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Such a thing as "over" protective parenting?

post #1 of 103
Thread Starter 
I don't believe there's such a thing in being "over" protective when it comes to my daughter. As her mother, my number one job is protecting her. Right? When I was a baby, my dad abused me sexually. Now that I have a daughter, the fear of something happening to her is overwhelming. I am extremly protective of her. Her dad and I didn't work out, but we're maintaining a good friendship. I've been with him for 7 years and trust him completely. He's just like me with being "over" protective so I know that when Lily is with him, she'll be plenty protected.

There's only 4 women, including myself who changes Lily's diaper and her daddy changes her. I trust her dad and have no problem with him being alone with her. When I'm at my grammas (or when she's watching Lily while I'm at work) there is one rule that I am firm on: Grandpa leaves the room while Lily is being changed. I've caught him twice standing over my shoulder when I'm changing Lily, after he's been told NOT to do that!. (I also caught grandpa standing Lily up on his crotch, multiple times. Like, directly on his penis--you could see the bulge and see Lily stepping all over it. Ugh! I talked to him about it. It's just not normal, in my opinion, to stand an infant directly on your penis and not see something wrong with that or not move her onto your leg or something. It wasn't just me who saw him do this. I'm paranoid...but I don't "see" things. Everyone saw this).

Lily has 2 step brothers and it's the same rule with them. Daddy or his mom will take Lily into a back bedroom and change her--the boys know that "Lily's a girl and this is private". They understand and everyone obeys the rules mama has set forth. My rule is this: "Nobody with a penis other than daddy see's Lily naked. And nobody with a penis other than daddy is to be alone with Lily for any amount of time." I don't care how young/old a male child is, grandpa, etc---if the person has a penis, he's not to see my daughter naked. Am I being extreme? Personally, I think not. I'm just protecting my daughter and respecting her. And, there's too many perverts in this world--way too many!

Her pediatritian hates me, I'm pretty sure. lol To start, we haven't had any vaccinations. And, at her well baby check ups, they want me to strip Lily down butt naked so they can weigh her. Nope. Diaper stays on or we leave, it's as simple as that. (Seriously, how much can a dry diaper weigh?) I just believe that Lily is a little person who deserves respect. Even though she's an infant and doesn't know any better, she deserves respect. When I go to the doctor to get weighed, I keep my clothes on--why should it be any different with Lily? Luckily, her daddy agrees with me on this sort of stuff. He went with us for one of her last well baby check ups. They told him to take her diaper off. I told him to keep it on. The nurse argues with me! The nurse had to go get the doctor's permission for us to weigh Lily with her diaper on. (Seriously, come on folks!). Doctor gave permission, and we weighed Lily with diaper on (gasp!). When the nurse left us, I apologized to Lily's dad. I told him, "I'm just real funny with these kind of things" (it was the first time he'd gone to an appt with us and hadn't seen me in action before). He told me, "I agree 100%. It's nonsense to strip her down naked. That's ridiculous". So, at least he and I are on the same wave length when it comes to Lily's privacy and respect.

So, the people that matter (Lily's daddy, her gramma, etc) who watch Lily alone and that I'm with a lot, understand and respect my wishes for Lily's privacy. That's really all that matters. But, all the experts think I'm nuts.

I go to counseling once/week. I told my counselor my rules: "Nobody with a penis other than daddy see's her naked. Nobody with a penis other than daddy is allowed to be alone with her." (That's just the easiest way to word it to make the rule very clear). She laughed. I've told her that, no matter what--Lily will NOT have a male teacher until she's at least in high school; when she's old enough to physically and emotionally fight someone off of her. (No male doctors, coaches, etc etc. I have issues--and I know what kind of crazy perverted men are out there. Her daddy is a cop--he's seen first hand, gruesome cases of sexual assault. Is it so wrong that we want to keep her in a bubble and away from harm?!). Counselor tells me that if I keep her away from men, that I will cause her to be a victim--by not teaching her to trust herself when it comes to men. My logic is that SHE IS A CHILD...and it's my job as her mother to protect her. (God forbid, but if something were to happen....at least I could say, "I did everything I could to protect my child" instead of saying, "I should have protected her more...").

