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.

Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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The mission is personal for Talarico, as he nearly died three years ago when he was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

He shared his story on Twitter:

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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