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  • Writer's pictureAshley Peterson, LPC

Projection, Preference or Protection? by Shaquana Smith

Parenting is not alway easy and it’s not always fun…I’m a mom, I can say that. 

There is no written handbook on how to be a parent, we’re doing what we think is best based on our own experiences as children. However, we have to ask ourselves, are we projecting onto our children, choosing a parenting style based on preference or protecting our children? 

Is there a difference? 

Projection is placing our thoughts, emotions, and feelings onto our children based on our own traumatic or negative life experiences (e.g. you don’t need friends…this world is cold…etc) Wouldn’t this be preparing our children for the real world? Teaching our children that even friends can turn their back on you and that life isn’t always easy can’t be a bad thing right? With projection comes protection because now our children are pessimistic and anxious and when something terrible happens their responses will be, ‘That’s life…I knew this would happen…’ They’ll be numb to pain and disappointment.  If you were raised in a strict, authoritarian household and  felt like you had no freedom, no sense of self, no problem-solving skills and were in constant fear of punishment, you would choose to raise your children in a permissive household; your parenting preference would be protecting your children from the things you experienced. 

That was sarcasm 🙂

I’m not here to tell you how to be a parent. I don’t expect you to know the ins-and-outs of mental health and how we unintentionally scar our children. I’m here to show you that parenting is complicated and to encourage you to prioritize your own mental and emotional health so that there is confidence in your parenting preference. 

Next steps

Talk to a professional. Having an unbiased perspective and a safe space to talk about life and parenting is the first step. As a parent, I know it’s hard to find time to address your own needs but I also learned that if I’m well, my children are well. How can you support your children’s mental and emotional health without ensuring your own? As a person, I know that sometimes we’re not ready to talk about the pain. As a therapist, I will meet you where you are on this journey.

Shaquana Smith, QMHP

I am currently accepting new clients and look forward to working with you!

Link below to book your intake appointment


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