The Overcontrolling Parent
Control........Morning, Noon, and Night!
There are parents who believe that their children are not individuals but actually extensions of them. They believe that children are not thinking beings but are blank slates that they can control and dictate to. They adhere to the mantra that children should be seen but never heard.
Yes, you may think that such parents are rare in the modern era and are relics from a more traditional era. Oh no, there are MANY parents today that could be classified as overcontrolling. These parents literally believe that they should be in charge 24/7/365 and 100% of the rearing of their children.
Scratch an overcontrolling parent and you see that the parent can be quite authoritarian. These parents believe that their word is etched in stone and their commands should never be questioned nor deviated from. These parents believe that their children are not blossoming individuals but are objects to mold in according to their wishes.
The overcontrolling parents do not believe that their children are knowledgeable to make any type of decision. They contend that it is better if an adult such as they make the decisions. They further assert that as parents, they have more knowledge and the wherewithal to make all the decisions. They maintain that children should stay in a child's place.
To the overcontrolling parent, a child is clearly unequal and/or subordinate to them. These are the parents who believe in interfacing condescendingly to their children and/or anyone younger than they are. However, these are the same parents who steadfastly demand that their children respect and obey them even though they never treat their children respectively and/or with dignity.
The overcontrolling parent is the one who emphasizes unquestioning obedience to them and/or other authority figures. This is the type of parent who actively discourages a child's independent thought because this would be an act of disobedience and utter defiance. This parents want obedient children because they can be easily controlled. Furthermore, obedient children can be easily manipulated to the will of the overcontrolling parent.
Children of overcontrolling parents are usually held on a tight leash. They are raised in strict dichotomies of their parents' way and everyone's way. They are strictly indoctrinated that their parents' ways are the only correct ones and that everyone else's opinions are suspect. These are the parents who demand that their children adhere to the same lifestyle that they do whether it be religious, political, racial, and/or socioeconomic.
Overcontrolling parents often act in the way they do because they believe that as parents that they should be in the dominant, decision making role. They take seriously the business of parenting. They maintained that their children should be guided as to the correct methodology of doing this and they are the ones to do it.
I remember an overcontrolling father of a teenage daughter who still made all of the decisions for her. It was the father's belief that his daughter was STILL a child and deemed not capable of making major decisions. The father added that it was his responsibility to mold his daughter into the woman she should become. The father did not think of his daughter as a burgeoning adult but as a helpless child "needing" his expertise.
A second example of overcontrolled parenting is one of my coworkers who had an adult son, gave him detailed instructions as what and how many interviews he should go on. Besides that, she further dictated to him what jobs he should considered and/or take. She added that after each interview, he must detail how each interview was. This woman was so overcontrolling that her friend, a prominent local politician, told her to let her son be an independent adult instead of a dependent, infantilized child who was incapable of making any type of decision.
Overcontrolling parents contend that their children are not to be trusted if left to their own devices. They exercise control over as many aspects of their children's lives as possible to ascertain that the latter are as proper and well-trained as possible. The idea that children should be allowed to be childlike and explore their environment is a total anathema to the overcontrolling parent. They believe that children are by nature wild and uncivilized thus it is their parental duty to cultivate and civilize them to their expectations.
The average overcontrolling parent wholeheartedly believes that their children should make as few mistakes as possible. The underlying premise of many overcontrolling parents is to have perfect little angels who comply with their every wish and command. These are the parents who assert that if their children obey and comply with them, life would be much easier and less stressful. In other words to the overcontrolling parent, his/her children are mere automatons with no mind nor will of their own.
I know of a father who indicated that children do not have an independent thought of their own until they reach 18 years of age. Of course, I thought the father to be quite illogical and preposterous regarding this premise. This father further elaborated that children are not to express any individual opinion until they reach adulthood. He contended that persons under the age of 18 years of age were total nonentities to be molded at will.
Overcontrolling parents naturally contend that THEY know what is best for their children. They assert that their children should follow their teachings unquestioningly. These type of parent feel the most comfortable with a compliant, submissive child who they can easily dominate. A child who is more independent and assertive by nature threatens the sense of autonomy the overcontrolling parent.