Hmmm. So, there's my ramblings. Lily's an infant right now. I won't have the potential male teacher thing for a few years. For now, I'm maintaining that no male persons see her naked or be alone with her (seriously, not even for a minute). BTW, I realize that women can molest too. But, it's not too common. And until she's in school, I won't have to worry about a female stranger. My mom, gramma, Nanny (daddy's mom), and mommy are the only females who will change her diaper, give baths, etc.

Are there any other mama's as nutty as me? Do you think I'm too extreme? Do people give you a hard time about "over" protecting your children? There's an on-going joke that I'm going to raise Lily to hate men. At this point, I see nothing wrong with that. I'm only half serious when I say that.
post #2 of 103
Mama, I was sexually molested by my father also. I cried with relief when they told us on the ultrasound that our baby would be a boy. I understand the fear from which you are coming. I have learned to trust the world and that everything unfolds with a purpose. I honestly don't live in fear of our son being molested, or myself any longer.

As a child, there was no safe haven. I believe that a child having their body respected and their consent honored, is what can protect a child. Even IF your child is molested, she will know that and confide in you. Having a trusted resource is what helps to validate and neutralize the experience, imo. A friend was raped as a teen, her family validated, supported and comforted her. She is much healthier related to trusting the world than I. I firmly believe that having your consistent support, and the expectation of respect, overcomes the severity of the damage. Trust which is breached is an anomaly, that is different than trust which was absent or destroyed.

So, every day in every way, I honor ds's trust by honoring his dissent. I would not place him in an environment in which I couldn't trust. THAT is what you can control. I would never leave my child with my father without me there. I assume that you have confronted your father?? My mother knows, this many years later. But, I *tried* to tell her as a child. She was unable to protect me. She too feared and was victimized by my father. How do you believe that your mother can protect your child now?? I am confused. I understand when I was unable to know *how* to trust, that I didn't know whom to trust. Fortunately, I've had 25 years married to my husband whom I trust completely.

I grew up living in fear. Some of it due to my own childhood experiences. As an adult I locked the doors, triple checked them, carried mace all the time, looked over my shoulder, feared every stranger man, avoided going out at night, took self-defense classes, slept with the phone under my pillow, had a loaded shot gun in our home, rehearsed how to escape, where to hide, how to shoot, how to protect myself. I LIVED FEAR!

I've realized *I* chose Fear.

Because something about being pregnant gave me a sense of immunity, an aura of safety and wholeness, of significance to being in this world. The fears evaporated. The gift of being comfortable in my own body, relishing every moment was such a blessing that I experienced the delta from the way that I had lived previously.

Now I choose to live with Trust. No. Matter. What. Because it feels so much better. And because I do not want to model living a life of Fear. I feel empowered to not continually victimize myself with a life filled with fear. Trust allows me to face what ever comes my way. I just know Trust in my own self has brought me peace and joy and helped me through some really challenging times. I do not want to live in fear, I have been there and done that and it didn't feel good.

How do you feel? How is it working for you? Can you really maintain that level of alert forever? You are choosing to carry the weight of the world. You're trying to stop things from happening and things will still happen. So would you rather spend your time in fear of the "bad" thing happening, or just use that energy to deal with it *if* it does? That's what works for me. It doesn't make me feel safer to be on alert and scared. It doesn't make us safer for me to be on alert and scared. I can be alone in my house with my son and sleep and smile at how lucky we are to be together and reflect on our day; or I can listen for every noise and imagine a boogey man around every corner. I've actually done it both ways and the fear route didn't work for me. And now when I look at it as an observer - it's the very same house, the very same situation but *I* choose how it feels. It's pretty wild to think about really. It's all a construct.


Pat
post #3 of 103
Thread Starter 
Thanks, mama. I need to clarify something--"grandpa" whom I spoke of is not my dad. He's newly married (7 years) to my gramma. My dad has been out of the picture since I was a toddler. My mom has been single for the most part (she's too mean and scares away any man she meets. Sadly, not joking).

