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Parents are unarguably the most important influence in a child’s life, especially while growing up. Unfortunately, some parents misuse the opportunity to negatively influence their children. They become too controlling and obsessive, thereby denying their children the chance to express themselves.
In this piece, we will be looking at the signs of controlling parents and how to handle them.
What is the meaning of controlled parenting?
Controlled parenting is a form of childcare where the parents have the utmost control over every aspect of their children’s lives. Therefore, it would be difficult for their kids to make decisions as they grow because their parents are at the forefront of every choice about to be made, both critical and non-critical.
Also, controlling parents rarely see eye to eye with their children because they don’t trust their decisions, and they don’t give them a chance to prove themselves. You can break free from controlling parents when you are assertive about your decisions and the level of influence they can have in your life.
One of the signs of controlling parents is making decisions for their children. It gets worse to the point where if the child is alone, they won’t think or decide for themselves. As a result, a child with controlling parents might find it difficult to make good decisions for themselves.
2. Loss of confidence/low self-esteem
The loss of confidence is one of the psychological effects of controlling parents. The child will discover that nothing boosts their morale because they have not been thinking for themselves.
Furthermore, they will have nothing to point to due to their critical thinking because their parents outsourced it.
3. Inability to take responsibility
To answer the question, “Are my parents controlling?”
You can tell if you are able to take responsibility or own up for your actions. Both directly and indirectly, controlling parents have taken responsibility for their children. Hence, it would be difficult for their children to stand up for themselves in their absence.
Another way to know when the controlling parenting style has affected you is when you always need someone to guide you. You will notice that it is challenging for you to do things without the supervision of someone.
It doesn’t mean that you’re incapable; it only suggests that you’ve been used to doing things under the watchful eyes of your parents.
What are the types of parental control?
Parental control can be a good thing if it is done moderately. However, some parents go overboard with this control which damages their children in one way or the other. Here are the types of controlling behavior in parents.
● Psychological control
This type of parental control involves interfering in their child’s psychological and emotional growth and development. Controlling parents ignore their child’s needs in these aspects, as they try to manipulate and steer their child’s experience in their preferred way.
They use vices like guilt-tripping, show of disappointment, love withdrawal, etc. This is because controlling parents want their children to derive their emotional and psychological development from them.
Muhammad Zubair writes about Psychologically Controlling Parenting and its impacts on children in his research study. He talked about how parenting plays a pivotal role in shaping the psychological world of the children.
● Behavioral control
Parents who exercise behavioral control like to control their child’s behavior. They observe and monitor their activities and their interactions with other people. Usually, parents with this type of control want their children to adopt the family’s way of life.
Hence, the child lacks the freedom to develop the right behaviors and learn from others.
12 clear signs of controlling parents
There are various parenting styles that parents use to bring up their children. Sometimes, they could be too controlling or demanding, and it affects their upbringing.
Here are some of the signs of controlling parents and how it adversely affects children.
One of the primary features of control is interference. When you notice that a parent interferes in their children’s choice of friendship, sports, school tasks, and participation in other activities, controlling parenting is at play.
If they always want to influence all their child’s decisions and manage every aspect of their life, it is one of the signs of controlling parenting.
2. Preventing their children from being independent
As children grow, the need for independence sets in, and they feel less inclined to depend on their parents for almost everything. However, some parents do not get the memo! Irrespective of the child’s age, the parents will oppose almost everything the child does. This would make the child depend on them for every decision they want to make.
One of the signs of controlling parents is setting high standards for their children. The primary pitfall that comes with this is that they do not put the right structure to help their children achieve that.
More so, they would rarely consider their child’s age and abilities in meeting up with that standard. Naturally, their children would be under pressure to perform exceptionally well and impress their parents.
4. Showing love based on conditions
The act of conditional love is one of the signs of controlling parents in adulthood. When the parents see that you live according to their standards, they become happy with you and shower love and affection.
On the other hand, if their children do not meet their standards and requirements, they withhold their love until the children make adjustments. This is a form of manipulation that controlling parents show because they know that their children will always look forward to their compliments, love, and care.
5. Manipulation with gifts
One of the signs of controlling parents is the use of gifts to manage and dictate their children’s behaviors.
For instance, they can offer to give you some money if you behave in a certain way for some weeks. Also, they can increase the child’s access to video games and other pastime resources if they can obey their command.
6. Firm rules
When looking out for the signs of controlling parents, one of the features to observe is how they set firm and rigid rules. Controlling parents put these rules to guide the child’s actions, behaviors and mannerisms.
