“Just let me do it for you”: 7 phrases that suggest an overparented past

“Just let me do it, sweetheart.”

Did you hear this phrase a lot as a child? Were your parents always there right when you needed them and even when you didn’t?

If you’re nodding your head yes, it is possible that you had very overbearing parents growing up – parents who exerted too much control over your life and almost never let you out of their sight.

For years, you felt like you couldn’t take a deep breath and feel… free.

You’re not alone. Plenty of people have an overparented past, although many of us don’t realize it.

Here are the 7 phrases that suggest you’re part of the club.

1) “I know what’s best for you”

Growing up, I remember feeling confused about the fact that my parents thought they knew me better than I did.

When you’re four years old, this makes complete sense, of course. But the moment you cross the threshold between childhood and teenagehood, your opinions and preferences begin to take shape.

And your parents might not necessarily like them.

If you used to hear “I know what’s best for you” a lot around the house, it’s a sign your parents may have tried to exert too much control over your decisions and wishes.

You may have wanted to join a theatre club and been pushed toward basketball.

You may have had literary aspirations, only for your parents to constantly encourage you to do science.

Whatever it was, your parents probably acted from a place of love – without realizing that sometimes, the most loving thing you can do is to let someone choose their own destiny.

2) “You’ll understand when you’re older”

Ugh. My parents used to say this little phrase all the time when I was younger. And I absolutely hated it.

On the one hand, I get where parents are coming from – sometimes, things only become clear when you’re an adult who has the opportunity to reflect back on the past.

On the other hand, though, “You’ll understand when you’re older” has never made any child feel better. In fact, most children and teenagers despise that phrase, and understandably so – it’s demeaning and disrespectful.

It’s grounded in the assumption that the child’s opinion is of no importance simply because they are young. What’s more, it’s a way for parents to disregard their children’s wishes or boundaries because they are “only children” after all.

But even a child’s voice should be heard and validated. If it’s not, the child in question learns that their opinion doesn’t matter and might suffer a drop in self-esteem.

3) “Don’t you worry about that”

Helpless girl "Just let me do it for you": 7 phrases that suggest an overparented past

Another sign you had an overparented past is that your primary caretakers butted their way into your life way too often, taking on tasks you could have completed yourself and helping you with things you should have figured out on your own.

One of my friends once told me, “My dad was just always there. He would help me put on socks, tie my shoelaces, do my homework with me… It was too much. I hated it.”

“Don’t you worry about that” is one of many phrases that absolve the child of any responsibility. And while the parent might think they’re being a good and loving caretaker, fussing over your kid might teach them to overly rely on other people’s help.

Why would you need to be self-sufficient when there’s always another person getting you out of trouble, right?

4) “My house, my rules”

Look, I get it. Parents usually need to establish some ground rules so that their kids know what’s what.

But if you had overly controlling parents, this whole charade was less about the rules themselves and more about power.

My dad once grounded me for two weeks because I came home half a minute late. His punishment wasn’t about principles or discipline or doing the right thing. He grounded me because he could.

There’s a difference between a parent who wants to raise a good kid and a parent who needs to be in control of everything their child does.

“My house, my rules” is a phrase that usually falls in the latter category.

5) “I gave you life and this is how you repay me?”

When overbearing parents don’t get their way, they may begin to manipulate their kids – without even realizing that they’re engaging in manipulation.

“I gave you life and this is how you repay me?” and many different alternatives are quite common phrases among parents.

The parent works hard, tries their best to raise their child well, and is constantly tired, so they expect their child to acknowledge all their effort and feel grateful.

But that’s not how it works.

The truth of the matter is, the child has had no choice but to be born. That choice was up to the parent. And if you decide to have kids, it is your responsibility to look after them – whether they’re grateful or not.

A parent isn’t doing their child a service by going to work and making sure there’s food in the fridge. They’re fulfilling a responsibility they have chosen for themselves.

6) “If you loved me, you would…”

Ah, another manipulative phrase!

“If you loved me, you would” relies on the child’s love for their parent, manipulating them into abiding by the parent’s wishes.

“If you loved me, you wouldn’t make such a mess in the kitchen.”

“If you loved me, you’d want to go in my footsteps and study medicine.”

How about this – if you loved your kid, you would let them have the space to make their own decisions.

7) “Because I said so”

When an overly controlling parent has been backed into a corner, they will whip out a typical parenting strategy – assert their authority through nothing but their status as a parent.

The thing is, many kids – especially if they’re smart – will only respect people who do something to earn that respect.

And the best way to do so is to show your child you respect their individuality and take them seriously.

“Because I said so” just doesn’t cut it. Every time my parents used this phrase when I was a child, all it did was make me angry.

Chances are, you felt the same way.

But remember – we are no longer kids. We may have had an overparented past, but right here and right now, we are in charge of our own destiny.

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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