I trust who I leave Lily with, wholeheartedly. I trust that they will respect my wishes and not allow a man (other than Lily's daddy) see her naked or be alone with her.

To live with trust instead of fear is something I don't see happening any time soon. It will take a long time for me to trust. It will take even longer to trust people with my daughter (specially men). I have one girlfriend who I'd trust to watch Lily--but she has a boyfriend and I don't trust that she would respect my wishes as Lily's dad and gramma do with changing her diaper in private. I'm happily single and don't forsee dating for a very long time (if I ever do). I'm content. I don't have the time for a man--and I don't want time for a man. When I'm not working, I just love being a mommy (funny how some mommy's don't understand that). But...

Thursday the 6th, a guy asked me out. I never wear make up (cuz I don't have time to put it on!) and I never "do" my hair--just dry it and walk out the door. Plus, I have all the extra baggage from pregnancy. So, I'm not pretty here, ya know? lol So, this guy asks me out. I'm flattered. Even though I didn't feel like going out; even though I'm not looking for a relationship, I reluctantly agreed. The last time I did something for *me* was 4 months ago, so I felt I needed to have some adult time. Met him at 7pm and my "curfew" was 11pm to get my daughter from grammas. The last hour of our date, he tried to rape me. Then gets mad at me when I finally get him off of me. (Yeah, guess it was my fault since I was flirting with him earlier. Eyeroll). Unbelievable. The one guy I figured I'd "give it another try with" tries to rape me. If my mind wasn't set on hating men before that lovely little date--it sure in the heck is now. It will take a long time for trust.
post #4 of 103
I don't think there is anything wrong with making sure your daughter is only cared for/seen unclothes by people you trust. I don't think there is anything wrong with only leaving her in the care of people you trust while she is an infant, toddler, young child.

But you are going to do her a great disservice if you never let her get to know men other than her father until she is in high school.
post #5 of 103
When your "protection" limits her ability to form normal relationship and develop, you are "over" protecting her.

I am sorry for your problems. But making your child the focus of all your fear is not the answer, and will not serve her in good stead in her life.

Personally, I would classify what you are doing as being a form of abuse.
post #6 of 103
Thread Starter 
She will have male exposure--but she will not ever be allowed to be alone with a man (or any male person, regardless of age) other than her dad. I saw a commercial the other day of a grandpa and little girl in the girl's room all alone having a tea party. I cringed. She'll know men...but won't ever be alone w/any of them (until she's waaay older).

Quote:
Personally, I would classify what you are doing as being a form of abuse.
Wow. I don't think what "I am doing" (meaning "now") could be classified as that. I don't think sheltering her from men in the long run would be abusive either...

What about girls who go to all-girl schools? Are they being "abused" as well? What's the difference between girls going to an all-girl's school and mine going to a public/regular school and only having female teachers? She'd have contact with male peers her age where as girls in a private school would not have any exposure to male's. Just curious.
post #7 of 103
I'm sorry for what happened to you. But I don't see how she will ever to learn to 'fight someone off' if she's never been exposed to men. I don't think overprotective is what you are, it sounds more like you're unable in your pain to distinguish between the many men who would never hurt a girl/woman and the few who would.

You will never be able to make up for the protection you didn't have. I'm so sorry you didn't get the protection you deserved...
post #8 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
There's an on-going joke that I'm going to raise Lily to hate men. At this point, I see nothing wrong with that. I'm only half serious when I say that.
I don't think it's healthy for a child to be taught (directly or indirectly) to hate 1/2 the population, esp as a way for a parent to process and cope with their own trauma.

If I had been traumatized by a man of color, or by a blonde woman, or a by a dog, or whatever - it would not be appropriate to teach my daughter to generalize that all (for exampl) men of color, or all blonde women, etc. should be avoided. That would by MY pain, MY burden, MY distrust and fear. I want my daughter to inherit my strength. Not my past. Not my anger.

