Controlling Parents: What They Look Like and Why They Are Harmful
A sense of autonomy and control is critical for our health and well-being. 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 control their life. Having domineering parents is a common source of such powerlessness, at least in part.
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Parental Control Types
Parental control could be divided into two types: behavioural control and psychological control.
Supervising and controlling children’s behaviour is referred to as behavioural control. These parents punish their children’s behaviour, keep track of their locations, and supervise their social lives. 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 childrens 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 adulthood.
Simultaneously, parents must offer enough structure for their children to learn to restrain disruptive behaviour and engage in socially acceptable behaviour. Structure and behavioural direction are required to promote positive personality development.
When parents go too far and try to micromanage every element of their childrens behaviour, 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 variety of 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.
Internal control is not usually exercised by psychological control. Some parents engage in personal assaults or unpredictable emotional behaviour toward their children, such as switching between caring and assaulting.
Controlling Parents’ Signs
Whether or whether a parent is controlling is determined by a number of variables, including:
- control method (behavioural vs psychological)
- method of command (internally controlling vs externally controlling)
- control level (moderate vs high)
- the childrens disposition (does the child perceive them as controlling)
Despite the complexity, certain parenting techniques are regarded to be controlling “on aveanger.”
Here are some of the most typical characteristics of controlling parents:
- Obeyance and compliance are demanded.
- Allow children to engage in or challenge the decisions of their parents.
- Do not allow their child to make their own choices.
- Encourage neither choice nor independence.
- Every element of the childrens life should be dictated.
- Without being asked, “assist” the children.
- To discipline, use phrases like “because I said so.”
- Children, in my opinion, should be seen but not heard.
- Manipulate and abuse the parent–child relationship by inducing guilt or withdrawing affection.
- Punishment and compulsion are used to discipline.
- Use affective, negative phrases and critiques, such as disappointment and humiliation.
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 behavioural control. These children act out more and have a worse ability to regulate disruptive behaviour.
A moderate level of behavioural control and monitoring is beneficial to children. Enforcing limits and monitoring are linked to beneficial outcomes such as less acting out and improve (growth mindset)d academic achievement.
However, when the amount of control is excessive, the detrimental effects on children’s development, whether behavioural or psychological, can be long-lasting. Adolescents with high degrees of behavioural 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 childrens problem-solving communicates a lack of confidence in the childrens abilities. As a result, these children have low self-esteem. 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. As a result, they are resentful when their parents reject them. This jumble of unclear and conflicted sentiments toward parents generates internal stress. 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 behaviour.
Externally dominating parents, on the other hand, have distinct effects on their children. Children mirror their behaviour after that of their parents. Children who are externally dominated typically observe their parents engaged in overtly hostile and domineering behaviours. They are more likely to engage in physical violence toward others.
How To Deal With Controlling Parents
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.
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 behaviour 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.
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