7 Signs You Might Be an Overbearing Parent

LOL 38

angry momAre YOU an overbearing parent? Of course not! No one thinks they are, and it is a pretty subjective term, but oh you know one when you see one ... unless of course you're looking in the mirror.

The other day STFU Parents posted a link to a discussion that's blowing up on Reddit. It started with a post in which the person recounted an annoying encounter he or she had with a mother, and then asked if anyone else had any stories of overbearing parents in public.

And oh boy do people have stories of overbearing parents. There are currently more than 1,300 comments, and the discussion is going strong. The definition of an overbearing parent encompasses a lot, and it definitely overlaps into the helicopter parenting realm, but it's a bit different. I think it can be boiled down to this -- you think the world revolves around you and your child, and pretty much everyone else sucks and can suck it.

The entire discussion is a fun read, but I've narrowed it down into seven takeaways that will clue you in that you just might be an overbearing parent. See if you fit the bill.

1. You yell at other people for bumping into/almost bumping into your child when you're child is running where he or she shouldn't.

2. You give death stares to anyone who dares to talk to your children in public, even when you're kids initiate the conversation.

3. You assume all men are child molesters and make that perfectly clear when encountering them anywhere.

4. You tell your kids that if they're not good, "that man" or "that woman" is going to get mad at them/take them away/otherwise harm them.

5.  If your child is pulling the hair of someone in front of you on the bus, you ask the person to move their hair.

6. When strangers help your child, you thank them by calling the cops. (Examples include: saving them from choking, stopping them from walking out into traffic.)

7. If someone dares brush against your child's hand, you whip out the hand sanitizer ... and NOT discreetly.

The thing is, it's so hard NOT to be overbearing, and we're probably all guilty of some of these to some degree. But at least knowing you're a bit crazy when it comes to this crazy gig of parenting is definitely a good first step.

Are you ever overbearing in public? Any stories to add?


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a mom's life, discipline


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Miche... Michelephant

A variation of #4 happens to me all the time.  I'm a police officer and I do foot patrols around the tourist down I work in.  If a child is misbehaving the parents usually point me out and say "If you aren't good that police officer is going to arrest you and take you to jail".  All that does is associate punishment and fear with the police and keep kids from seeking them out in an emergency. 

BubbsJNL BubbsJNL

I am guilty of the "if you don't pipe down, that nice man is going to get angry" bit and I never realized how awful it was until I read the Reddit thread!!!  Ack!!

Last summer, I was on a Norwegian Cruise out of Manhattan and there were kids EVERYWHERE.  I didn't find the kids to be nearly as obnoxious as the adults who meandered everywhere with no regard for the people around them.  Walking down a wide hallway one afternoon about 5 days into the cruise, a little girl of around 4-5 was doing perididdles and slammed right into my legs - she faked left and went right and I completely failed in my attempt to avoid the collision.  I have two of my own, though, so such collisions are an hourly occurrence for me!!  I immediately put my hands on her shoulders to make sure that she didn't fall and asked her if she was okay and she looked up at me with big, scared eyes, nodded and careened back to her mom.  Her mother got up, came over to me and GAVE ME A HUGE HUG.  She said, "you're the first person in five days that has been nice to that child...thank you!"  I told her that I knew EXACTLY what she was talking about and I made a new friend for the remainder of the trip!

jec72579 jec72579

I think all 7 of these are absolutely crazy!!! And,,,,, No, normal people do NOT think your child is the cutest thing when they continue to kick the back of your seat in the buss, train, airplane, etc... We think that you are a horribkle parent whose kids are going to turn out to be spoiled, rude, out of control adults, just as they are as children. 

the4m... the4mutts

"We're probably all guilty of these to some degree."

No, not really. My rules are pretty reasonable.

Example: talking to strangers. The rule is, if you are with me *as opposed to walking home from school or something similar* feel free to talk. But give away no personal information. First names only, no address, etc. If you're not with me, politely say, "I don't talk to strangers", then call me on your cell phone & talk to me until you get home.

If my kid bumps into/almost bumps into someone, they are to say "excuse me" NICELY no matter who's "fault" it was. And they're not to run around crazy in public. Likewise, if they annoy someone, they are made to stop, and say sorry.

Germs? Pft. I would tell someone else to wash after touching my kids before I would worry about their dirty asses catching something lol

My kids are all under 9, so my rules, IMO are age approperiate, and not extreme.

nonmember avatar HS

I'm somewhat overbearing. I don't direct my son to not talk to strangers while he's with me but I will take his hand if we're going to pass another person. I will admit that I'm more cautious with him when males are around simply because I have had many experiences with predatory men while growing up. I have better sense and common courtesy than to say that out loud though and I won't necessarily be rude to a man that engages my son unless my internal sensors go off. I'm not a germaphobe so hand sanitizer is not a big thing for me. Wash your hands before you eat or if they're visibly dirty are my only rules. And absolutely my son is to apologize if he bumps into someone else or say excuse me if he needs to go around someone. I'll always remember this one time we were at a door and this lady and her daughter were coming out. We stopped so they could pass us but they both had sour faces on and swept past us brushing against my son and just letting the door close even though there were others of us waiting for them. My son looked bewildered and said Mommy, they didn't say excuse me. Lol. That's my boy ;)

MWate MWate

My biggest pet peeve when in public with my kids is when I've been explaining to my 5 yr old how and why there behavior is unacceptable and then a stranger comes and tells him what a good boy he's being, and when people look at me like I'm crazy for chastising him for running all the way to the other end of the store and I have to yell after him to come back. I hate feeling like I can't discipline my child in public without being judged but then people are mad and put out when he gets out of control.

Belkys87 Belkys87

Well I just find out am NOT this type of parent but I do have to admit that when we are out I do my best to keep them in the stroller.

They little still, almost 2 yo, but they are twins and am also pregnant so its best for me to keep them in the stroller

mamivon2 mamivon2

great article... thank you

Marcella Shambles

Some of these things more over protective/paranoid the overbearing. The main one I can't stand wasn't even listed:  The parent that forces the child into a "mini me".  Basically pushes the child to "enjoy" all the "great" things that Mom/Dad like and are interested in, regardless of the child's actual interest.

_JustMe_ _JustMe_

i can HONESTLY and PROUDLY say none of these apply to me or my daughters. i am pretty leniant with them, i do expect them to act appropriately when we are out and about AND at home.  They know to say excuse me or sorry at the right time, and i am not a germaphobe, germs are EVERYWHERE and if i was to worry bout germs my kids would never be allowed to do anything or go anywhere.

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