year olds are very curious and may put pretty, but poisonous flowers and other things in their mouths. My kids use to think mushrooms at the park were the same kind that I use in cooking.

chutzpah Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 6:15am
post #26 of 56

Geez... I am so glad none of you ladies was MY mom! Talk about suffocating!

icon_eek.gif

tjrobin31 Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 8:00am
post #27 of 56

my two boys are hard enough to keep safe inside the house, at the ages of 1 and 2 they have both mastered climbing on top of every elevated surface available, i have to remove all chairs from the kitchen on a daily bases in fear of finding them both on top of the refrigerator or god knows where, i can only imagine where they would end up if i didn't watch them outside my goodness in three feet of snow they can out run me , all i can say is thank heavens for fences, although i have no fear that when they are old enough they will get their chance to run free DH will see to that for now they aren't allowed more than two feet away from me , it's not only in their best interest but probly in the whole neighborhoods best interest as well,
i agree you're definantely not being overprotective your just being a good mom

msladybug Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 11:35am
post #28 of 56

You are not overprotective. I let my 8 yr old ride her bike in the road with the 10 yr old neighbor. I can however see her at all times.

I also have a 3 yr old and I let her go outside with her older sister but again I have to be able to see them.

You may want to let them go for 10 or 15 mins and just sit at the window and watch and see how they do. If you don't feel comfortable then don't do it.
Do not let anyone influence your decision to be a good overprotective parent.

ziggytarheel Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 12:03pm
post #29 of 56

I don't think keeping a close eye on a three year old is being over protective. I think you are fine!

But, I really really really REALLY think it is very important to be careful not to instill a sense of fear in your children that steals a sense of confidence and a sense of independence. I say this because I had two friends who were extremely over protective. The first was so afraid of her kids getting sick and dying that she didn't let them leave the house except for doctor's appointments and didn't let anyone IN her house either. She would bring them to the window to wave at you. Her own son broke his leg as a baby when he was less than a foot away from her.

The other was afraid to let her son play with other children because they might poke him in the eye. Followed the school bus on field trips so she could rescue him in case of an accident. Wouldn't let him ride his bike out of her sight when he was 11. I could give you a whole list of issues this boy has now as a young adult. This is not a normal childhood.

Kids need to fall down, get cuts and scrapes, have fusses and feuds with other kids without mom always there to fix things or prevent every little hurt from happening. We've got to let them learn that little hurts are little deals, and that they can learn to handle the bigger hurts. They also have to learn that they can safely make their way in the world.

I have grown children. I grew up when our moms pushed us out the door in the mornings and told us if we needed a drink, to use the hose outside. I know we don't live in that world any more, but I also know that things are not as scary as people say. I think it is VERY important to remember that unless you live in a very unsafe place, the most dangerous thing your child does is get in the car with you. Please understand that I had to bite my tongue and hold my hands behind my back when my 11 year old son would climb REALLY high up in a tree. The hardest thing I ever did was let my 16 year old daughter drive off by herself. There are certain risks we have to take to let them grow up. It is amazing that ANY kids make it to adulthood, yet they do. Be wise. Plan ahead. Make things reasonably safe. Teach good safety habits. And then I suggest you pray. Because no matter what you do, they are gonna have stories to tell their children of close calls they had. And it really is okay. The most important thing is that you raise a child who is confident, independent, kind and loving, and not afraid of this world.

That's been my philosophy, at any rate. icon_smile.gif

fat-sissy Posted 7 Feb 2009 , 1:09pm
post #30 of 56

My kids are 5 and 6. No way would I have let them play in the backyard at age 3 unless I was outside with them. I don't know how your kids are, but my 2 are into everything. The ideas they come up with are unbelievable. I'm guessing twins would be the same way.

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