Raising Kids When You Are a Control Freak
Raising kids is hard, even on the best days, but being a control freak can make it even harder. Having control over your kids is important because you don't want them running around like little maniacs doing whatever they want. However, taking control of each and every detail isn't a good idea either. If you are a controlling parent, it can have a negative effect on your children. Taking action to rein in your controlling nature will have benefits for both of you.
Control Freak Symptoms
You're a control freak parent if you say, "should" and "shouldn't" to your child when you direct his behaviors, according to Empowering Parents, a website that gives advice to parents on child behavioral issues 2. If you want life to be your way all the time and aren't willing to discuss alternatives, use a lecturing tone of voice when you speak to your child, do things for your child because:
- you feel as though you do a better job
- use bribes to get him to do what you want him to do
- give him little freedom to make his own decisions
- Empowering Parents describes you as a control freak (https://www.empoweringparents.com/article/control-freak-vs-pushover-parenting-why-neither-works/ 'inline-reference::Empowering Parents: Control Freak vs
Pushover Parenting: Why Neither Works'). Constantly barking orders and taking over your child's activities like that has negative effects on his emotions and behavior.
Effects on Children
Yes, being a control freak might get tasks done the way you like them, but your behavior isn't healthy for your kids. Your rigidness can make your child feel as though he never measures up and never does a good enough job to please you. In addition, your child might be defensive and engage in power struggles with you as he tries to assert his independence, according to Empowering Parents. You'll likely find yourself arguing with your child often and he might make poor choices just to gain a little control over his own life. Backing off is an important way to help your child make some of his own decisions and learn from them.
When your child grows up and moves out on his own, he might be reluctant to share his life with you for fear you'll try to micromanage what college courses he takes, how often he cleans his apartment and what job he gets. This can lead to an estranged relationship that won't leave either of you feeling good. In addition, a study conducted at the University of Glasgow and reported in the "Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry" reports that children of control freaks are more likely to have mental health issues in their teenage years 1. These issues, which include:
- obsessive-compulsive disorder
- behavioral problems
- can continue into adulthood
It is difficult to yield control when you are a controlling parent, but doing so can improve your relationship with your child and make you feel better about how you treat him. Decide on a clear set of rules and consequences for breaking them, suggests Empowering Parents. This gives your child the power to control his own behavior or he has to live with the punishment. Let your child make his own decisions so he can learn from the consequences. For example, if he doesn't finish his homework, he doesn't get to meet friends for ice cream after dinner. He'll learn that he needs to get his homework done without you harping on him.
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