Let’s begin by saying that control is a necessary part of parenting. What is one of the first things that parents do in preparation or shortly after the child is born? They childproof the home! That is a necessary form of control; parents control they child’s environment to keep the child safe. Doors are locked, stairs are blocked and so on. So I think it’s safe to say that control is a necessary part of parenting.
Now… we come to what it means to control. We can establish that control is a good and necessary part of parenting however the push back is that it is possible to be too controlling.
When we as parents prevent our children from experiencing failure, learning how to problem solve, or developing autonomy we are controlling our children too much. We do this under the idea that we are helping and protecting our children. Typically this works for a while let’s say until they are in their late teens; many times until they are off to college. Then the real world hits. They experience hardships, trials, and struggles. Their college classes are harder then anticipated. They are not able to manage themselves or their schedules. They begin to hang out with people that we don’t like or do things that we don’t approve of.
What’s the real issue? It’s that we have failed to invite our children into adulthood. We have not helped them to make adult decisions or even how to begin to act like an adult. This means that in the long run it is much worse to try to maintain a high level of control than to appropriately relinquish some control and invite our children into the adult world.