Unfortunately, some of these rules are usually too tough to keep up with, and the child could falter. When this happens, the parents withdraw their love until the child gets back on track.
Apart from withdrawing love, controlling parents can punish their children for not meeting up to their expectations. They can deny them some pleasant privileges and ground them for a long time. Such actions will make the child withdraw into his shell and develop low self-esteem.
8. No respect for their children’s individuality
One of the clear signs of controlling parents is their approach to their children’s individuality. They deny their children the privilege of expressing their beliefs, style, thoughts, emotions, and viewpoints.
These parents believe that their children know little or nothing about navigating life. So, they will impose their preferred personality display on the child.
9. Forcing the child to behave like a parent
Controlling parents seem to forget that children need time to grow into the best version of themselves before handling adult responsibilities.
Some parents saddle their children with big responsibilities beyond their scope of reasoning and judgment. And when they don’t do them well, they complain and feel disappointed, not knowing that the standards they set were unrealistic and attainable.
The signs of controlling parents cannot be exhausted without mentioning their inability to show kindness. Controlling parents can be too disciplined to a fault, and it clouds their judgment to realize that their children deserve kindness.
The primary way a child can learn kindness is when they receive it from home. Then, they can learn to extend this kindness to their peers.
11. Lack of respect for their private space
Many controlling parents do not regard their children’s private space, and they encroach on it without questioning or permission.
These parents try to make sensible decisions for their children, which is not always the right move. They do it under the guise of protecting them, but they intend to dictate for them.
12. Deciding their network of friends and acquaintances
One of the signs of controlling parents that should not be left out is their desire to decide the people that their children hang out with. While this is important, some parents go overboard with it.
Some of these parents go as far as matchmaking their children with potential lovers, friends, and acquaintances.
Why is controlling parenting bad?
Controlling parenting is wrong to train a child because it creates a sense of dependency and insufficiency.
Children brought up with this type of parenting find it hard to create their individuality. They will try so hard to walk in their parents’ shadows, and it can become more challenging.
How does a controlling parent affect children?
Children under the controlling parenting style cannot make simple decisions without involving their parents.
Some of them also turn out to be pretenders. Whenever their parents are present, they cooperate, but in their absence, they do otherwise. For some of these children, they grow up having low self-esteem. Some of them also have relationship issues because of their inability to manage their union.
Dealing with controlling parents can be challenging, especially when you’ve been under their control for a long time. However, you can change the tides and make the decisions for yourself without anybody’s interference.
Here are some ways on how to deal with controlling parents
1. Acknowledge the problem
You need to recognize controlling behaviors before thinking of strategies on how to break free from controlling parents. However, when you observe the signs of controlling parents, and you accept there’s a problem, it can inform whatever decision you make moving forward in your relationship with them.
2. Set boundaries
It is important to set boundaries to preserve your emotional and mental wellbeing. With these boundaries, your parents will realize that you’re standing up for yourself and owning up to your personality.
A support system is a group of individuals who understand what you’re facing and are willing to help you find a lasting solution. While you try to handle your controlling parents, this support system will encourage and motivate you to keep your boundaries in place.
Another way to handle controlling parents is to reduce the amount of information you tell them. Since they are keen on knowing what is going on in your life, it would be best to hoard information to reduce their interference. You don’t have to lie to them. All you need to do is filter every information before you tell them anything.
5. Implement healthy communication skills
When you’re trying to prevent your parents from controlling you, it could result in poor communication skills like shouting at each other, cussing, etc. To avoid this, ensure you acknowledge them with respect and communicate with utmost politeness and firmness. Let them know you are in charge of your life but do it with reverence.
To learn more tips on how to handle controlling parents, check out Dan Neuharth’s book titled: If You Had Controlling Parents. This book teaches you how to make peace with your past intimate relationships with controlling parents, and how to reshape your future.
If you’ve been asking questions like why are my parents so controlling, this is an eye-opening piece for you. After checking the signs of controlling parents in this article, you will be able to tell if you’ve been experiencing this parenting style or not.
After identifying if you have controlling parents, the good part is that you can handle them the right way without causing conflicts.
Here are some tips on how to make your parents happy:
The Marriage.com Editorial Team is a group of experienced relationship writers, experts, and mental health professionals. We provide practical and research-backed advice on relationships. Our content is thoroughly reviewed by experts Read more to ensure that we offer high-quality and reliable relationship advice. Read less
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