Parents Can Control Their Children, but Psychological Control Is Dangerous

There are few things that many individuals across different cultures and countries can agree on, but most parents can agree that parenting is, simply put: difficult. There is the urge for children to achieve their own independence while simultaneously attempting to protect them from certain aspects of life until a certain age. However, there is some evidence that one particular trait might be extremely important when it comes to raising a happier child.

In 2015, a University of London study concluded that parents who continue to exert psychological control over a child actually end up affecting their mental well-being down the road. It’s also important to note that psychological control is quite different from behavioral control.

Behavioral Control

The truth is that every parent SHOULD control their child’s behavior to some extent. Here are some obvious examples of behavioral control that many parents are familiar with:

  • Establishing a curfew to ensure the safety of your child, and the knowledge of his/her whereabouts.
  • Encouraging and expecting your children to meet academic deadlines.
  • Assigning household chores to your children.

Psychological Control

Psychological control is much different. It involves parents trying to influence children through emotions. For example, an example of psychological control is to suggest that a parent will no longer love their child if they act a certain way that isn’t harmful to themselves or anyone else. 

If a parent suggests that their children shouldn’t have their own opinions about various subjects, this can also be viewed as a form of psychological control. These clearly are parents that are intent on their children remaining dependent on them rather than hoping that they one day explore the world on their own terms.

The Right Boundaries

Parenting can be extremely difficult for many reasons. It might be uncomfortable to bring up certain topics, such as masturbation, pornography, and sex. It also involves making sure that your child is honest and develops friendships in a meaningful way. However, it’s important to recognize that you cannot control all aspects of your child, and shouldn’t want to.

There is no question that parents cannot simply let teenagers go out whenever they want, as this might lead to behavior that will derail their education. However, if you are a parent that is more concerned with telling your children what to do than ever listening to them; it will undoubtedly cause them stress and anxiety that can affect their overall sense of self.

Better Communication

Your children might rebel in their own way, but there’s a good chance that they also understand the role of a parent. You can explain to them why certain boundaries are in place, and that you truly do care about their safety. 

This will help them understand your concerns rather than feel as though you are trying to control the way that they think and act. You should also encourage independence at the right times, in increments, from an early age. One of the advantages of being able to communicate is that you can ensure that you and your child are on the same page.