Ask Dr Sarah: Help! My Parents Are Way Too Overprotective

"I wanna tell them but I feel bad about it and they probably won’t listen either..."


Do you have a personal problem that you need help with? is here to help, with Dr Sarah, a clinical child psychologist specialising in adolescent issues.

“Dear KISS,

My parents are way too overprotective and it’s a bit embarrassing. I wanna tell them but I feel bad about it they probably won’t listen either, and I don’t want to make drama. If I am going anywhere my sister has to come too. I am going in to secondary and am worried they won’t let me out….and they are also nosy! Please help!


Dr Sarah says: 

From your parents’ perspective, they’re probably focussed on keeping you safe rather than trying to ruin your fun. Some parents are just naturally more protective than others and it wouldn’t be unusual to keep close tabs on your children while they’re still in primary school. But part of growing up is being gradually allowed to safely take on responsibility for your own life and they need to start allowing you to do this. While they might annoy you a bit at the moment, you obviously have a lot of love and respect for them or you wouldn’t be asking for advice!

Getting more independence and freedom doesn’t have to be a big drama, but you will need to be patient and earn their trust over time rather than expecting a big change overnight. Maybe start really small, like asking if you can go out on your own with your friends for an hour during the day. Tell them exactly where you will be and even come home a few minutes before the hour. Ask to do this a few times before asking if you can go for 2 hours, but every time stick to your word and keep your phone on in case they want to call you. If they won’t agree to an hour, ask them what they will agree to and work from that. Always be prepared to negotiate and compromise.

It’s about gradually building up their confidence and making them feel that you are someone who is responsible and can be trusted to look after yourself. The nosiness is pretty normal too but maybe think of it more as concern on their part. If you stay open and truthful, and they feel that they can trust you, they won’t need to ask as many questions. Best of luck in secondary school!


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