Control is a major problem in today’s families. Control creates battles between parent and child and causes an immeasurable breakdown in family communication. If we are to be successful in our families, we need to find a compromise with control.
Control is so commonplace we often do not recognize when it is being used on us, nor are we able to stop ourselves when we inflict control upon others. Control comes in a variety of forms some of which include manipulation, domination and exploitation. Whatever you want to call it, when you take away someone’s rights or freedoms, you are using control.
As an adult, how do you feel when a boss or someone in authority denies you something you know is right for you? How does it make you feel? That is exactly what you are doing to your child. Here is a simple example:
Emily and her mom fight about hair every morning before school. Emily wants to wear her long hair down and loose, not tied up in a ponytail. Emily loves the feeling of her hair flowing behind her as she runs at recess. Emily’s mother likes Emily’s hair combed back tightly in a ponytail. Emily’s mom struggles watching Emily leave for school with that ‘wild hair.’ So every morning, like clockwork, there is an argument and Emily finally gives in. Mom has won this battle and feels a satisfaction of sorts, but is refusing to see what she is doing to her daughter. Emily is young, but as she gets older somehow, someway Emily will rebel against her mom’s control of her freedoms.
“When the behavior your child is exhibiting is rebellion, there is too much control in your home.”
So how do you control control? Listen to your child. When your children say ‘no’ to you, don’t get irritated with their disobedience, figure out why. There is nothing as desolate as thinking the person you are closest to does not understand you or is not trying to hear what you are saying.
As your children get older, you will realize that it is not control you wanted from your children. What you need from your children is for them to learn the skills of self-control. Ironically, learning these skills comes from practicing freedom of choice. Children want and appreciate limits. They need them, but do it together. Parents, listen to your child. Have faith and patience with them. Love them. Respect them. Control creates resentment and bitterness. Don’t be the parent that is negative and fearful, causing frustration. By controlling control, you will save yourself and your child so much pain.