Where Does "Control" Figure in Your Parenting Style?

January 01, 2010
Cee Kay

When I first became a parent, I thought I could control all aspects of bringing up my child. Her environment, her influences, her choices, likes and dislikes. Well, I knew I couldn't control her choices, likes and dislikes completely, but I sure hoped I could help shape them. Only thing is - I didn't think of this as "controlling behavior". I sincerely thought of it as "perfect parenting".

11 years down the line, I know one thing. There is no such thing as a "perfect parent". I have worked hard at keeping an open communication channel with my older daughter (the younger one is too young to "communicate") and through various conversations with her I have realized that, maybe, I went overboard in certain things. Things that, when I reconsider my approach, I could have held back on and gotten approximately the same results. In other words, I should have been more picky about choosing my (parenting) battles.

Good thing is - I realized it at all. Given that I have an ego the size of a mammoth, it hasn't been an easy task to realize and accept that I am not *gasp* The Perfect Parent!! I see parents around me who have gone through YEARS of parenting without realizing that the amount of control they want to exert on their kids' lives is not healthy. It is unhealthy for their relationship with their kids and it is probably unhealthy for their kids' self-esteem. Extreme control will, most probably, either make the kids complete pushovers or rebels. It will disrupt their ability to develop a balanced personality. There are very few who have, and will, overcome that kind of influence and go on to develop all-rounded, wholesome personalities.

I understand the need to control your child's environment, influences etc. when he/she is little. But I am a great believer of gradually letting go as the children grow older. My intolerance towards extreme parental control also arises from witnessing, firsthand, how some people try to control even their grown up, adult children. It is difficult to let go when you are not mentally prepared for it. I have seen what kind of bitterness that introduces in the relationship between the parents and children.

So, how much control is acceptable in your opinion?

I am an optimist. And an opportunist. Thats why I believe "When life gives you lemons - make lemonade. Then sell the lemonade and make air freshner from the peels. Sell that too!"
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Where Does "Control" Figure in Your Parenting Style?


Author: Cee Kay


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