I have not been through the ordeals that you've experienced, and I can't know your pain and fear, but I'm concerned that the way you are raising your daughter is geared around quelling your fears and healing your pain - fears and pain that she doesn't have - and may never need to carry.

You asked for opinions, and I'm not meaning to be disrespectful, but what you wrote is worrisome to me.
post #9 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
She will have male exposure--but she will not ever be allowed to be alone with a man (or any male person, regardless of age) other than her dad. I saw a commercial the other day of a grandpa and little girl in the girl's room all alone having a tea party. I cringed. She'll know men...but won't ever be alone w/any of them (until she's waaay older).



Wow. I don't think what "I am doing" (meaning "now") could be classified as that. I don't think sheltering her from men in the long run would be abusive either...

What about girls who go to all-girl schools? Are they being "abused" as well? What's the difference between girls going to an all-girl's school and mine going to a public/regular school and only having female teachers? She'd have contact with male peers her age where as girls in a private school would not have any exposure to male's. Just curious.
They do have exposure. Often teachers are male. They have relatives. They aren't there every day of their lives.

And it is abuse. You are limiting the person she is because of your own fear of men. You are living out your fear through your daughter. That is the very soul of abuse.

When you teach a child that all men/women/a group are to be feared, when you create and encourage an atmosphere of terror in a child's life you are not protecting them. If you teach your child that all men are bad, all men are to be distrusted, that all male touch is sexualized and disgusting, you are NOT teaching something that is FOR her. It is a warped and terrorizing World that you are not only teaching her, but planning on instilling throughout her life. That isn't protection.

Teaching her her own body. Teaching her to be confident in herself. Teaching her that she is ALLOWED to insist on her own limits. That she can TRUST the people around her - and if she CANNOT trust the people around her that is a legitimate issue for you to address. She should not be around people she cannot trust.

If to you that mens all men ever, you are again taking it too far into the realm of teaching her to be afraid and terrorized by her World.

That is not fair. It is not right. It isn't even CORRECT. Essentially, you are planning on teaching and having her live a lie to fullfill your own demons. I challenge you to rise above it, and instead of perpetuating the cycle of abuse change it.
post #10 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by PikkuMyy View Post
But you are going to do her a great disservice if you never let her get to know men other than her father until she is in high school.
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Demeter9 View Post
When your "protection" limits her ability to form normal relationship and develop, you are "over" protecting her.

I am sorry for your problems. But making your child the focus of all your fear is not the answer, and will not serve her in good stead in her life.

Personally, I would classify what you are doing as being a form of abuse.
:

Quote:
Originally Posted by kamilla626 View Post
I don't think it's healthy for a child to be taught (directly or indirectly) to hate 1/2 the population, esp as a way for a parent to process and cope with their own trauma.
:

Honestly I am very "protective" of my dd. I didn't leave her even with her daddy until she was 18 months (she was nursing and not ready to be away from me) I didn't leave her with anyone other than dh until she was about 2.5. I don't feel the need for baby sitters. Etc.

BUT - the fear of half the population is wrong. Sorry. It is a HUGE dis-service.

If grandpa makes you uncomfortable - BY ALL MEANS- *LISTEN* to that voice. Please don't misunderstand.

But you're making a huge deal where there should not be. She's a baby. Will she be allowed to run naked in the backyard in the sprinkler? She will miss out on a great deal with your mis-guided rules.

to you for what you've been through and wanting to protect your child. BUT you need some therapy so that you can allow your daughter to grow up in a healthy manner.

-Angela
post #11 of 103
Yeah, I'd say you're going overboard. Men might be the majority perpetrators when it comes to sexual abuse, but anyone of any gender has the capability to abuse in a multitude of other areas - physical, verbal, emotional. In fact, I had several cruel and manipulative teachers over the years - all female. The best, most gifted grade school teacher I ever had, who could work magic with rowdy 6th graders, who taught us chess and German, was a man.

