All about the Controlling Parenting Style and how it affects children as they grow and learn.
Growing up with controlling parents is not an easy task. Having parents who control many parts of your life can leave a child feeling powerless and “less than”. This can lead to low self-esteem and low self-worth overtime.
Our health and well-being are dependent on a sense of autonomy and control. However, there has been a troubling decline in college students’ sense of power over the previous two decades.
They think that forces outside of themselves are in charge of their life. Having dominating moms or fathers is a common source of helplessness, at least in part.
Needless to say, having controlling parents is not a good thing. There are many different parenting styles that are a better option.
In my family, we use positive parenting or authoritative parenting. I learned all my positive parenting skills from a program called positive parenting solutions and it changed my life.
What Are Controlling Parents?
Controlled parenting is a parenting style in which one or both parents keep a tight eye on or retain control over their children’s activities. Authoritarian parenting refers to when parents place a great focus on discipline and strict obedience to rules and regulations.
Such parents may be careless with their children’s needs, and their actions may be damaging in general. While some parents may outgrow this habit as their children get older, others may try to manage their adult children.
Signs You May Have, Or May Be A Controlling Parent
Interfering with their child’s engagement in group activities, team sports, and school projects is one of the obvious symptoms of a controlling mother who is practicing parental psychological control according to Weena Cullins.
Being a part of every decision that a child makes and influencing which decisions they do make is another sign of interference and can get in the way of a healthy parent-child relationship according to Shefali Tsabary, Ph.D..
If you are a parent who does this to your child, please give your child some space. They need space to make mistakes so they can learn and grow from them.
Controlling parents withhold love on their children which is a form of manipulation, emotional blackmail and bullying as well. Remember to always hug your children, even their good grades are slipping and their decisions were not right.
We need to make sure we provide opportunities for all family members to learn from their mistakes and make their own decisions so that they can grow into better human beings.
Controlling them and not allowing them to make their own choices (which are fundamental skills) is only going to set them into the wrong direction and give them anxiety disorder at the end of the day.
Sometimes a controlling parent can look like someone who allows their young people to make a choice, but then criticizes that choice if it is not one they would have made themselves. It can be so scary to make good decisions when you have someone breathing down your neck about it.
This is even a form of bullying and violates healthy boundaries which then can cause long-term effects with romantic partners in young adults in my opinion.
Authoritarian parents hold high standards for their children, and controlling parents are constantly following up to see that the kids are following those high standards.
Many helicopter parents who have too much control act disappointed if the task was not perfect, or the decision was incorrect.
Use Harsh Punishment
Controlling parents often use harsh punishments when it comes to disciplining their kids which comes with it’s own set of mental health problems in a young person.
Withholding love is a form of manipulation but another form is gift giving. If giving a child a gift for making a certain decision that the parent prefers, then that is a form of bribery and manipulation which can have a negative impact on emotional development.
Remember that connection with kids is much stronger teacher than punishment.
Controlling Parenting’s Psychological Effects
Psychologists have discovered that various regulating variables can have varying effects on children, particularly teenagers.
Behavioural disorders have long been connected with a lack of behavioral control.These children act out more and have a worse ability to regulate disruptive behavior and have behavioral disorders which are some common negative effects of authoritarian parenting as well.
A moderate level of behavioral control and monitoring is beneficial to children. Enforcing limits and monitoring are linked to beneficial outcomes such as less acting out and improved academic achievement.
However, when the amount of control is excessive, the detrimental effects on child development, whether behavioral or psychological, can be long-lasting. Adolescents with high degrees of behavioral or psychological control believe they are inept and unimportant.
Parents that are overly controlling in their actions damage their children’s confidence in their skills. Excessive parental help during chores and interrupting a children’s problem-solving communicates a lack of confidence in the children’s abilities.
As a result, these children have low self-esteem from these types of parental control. They have weaker self-regulation, more acting out, and lower academic success.
Many psychologists think that psychological control is especially harmful to children. Internally controlling parents’ insidiously deceptive techniques might develop sentiments of excessive devotion to parents in order to comply with their power.
Compliance in these children is motivated by a desire to avoid feeling guilty or losing their parents’ affection, especially if they have an overbearing mother. As a result, they are resentful when their parents reject them.
This jumble of unclear and conflicted sentiments toward parents generates internal stress and emotional problems in children’s lives. Children with psychologically dominating parents are more likely to have low self-esteem as well as mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and antisocial behavior.
Externally dominating parents, on the other hand, have distinct effects on their children. Children mirror their behavior after that of their parents.
Children who are externally dominated typically observe their parents engaged in overtly hostile and domineering behaviors. They are more likely to engage in physical violence toward others.
What Can Be the Consequences of Controlling Parents?
