Dear Mom Who Called Me Overprotective…


Dear Mom Who Called Me Overprotective,

First of all, I heard you. So next time you feel like talking smack about my parenting style, you might want to move out of earshot. But I’m not here to address your lack of tact; this about my overprotectiveness.

You see, Mom Who Called Me Overprotective, I know that you were talking about the fact that I still make my 8-year-old ride in a booster seat. I could tell by your tone how completely ridiculous you think this is. According to you, I’m some type of psychotic helicopter parent because I follow guidelines set out by the American Academy of Pediatrics. I get it. In the land of mom judgment, an 8-year-old in a booster makes me an easy target. I guess.

But here’s what you don’t seem to understand. I feel like I have two main jobs as a mom. First, my job is to keep my kids safe. Sounds simple enough. My second job as a mom is more complicated. My second job is to raise my children to be productive members of society. So let’s think about this. I need to keep my kids safe and I need to raise them to make good decisions.

So in our family we DO ride in booster seats until it’s appropriate to transition out of them, and we DO wear life jackets on boats, and we DO hold hands while crossing streets, and we ALWAYS wear helmets when riding our bikes. Because Mom Who Called Me Overprotective, I want to keep my kids safe right now, but I’m also looking at the bigger picture.

Kids learn by watching and observing everything their parents do; from the time they are babies in their car seats, up until they are teenagers driving themselves around. They hear you when you tell them they can ride without a seatbelt just this one time. They are learning from you when you tell them they can take a ride just around the block without a helmet. They are watching when they see you send just a short text while you’re driving.

There is going to come a day when my little kids are going to be big kids and eventually those big kids are going to become teenagers. There’s going to come a day when my children are going to have to make their own decisions. They’re going to be faced with decisions like should they accept a ride from a friend who has been drinking or should they text while driving. And my hope for them, is that they will think about how much I’ve taught them to value their personal safety before they make those choices. My hope is that they’ll stop, for even a split second, and think about conversations we’ve had about car safety before they accept a ride in an overcrowded car where there is no seatbelt available for them. My hope is that my kids will offer to be a designated driver and value their friends’ lives as much as I have valued theirs.

So, Mom Who Called Me Overprotective, I’ll gladly accept the title of overprotective if it means that my kids grow up to learn how to keep themselves safe. Because as far as I’m concerned, that means I’m doing my job.

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13 Responses to Dear Mom Who Called Me Overprotective…

  1. Suzy Jan 13, 2016 at 6:55 am #

    This is great as a mom who has raised three kids. Not only do they make good choices for themselves. They are protectors. They become th DD for those friends. They become caring and sensitive to others needs. Great article .

    • Shannon
      Shannon Jan 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks Suzy, glad to hear it.

  2. Sharon Jan 13, 2016 at 12:39 pm #

    Shannon, both of my kids are still in either a car seat or booster, and they are 3.5 and 7.5. In New Jersey we are required by law to have kids in a booster until age 8. When my son turns 8 in April, he will stay in the booster because he’s a little short for his age. Why anyone would question such a obviously safe choice is beyond me.

  3. Lily Jan 13, 2016 at 9:05 pm #

    Nice letter but I didn’t find it necessary to aim it at this other mom — who knows what her deal was or what she meant. You’re doing the right thing!

  4. Linda Schrenk Jan 15, 2016 at 5:46 am #

    When I was young they were just starting to put seat belts in cars & drinking & driving was a tragedy but not a crime. My father installed seat belts in our cars till they became standard & made us wear them. He later raised me & my brother to not drink & drive. I have always worn a seat belt & was the DD in my early adult years. Fast-forward to my adult children. I raised them the same way & now they also wear seatbelts & don’t drink & drive. Along with many other ‘helicopter mom” values, they are all productive, great young adults. Also, you’ll never regret protecting your kids, but if your child is harmed when it could have been prevented you will forever regret your actions. Keep up the good work & you’ll see the fruits of your labor!

    • Shannon
      Shannon Jan 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks Linda.

  5. Christine allmand Jan 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Beautifully written. Thank you.

    • Shannon
      Shannon Jan 15, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

      Thanks Christine.

  6. Rachel Jan 21, 2016 at 12:04 pm #

    I do the same thing. Great to hear! My kids are the last ones rear facing, using a 5 pt harness forward facing, and will be the last to be out of a booster – they will be done when they pass the 5 step test! My girls know why I do these things – for their safety. I pray they will do the same with their children. I don’t think it’s helicopter parenting to follow current safety recommendations. They are only young for a short part of their life!

    • Shannon
      Shannon Dec 24, 2016 at 8:39 am #

      I completely agree Rachel. There’s a difference between helicopter parenting and wanting your kids to be safe.

  7. Lisa Musser Jan 23, 2016 at 11:34 am #

    Raising our children to be thinkers who make good choices is the ultimate goal of mothers everywhere. It’s not enough to just make sure they have good manners and show kindness to others. Parenting is full time job because raising little humans to be responsible, caring adults is a hard job.

    • Shannon
      Shannon Dec 24, 2016 at 8:39 am #

      So true, Lisa.

  8. Sarah Lynch Mar 4, 2017 at 10:46 pm #

    I love this so much. I KNOW I’m overprotective and sometimes I can’t make people understand or even accept that in this way, but you were able to put into words why being overprotective is a positive. I hope I instill thoughts in my son’s mind that keeps him from making terrible decisions down the road. Thank you for these words.

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