Not letting your child alone with ANYONE you don't trust is always acceptable, regardless of gender. Not letting someone of a particular gender TEACH your child in a school setting, however, strikes me as, well, crazy.

It really sounds like you are terrified of men, which given your past abuse, is understandable. However, passing down that terror, not allowing your daughter to rely on her own trust and instincts, only serves to make her an easier victim in the future, and may make it difficult for her to form functional relationships with men as an adult. When they are very small, of course it's your job to protect them - but as they grow you should be giving them the tools to function socially. That includes affirming that their body is theirs and no one, but no one has the right to touch them if they do not want it, that they can always leave a situation that does not feel right to them, Stranger danger, all that jazz.

For now, your boundaries are fine. She is a baby, helpless and vulnerable. She will not always be such though, and as she changes and grows, so must you. I urge you to seek therapy before your fear of men snowballs to the point where you won't let her go to her school dances, out on dates, or even be close friends with a boy.
post #12 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by MayBaby2007 View Post
I saw a commercial the other day of a grandpa and little girl in the girl's room all alone having a tea party. I cringed. She'll know men...but won't ever be alone w/any of them (until she's waaay older).
This makes me so sad... : Do you really find it scary or irresponsible for a little girl to have a tea party with her grandpa?

My dad is often alone with my dd. I would trust him with her life (or mine)

-Angela
post #13 of 103
Wow! I'm sorry you have endured so much trauma in your life. I do have to say that in this case, since you asked, there is definitely "overprotection" going on. You are sending a message to your daughter that only one male in her life is worthy of trust when really that is not true. I think the psychological ramifications are going to be dangerous for her. Also, the message you are sending to the people in her life is that they are not to be trusted "just because they have a penis". And also that the women watching her are under intense pressure to be distrusting of other males on your say so.
Probably your step-grandfather is aware of your past trauma and can understand why you are skittish but what about her step-brothers? What do they know about you other than you think they are not "good enough" to be around your daughter alone because they have the "wrong" genitalia? Are they supposed to run from the room when she is able to walk to get away from her? Do they know there is nothing wrong with them, that it is not their fault?
I guess I just don't understand how this is helping you or your daughter.
post #14 of 103
Thread Starter 
This is all great. I need food for thought. Keep in mind, that all of this is basically hypothetical, other than her not being alone with a male as of now. She is just a baby right now. I have a few years to work in therapy and figure out what is best. Not trying to tee anyone off. Getting feedback from all of you is great.

As I told my counselor, I'm not going to talk bad about men and litterally make her hate them. It will "just so happen" that she hasn't had a male teacher. It will "just so happen" that she's not alone with a man other than her dad. I'm not going to drill into her that men are evil. I will silently protect her. (If I still feel this way when she's older. I have years to process all of this in counseling. Right now, this is the way I feel).

Quote:
Will she be allowed to run naked in the backyard in the sprinkler?
Absolutely not.

(Yes, I'm a bit nutty here. I upset my gramma real bad a couple months ago. After grandpa was talked to about not putting Lily on his crotch, as soon as gramma left the room, he did it right in front of me. When gramma came back in the room, he moved her to an appropriate spot. I didn't say anything. I told gramma later that I would not and could not leave Lily if grandpa was in the house. She said, "But I'll watch him". Nope. Unless I can watch with my own eyes, I will not leave her in that house if he is there. Gramma is my number one fan. I had her in tears because she said it was like I wasn't trusting her. I didn't care--I didn't want my DD around that man if mama wasn't there. But, a few days later a rule was set by gramma that "grandpa cannot hold Lily unless mama is home". I was comfy with that. That rule has since been slowly erased. It bothers me, knowing that he's holding her (though always in eye sight of gramma--he is NOT to be alone with her, seriously--not even for a minute) and I can't watch him. Like I said, my gramma is my number one fan. I would die for her. I love her. But, when it comes to my DD and being around men....apparently, I don't care who I offend. I'm dealing. I'm trying to deal. Don't be mad at me here. I'm in counseling. I realize I have issues and I'm slowly dealing. It's just not gonna be a quick fix; an overnight healing session. It will be years. Opinions from all of you are great though. Thank you.)
post #15 of 103
Another sex abuse survivor here who is kind of nutty about that kind of stuff. My children are never forced to hug or kiss anyone...us, grandparents, etc. They know that they can offer a handshake, and they do. It's been hard when a great grandparent takes that offered hand and pulls them in for a hug and kiss. We have to set the boundaries so that our children know how to set boundaries. So, we take the child away from the tugging sweet old person and they don't get that stolen cuddle It's our child's choice, not thiers.