Overcontrolling parents stress the paramount importance of blind obedience. They feel that it is quite an affront on their parental authority if they are questioned in any way. They consider children who are of a more independent, questioning, and assertive nature to be "disobedient" and "defiant". These parents subscribe to the paradigm that the proper thing for children to do is to submit to, obey, and never question them ever!
Of course, the overcontrolling parent discourages any type of independent thought that deviates from the family consensus. To this parent, the family is one unit with the parents as the commander while the children are the crew. A child's individuality is viewed as quite deviant by the overcontrolling parent who believes that the family unit should have one groupthink consensus.
The overcontrolling parent usually has one philosophy and believe that his/her child should do the same. He/she is the type of parent who selects his/her children's schools, friends, and activities. He/she wants to have an orderly universe and cohesion and his/her control guarantees it. He/she further purports that if children were allowed to choose their schools, friends, and activities, it could be quite chaotic and haphazard as they do not have the capacity to know what they are doing.
Adolescence and young adulthood does not lessen the rein of the overcontrolling parent. In fact, the overcontrolling parent becomes even more controlling during his/her child's adolescent and young adult period often with quite perilous results. This especially applies if his/her child is of a more independent, adventurous, and assertive nature.
Overcontrolling parents often express dismay and surprise regarding how "difficult" their adolescent and young adult children have become. These parents lament that their children were not what they once were. They have an unrealistic precept that their children are to forever remain submissive and compliant to their authority. What they do not realize that once their children reach adolescence and young adulthood, the latter is asserting the right to be autonomous individuals in their own right.
Many overcontrolling parents are threatened by the fact that their adolescent and young adult children refuse to be controlled as they are no longer children. Their children's adolescent and young adult period is the most daunting period for the overcontrolling parent to face. This is because these parents adamantly insist on asserting their old parenting role instead of realizing that their parenting role must change because their children are becoming adults with their own wishes and dreams.
There are well documented instances of overcontrolling parents who choose their children's colleges, tell them what subjects to major in, and what career they should have. These parents assert that they are doing this to make their children's lives easier and to protect from the pitfalls of having an uncertain future. In other words, these parents wish that their children have as unfettered lives as possible with their help of course.
Overcontrolling parents are actually doing more harm than good to children. Children of overcontrolling parents become risk aversive and overly dependent. They also have poor self-esteem and decision making skills. They become quite anxious and fearful regarding life circumstances. They have poor judgement because they did not develop their decision making skills at a critical point in their lives. They are furthermore unassertive and extremely submissive which causes other stronger people to take advantage of them.
However, there are many children who become quite defiant and rebellious because they had overcontrolling parents. Being constantly reined in by excessive parental authority makes some children quite antiauthoritarian and antiestablishmentarian to say the least. Many children of overcontrolling parents cut off all ties and associations with their parents once they become adults.
In conclusion, overcontrolling parents do not see their children as individuals in their own rights. Instead, these parents view their children as blank automotons to mold to their likeness. The average overcontrolling parent view their children as appendages and subordinates.
Many overcontrolling parents are authoritarian in nature. They believe that the purpose of their children is to unquestioningly obey and comply with their authority. They want children who they can control because it is "easier". They feel threatened by any child who exhibits an independent and assertive nature, considering him/her "disrespectful" , "defiant", and "disobedient". The motto of the average overcontrolling parent is that children should stay in their place and not to make waves so to speak.
The period of their children's adolescence and young adulthood is usually a crux to the overcontrolling parent because the latter want to continue the old parental paradigm instead of changing this paradigm as their children are becoming adults with their own wishes and desires. Children, who have overcontrolling parents, are harmed in various ways. They have poor or none decision making skills. They are often insecure and possess low self-esteem. They are also overly dependent on any type of authority figure, good and/or bad.
However, there are some children who rebel against their overcontrolling parents. These children end up to be quite antiauthoritarian in their outlook. Many children of overcontrolling parents refuse to have anything to do with their parents once they reach adulthood as their child-parent relationship was totally toxic. What overcontrolling parents need to realize is that children are individuals with their own ideas, dreams, and desires who cannot be controlled. In other words, your children are NOT extensions of you but soul inspired entities in their own right!
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© 2012 Grace Marguerite Williams