Even if the adult is self-sufficient, the effects of having strict parents may remain or intensify as life presents them with new obstacles. This can lead to a variety of issues, including terrible romantic relationships, low self-esteem, and a low stress tolerance, to name a few. Some of the long-term consequences of having dominant parents are as follows:
- Taking part in high-risk activities
- Substance abuse has increased.
- Relationships that are unhealthy
- Low self-esteem and self-efficacy, as well as a low threshold for stress
- Poorly defined borders
- Struggles with mental illness
Another consequence of having controlling parents is the altering of family connections. For a variety of reasons, more emerging adults (ages 18-29) are remaining at home longer or returning home.
Adults who remain at home with overbearing parents may engage in antisocial or withdrawn behaviour to cope with their lack of freedom, which can have a negative influence on current and future relationships.
Parental Control Types
Parental control could be divided into two types: behavioral control and parents’ psychological control
Supervising and controlling children’s behavior is referred to as behavioral control. These parents punish their children’s behavior, keep track of their locations, and supervise their social life. Behavioural control is used to govern children’s actions so that they adhere to family or society norms.
Autonomy and regulation are both critical components of a children’s development. Autonomy enables a kid to establish an own identity apart from their parents. This individuation process is especially essential throughout adolescence when children are preparing for adult life.
Simultaneously, parents must offer enough structure for their children to learn to restrain disruptive behavior and engage in socially acceptable child’s behavior. Structure and behavioral direction are required to promote positive personality development.
To some extent, behavioral regulation is critical in a children’s healthy growth. Its goal is to monitor, teach, and control acceptable behavior.
When parents go too far and try to micromanage every element of their children’s behavior, they become controlling parents.
Invading children’s emotional and psychological development is referred to as psychological control. Controlling parents are emotionally and psychologically unresponsive to their children’s needs. They limit, invalidate, and distort the children’s psychological experiences. They also inhibit autonomous emotional expression.
Controlling parents use guilt, love withdrawal, disappointment, disapproval, and shame to manage their children’s feelings, thoughts, or ideas through the parent-child connection. Furthermore, parents aim to keep their children emotionally dependent on them.
Psychologically controlling parents are perceived as intrusive, overprotective, possessive, directive, and controlling via guilt by their children.
Methods of Control
Depending on the methods used by controlling parents, children may perceive parental control in a different ways. Here are two approaches to regulating the practice.
Subtle, nonverbal clues are frequently used to impose psychological control. These parents typically appeal to forces and regulations inside the kid, such as when they stimulate feelings of shame and guilt.
Most psychological control methods are internally regulating parenting techniques since the control is more internal, covert, and non-obvious.
Externally controlled parenting is done openly and overtly. The most frequent techniques used to compel children to use external contingencies include yelling, beating, punishing, and praising.
Internal control is not usually exercised by psychological control. Some parents engage in personal assaults or unpredictable emotional behavior toward their children, such as switching between caring and assaulting.
Reasons Why Parents Become Controlling
They can have some unrealistic expectations, which could lead to them being overbearing parents. Controlled parenting, regardless of its goal, has the potential to have negative outcomes. Parents may regulate their children’s conduct for a variety of reasons, including:
- Some parents may not want to sacrifice their ego or dominance or to treat their children equally when they have grown up. They may feel lonely and wish for their children to be there for them anytime they require assistance.
- Parents have strong feelings for their children’s life because they want them to have experiences that they did not have.
- Some parents may become overbearing because they don’t want their children to make mistakes in life. As a result, they become overly protective of their children.
- Another issue might be the fear of losing children. They may be afraid about growing up and losing contact with their children. They are attempting to retain control and guarantee that the youngster is always present in this situation.
How To Deal With Controlling Parents
I sympathise with you if you’re a youngster with overbearing parents.
Because they are fully reliant on their parents, it is difficult for children or teens to deal with controlling parenting on their own. Requesting family therapy at high school or an appointment with a therapist might help you get through this.
Negotiation is also used by some children as a more self-sufficient coping mechanism.
If you are or have been a controlling parent, seeking professional assistance for yourself is the best thing you can do for your child.
Having a domineering parent might make you feel mistreated as an adult. Regrettably, evidence indicates that controlling parental behavior is unlikely to alter with time.
Seek professional treatment as soon as possible if you are experiencing depressed or anxious symptoms. When looking for a therapist, seek someone who specializes in relationship therapy and dealing with domineering parents.
Signs Of Controlling Parents Bottom Line
Because they are entirely reliant on their parents, children and teens find it difficult to deal with restrictive parenting on their own.
Children often use one of two non-autonomous coping strategies: obsessive compliance or oppositional rebellion. Negotiation is a more independent way of coping for certain children.