I also make a point to listen to my children and treat them with respect so that they know that they can come to me with any issues and that I will trust and believe them.

I homeschool, so I don't have to worry about male teachers, but I'm ok with male coaches. My child can't be alone with them or go anywhere with them, but they can have males in thier lives. Once, we were in a bicycle club and my son would disappear into the bike cabin to put his helmet and bike up. It really upset me and I'd go in there. I realized that I have to put some trust him the people who are around him and just keep an eye out. I was the only mother running into the cabin to make sure that her son wasn't being molested by a coach. So, yeah, I'm paranoid, but fighting it. I want my son to have independance and someday he'll be a man. I don't want him thinking that I think men are bad. 99 percent of men are not molesters, it's just that 99 percent of molesters are men Ok, not exact statistics, but you know what I mean.

It does get better as your child gets older, but it'll always be there. You'll have nice people visit who always have candy in their pocket, but you won't like it. You'll wonder if they're grooming your child. Then there's the grandparents trying to steal affection, other people trying to discipline your child, etc. Lots of things you'll have to deal with because your looking at these things through different eyes than 75 percent of the population.

Lisa
post #16 of 103
:

You are doing your child no services here. Are you currently in therapy?

Whether you realize it or not you are really setting her up for failure here in a lot of ways. It's not normal. It's not good. It's not healthy.

Please get some help. For her sake and yours.

-Angela
post #17 of 103
How is this all going to honestly be feasible? I mean, what plans do you have in place to make this really work? I'm curious as to the ages of your step-sons and what phrases and wording you are using to tell them these special conditions with regard to the rules? And despite the fact that you do not plan on "talking bad" about men or making her hate them, how are you going to teach her to navigate relationships with males she may come into contact with? Or how will she learn healthy, appropriate respect and boundaries with regard to her body and well-being? I just don't understand the logistics.
post #18 of 103
Honestly, I can appreciate where you're coming from, but I believe you are extreme to say the least. What a lonely place you must be in right now, to see danger everywhere and believe that only you can protect her. I'm so sorry for that. Whether it be blatant or not, you are passing your issues on to your daughter.

I am still recovering from some of my mom's hypervigilant "overprotection".
post #19 of 103
Quote:
Originally Posted by gsd1amommy View Post
How is this all going to honestly be feasible? I mean, what plans do you have in place to make this really work? I'm curious as to the ages of your step-sons and what phrases and wording you are using to tell them these special conditions with regard to the rules? And despite the fact that you do not plan on "talking bad" about men or making her hate them, how are you going to teach her to navigate relationships with males she may come into contact with? Or how will she learn healthy, appropriate respect and boundaries with regard to her body and well-being? I just don't understand the logistics.
:

Are you planning to send her to school? What if she has a male *substitute* teacher?

What if she is hospitalized and has a male doctor?

There are so many what ifs in life. To go to such extremes to keep her from half of the population is really not in her best interest.

-Angela
post #20 of 103
Please take this as gently as it is intended.

I am SO sorry that you were victimized. You were taken advantage of. That was wrong. Someone in a position of power, abused their power and used that in a way that harmed you. The experience damaged your ability to have further appropriate relationships. There is no excuse for that. You are a strong woman to move past it.

That said- you are using your power over your child to control her in the same kind of way. Your control and rules are not appropriate. Growing up in this manner WILL damage your child's ability to have appropriate relationships. It is abuse also. You have the best intentions, but the results are the same.

Please consider this.

-Angela
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