5 formerly overprotective parents explain what made them change their ways.

Diana, a mother to a 2-year-old, worries about every. little. thing.

"Whenever I look, I see something online that makes me question how I'm raising my son," Diana told Upworthy. "Am I giving him too much screen time? Is he eating well enough? Is he hitting his development milestones? I feel like I'm losing my mind."

A recent study showed that over two-thirds of American parents describe themselves as overprotective. Sure, there are some big items that parents will worry about until the end of time, like kidnapping, bullies, terrorism, etc. But obsessing over the small stuff takes away from the joy of raising children.


"I know being mom should be fun," Diana said. "But the constant second-guessing of my parenting decisions make me miserable."

How do you know what really matters? We talked to the people who know best: parents of adult children.

Five veteran parents shared what they worried about as newbies and how they refocused to raise happy men and women.

1. Meg worried that her kids watched waaaay too much television.

Meg has three kids. Her oldest is an 18-year-old son. When he was much younger, the television was constantly on.

"I used the television as a babysitter," Meg admitted. "How else could I get stuff done when my little ones needed constant attention?"

Fast-forward to today, and her son hardly ever watches television because he's busy with his studies and sports practices.

"It really wasn't much of a big deal after all," she said.

Meg spends a lot of time talking with her son, and their relationship is very strong because of it. Even if they look like siblings. Photo from Meg, used with permission.

What she says now: "We don't need to know everything as parents, but we need to know what our kids are thinking and how they make decisions. Doing so makes it easier to have the tough talks when they do things that aren't good for them. It's working so far."

2. Nina worried about how her daughter couldn't keep anything clean.

Nina has a tight relationship with her 22-year-old daughter Kiara, but it was extremely frustrating back in the day to see how messy her baby girl was.

"I put too much emphasis on Kiara maintaining a clean bedroom," Nina said. "Eventually, I realized that even though it didn't look great, it worked for her. There were bigger battles to fight."

Nina and her daughter share a very strong mother-daughter bond. Photo from Nina, used with permission.

What she says now: "The bottom line is we are all connected and we must take care of each other as human beings. As long as she works hard and cares about the well-being of others, I'll be happy."

3. Jana worried that she gave her daughter more responsibility than she could handle.

Jana's oldest daughter is 20, and she wanted to do everything in her power to make her independent at an early age by giving her a lot of responsibilities. The problem was she kept second-guessing herself.

"I kept thinking I was making her grow up too fast," Jana said. "My biggest fear was she would end up on a therapist's couch for the rest of her life due to me screwing her up so badly."

Jana's daughter truly understands the value of responsibility. Photo from Jana, used with permission.

What she says now: "We as parents worry that we're doing it wrong. But so far my daughter turned out all right."

4. Stephanie worried that she'd always need to be around to protect her daughter.

When Stephanie's daughter Molly was young, she felt overwhelmed trying to keep her safe.

"I was so concerned that she would hurt herself when I wasn't around," Stephanie said. "Living in California, I wondered what would happen if there was an earthquake and I couldn't get to her."

Eventually, she was able to step back and have peace with the fact that no matter how overprotective a parent is, bad stuff can happen.

Stephanie (left) used to worry about always being there to take care of Molly. Photo from Stephanie, used with permission.

What she says now: "I want my daughter to always think independently and be a leader. There is little value in popularity and fitting in. Being true to yourself is the most important thing."

5. Lester worried about the ridiculous outfits his kids liked to wear.

Lester and his wife, Sherry, have a son and daughter, and their kids' fashion sense was ... well, questionable when they were younger.

"I thought if their clothes didn't match or their hair was done properly, it was a reflection of me as a parent," Lester said. "Thankfully, I learned to let them embrace their own style without getting in their way."

As you can see, their fashion sense is on point now.

Lester's kids know they'll always have mom and dad's emotional support. Photo from Lester, used with permission.

What he says now: "We always let them know that they could come to us at any time and nothing would change our love. But they knew we weren't their friends, because they have plenty of those in their lives."

The next time you worry about your daughter skipping her nap or struggling with potty training, remember the big picture.

We can choose to add the small stuff to our mountainous pile of stress, or we can use the tips from these parents to remind ourselves that this too shall pass.

And when it does pass and our kids become adults, we'll miss every second of it.

Photo courtesy of Capital One
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Growing up in Virginia, Dominique Meeks Gombe idolized her family physician — a young Black woman who inspired Meeks Gombe to pursue her passion for chemistry.

While Meeks Gombe began her career working in an environmental chemistry lab, after observing multiple inefficient processes in and around the lab, she took the initiative to teach herself to code in order to automate and streamline those issues.

That sparked her love for coding and imminent career shift. Now a software engineer at Capital One, Meeks Gombe wants to be a similar role model to her childhood mentor and encourage girls to pursue any career they desire.

"I'm so passionate about technology because that's where the world is going," Meeks Gombe said. "All of today's problems will be solved using technology. So it's very important for me, as a Black woman, to be at the proverbial table with my unique perspective."

Since 2019, she and her fellow Capital One associates have partnered with the Capital One Coders program and Girls For A Change to teach coding fundamentals to middle school girls.

The nonprofit's mission is aimed at empowering Black girls in Central Virginia. The organization focuses on designing, leading, funding and implementing social change projects that tackle issues girls face in their own neighborhoods.

Girls For a Change is one of many local nonprofits that receive support from the Capital One Impact Initiative, which strives to close gaps in equity while helping people gain better access to economic and social opportunities. The initial $200 million, five-year national commitment aims to support growth in underserved communities as well as advance socioeconomic mobility.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


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