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Overprotective Moms: The Fix-It Fixation

A lot of moms have this fixation. The fix-it fixation is the uncontrollable urge to eradicate your child's pain, whether it is real or created by your imagination. The need to fix something is brought on by that queasy feeling in the parental stomach when you sense your child's sadness, regardless of your child's age.

It drives moms to extremes that annoy the living daylights out of their kids. A mom may plan a party for a daughter who appears to be left out of a social group only to find out later that she declined an invitation to become part of the clique. Or, she may scour the city for a sweater she thinks will cheer up her daughter who had a fight with her boyfriend only to find that she already made up with him, hates the sweater, and is annoyed she told her mom about the disagreement in the first place.

One young woman who was the subject of one too many impromptu interrogations by her mom to determine if any distress lurked deep within her daughter's mind, screamed in self-defense: "Mother, I swear I am happy! Okay? Now leave me alone. Please."

Woman to Woman

Margaret Mead, noted anthropologist, wrote about her mother in a way that any fix-it mom could relate to. "I know that if I had written to her (mother) to say, 'Please go and wait for me on the corner of Thirteenth and Chestnut streets,' she would have stayed there until I came or she dropped from sheer fatigue."

Beyond the Realm of Normalcy

Most behavior associated with the fix-it fixation is within the range of normal, even if it does have the capacity to drive your daughter crazy. However, a mother may be reaching beyond the realm of normal if she…

  • Stays up nights plotting ways to make her daughter's life easier.
  • Feels compelled to solve her daughter's problems.
  • Makes it her goal to make sure that her daughter is always happy.
  • Continues to do things that her daughter can and wants to do for herself.
  • Needlessly worries about her daughter's welfare.

Exhibiting all five signs places a mom beyond the realm of a normal fix-it fixation. Anyone who recognizes she exhibits all of these identifying marks should consider seeking expert counseling.


Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Mothers and Daughters © 2001 by Rosanne Rosen. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

To order this book visit Amazon's web site or call 1-800-253-6476.

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