Blog Posts 1–5, based on the United States of America Department of the Army Field Manual: Holistic Healing and Fitness, describe what really matters for your child’s sleep. If sleep is an important enough topic for national defense than surely sleep should be considered a serious topic for parenting!
A 2022 study of about 200 parents of children at age 4 years assessed parents’ overprotective behaviors that remove children from exposure to potentially harmful experiences. That is, they evaluated parents’ excessive concern for the safety and protection of their child based on their responses to a questionnaire. Parents answered questions on a 5-point scale ranging from 0 (not at all) to 4 (very much).
“I protect my child from criticism.”
“I try to protect my child from making mistakes.”
“Paternal overprotective behaviors had a particularly strong effect on problems sleeping in children. Mothers are typically thought of as caregivers and protectors of their children. In contrast, fathers’ assumed role is to open children to new experiences, encourage risk taking and independence behaviors. Hence, paternal overprotective behaviours, compared to maternal overprotection, may have a greater influence on child sleep. Our findings highlight the need to consider the role of fathers in the development of [sleep in] children.”
For mothers and fathers, overprotection was associated with impaired sleep in their children, even when controlled for parental anxiety. This association was stronger for fathers compared to mothers!