What Are the Greatest Fears among Mothers?

What Are the Greatest Fears among Mothers?

Last update: 03 May, 2018

In this article we’ll point out of some of the greatest fears among mothers when it comes to raising their children. As moms, we naturally want the best for our little ones.

When caring for our children, some may see us as excessive or overprotective. But the truth is, we worry about our children and want to protect them from all harm and danger.

We want to care for them as long as possible. And even as they grow and gain independence, we want to be nearby and attentive to every movement.

What are the greatest fears among mothers?

1. When your child sleeps alone for the first time.

Mothers are known to watch their children even as they sleep. That’s why it’s so hard for us when our little ones sleep in their own room for the first time.

We imagine a million things that could go wrong. Even though they may only be 15 steps away, it seems like they’re on the other side of the world.

2. Fear that someone could hurt our children.

Parents often worry about their children coming into contact with someone who may hurt or abuse them.

That’s why we strive to educate our children… We give them the tools they need to recognize suspicious behavior and protect themselves.

3. Serious or terminal illness.

There are things we can’t control, and the thought of our children falling ill and suffering can be an overwhelming fear.

4. Fear of making mistakes.

Mothers make thousands of choices a day, and we have a natural tendency to question those decisions.

We constantly ask ourselves if we’re doing the right thing. Should I have said no? Am I being too strict? Too relaxed? Etc.

5. Fear of our children getting injured. 

From the time our children are born and even when they’re adults, we worry about their physical well-being. When they’re babies, we take special care to protect their fragile heads.

When they learn to walk or ride a bike, we do our best to prevent them from falling. When they go out driving for the first time on their own, we pray for their safety.

6. We wonder what would happen to our children if we weren’t here.

Who better to care for our children than their own parents? The thought of something happening to us is another underlying fear that all mothers experience.

What are the greatest fears among mothers?

7. Lack of self-esteem.

Many mothers worry about their children having a healthy self-esteem. We want our children to love themselves, to know their worth.

8. Fear that our children don’t become independent.

This is another one of the greatest fears among mothers, and we might be partly to blame.

Sometimes we raise our children in such a way that they become dependent, unable or unwilling to do things on their own.

9. Fear their dreams don’t come true.

We want to support our children and be by their side as they reach their goals. One of our greatest fears is to see them frustrated or let down.

10. We fear for our children’s happiness.

The thought of our children being unhappy is a source of anguish and anxiety. We want to see our children happy above all else. 

The fears we have regarding our children will always influence the way we raise them. And only we as mothers can really understand these fears.

So, how can we know when we’re going too far? How can we tell if our fears are having a negative effect on us or our children?

There is a condition called “Wendy Syndrome” that consists of the excessive overprotection of a mother towards her child.  It refers to a level of overprotection that causes problems for the child.

One of the luckiest things that can happen to you in life is to have a happy childhood

–Agatha Christie–

What is Wendy Syndrome

Do you remember the story of Peter Pan? Remember how Wendy constantly protected Peter from any threat? That’s what the name of this syndrome is based on.

This syndrome consists of an immense overprotection. In this case, the mother –who represents Wendy – forgets about herself.

There’s nothing wrong with caring for our children. But, if we’re too overprotective, we can do more harm than good when it comes to their future.

Psychologists affirm that Wendy Syndrome is more common among parents who suffered abandonment or lack of affection as children. 

These parents strive to keep their children from suffering the way they did.

Symptoms of Wendy Syndrome

1. Taking responsibility for all household tasks. They would never ask their children to wash dishes, clean, cook, take out the trash, etc…

2. Removing obstacles for their  children. These parents try to take over all of their children’s responsibilities. They keep their school work in order, clean their rooms, pick up their toys, etc.

3. They’re dominant and controlling. They always expect 100% obedience from their children.

4. People pleasing. These parents have a need to please others, even if this means sacrificing their own needs.

5. They sacrifice everything for their children. They’re willing to do anything for their children, even things their children could and should do for themselves.

6. Avoidance of conflict situations. Parents with Wendy Syndrome don’t like dealing with conflict and try to avoid it.

7. Caring excessively for their children. These parents are overcome by fear, which leads them to care for their children and protect them from even the smallest or most remote threat.

What are the greatest fears among mothers?

Being a protective mother doesn’t automatically mean you have Wendy Syndrome. All mothers have fears regarding their children, but it’s also important to give our children responsibilities and allow them to grow.

Children need the opportunity to make mistakes and learn from these experiences. That’s a healthy part of growing up.

May times we want to protect our children too much. But we need to recognize that we can’t always be there to get them out of every problem or defend them from every threat.

Rather, we need to give them the tools to do this for themselves. One day, our children will grow up and go off on their own. It’s our job to make sure they’re ready.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Bowlby, J. (1986). Vínculos afectivos: formación, desarrollo y pérdida. Madrid: Morata.
  • Bowlby, J. (1995). Teoría del apego. Lebovici, Weil-HalpernF.
  • Garrido-Rojas, L. (2006). Apego, emoción y regulación emocional. Implicaciones para la salud. Revista latinoamericana de psicología, 38(3), 493-507. https://www.redalyc.org/pdf/805/80538304.pdf
  • Marrone, M., Diamond, N., Juri, L., & Bleichmar, H. (2001). La teoría del apego: un enfoque actual. Madrid: Psimática.
  • Moneta, M. (2003). El Apego. Aspectos clínicos y psicobiológicos de la díada madre-hijo. Santiago: Cuatro Vientos.
  • Quadrio, C. (1982). The Peter Pan and Wendy syndrome: A marital dynamic. Australian & New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 16(2), 23-28. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.3109/00048678209161187
  • Tomás, A. (2013). The EU, between Peter Pan síndrome and Wendy dilemma. In Current social and legal challenges for a changing Europe (pp. 81-96).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.