Many parents feel the need to control their children. Most parents feel this need to a greater or lesser extent. Some parents correct their children continuously, while others like to show their kids how ‘everything’s done’ (because the parent prefers their way to somebody else’s), in addition, there are many parents who could easily start a career as a minister, as they LOVE to preach ☺. There are many alternative ways of controlling children, I named just a few!
I honestly understand parents who behave like this. They want to protect their child; they feel the need to prevent them from being hurt, either physically or emotionally, wasting money. In short, they want to prevent their children from making unnecessary mistakes. I totally understand where they are coming from, because deep down, I want the same thing for my child! However, one may wonder if the mistakes your child makes are truly unnecessary, because your child will learn so many lessons from making their own mistakes! When you try to protect your child from making mistakes by controlling your child, you may not realise that control has a whole different side to it.
By control, you also send out important implicit messages, such as:
-I don’t believe that you can do it yourself, that’s why I do it for you.
-You can’t do it properly, that’s why I correct you.
-You can’t come up with your own solutions; therefore you need to do as I do.
Don’t underestimate the power of implicit messages; they can have a devastating effect on children!
Many people think that the alternative to control is to let go completely, and leave the other person to their fate. Indeed, that is the other end of the spectrum. I’m not enthusiastic about doing that either. Fortunately, there is a middle ground.
I am in favour of ‘letting go in a controlled manner’, both literally and figuratively.
In other words; make sure that you know what your child is doing (preferably without being noticed), but let them do things themselves as much as possible. Also, let them make their own mistakes, because they learn so much from making them!
Let your child ride their own bike if they are capable of doing so, but ride along with your own bike, in such a manner that you can always see what they are doing, and are able to intervene if necessary.
Let your child argue with their friends and be ready to invite them in to your welcoming arms when they want to cry on your shoulder.
Let your child spend their pocket money on cheap rubbish. Pocket money is meant to teach financial responsibility and they will definitely learn from their mistakes!
Let your child decide for themselves whether they have studied long enough for a test, even if you know they will fail it.
Let your child do those scary things on a climbing frame, but make sure you stand by your child in such a way that you’re able to catch them if they fall.
In all the situations mentioned, please be aware that when you welcome your child in to your arms after they have made stupid mistakes; stop yourself from giving tips or offering advice, unless your child specifically asks for it. Showing empathy for your child’s feelings (like sadness) is the only thing your child needs at the moment. It may seem useless to do this, but you will be astounded by the effect this has, please give it a try and see for yourself!
I encourage you to consider this; do you try to control your child? In what situations does this occur, and how do you try to control your child? Would you consider letting your child go in a controlled manner?
Children develop self-esteem if they are allowed to do things themselves, honestly!