6 Dangers of Being a Control Freak with Your Child

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Whether you can't stand the thought of your child making a mistake on his homework, or you fear your child won't make good decisions when you're looking over his shoulder, being a control freak can be a hard habit to break.

While it’s not healthy to be a pushover parent, there are being a control freak can be equally problematic. If you’re guilty of micromanaging your child's activities, consider these consequences that it can have on your child:

1. Your Child May Rebel

Children need a certain level of freedom. If you try to control every aspect of their lives, they’ll rebel. 

While children and teens need some guidance, trying to control every aspect of your child's life will backfire. At some point, he'll stop listening to you. He'll dismiss your opinions and do whatever he can to gain a little bit of freedom.

2. There Won’t be Natural Consequences

If you’re always trying to control everything your child does, he’ll miss out on an opportunity to learn from natural consequences. If it’s cold outside and you make your 14-year-old put on a jacket, he won’t learn what happens when he doesn’t wear one. If you always step to prevent an argument between children, they won’t learn how to resolve issues on their own.

Allow your children to face natural consequences when it’s safe to do so. But, that means you’ll have to tolerate watching your child make mistakes or do things that you wouldn’t do.

Giving up control can be difficult, when you're not used to letting go. 

3. Creativity Will be Discouraged

People who want everything to be under control send the message, “There’s only one right way to do this, and that’s my way.” Even though there are many ways to solve a single problem, if you’re a control freak, you’ll discourage any type of creativity.

Remind yourself that your child may have a different way to solve a problem, and it may not necessarily be wrong. Almost every problem has multiple solutions. Be willing to allow your child to explore, learn, and make repeated attempts to solve a problem before you jump in and tell him “how to do it right.”

4. Kids Pick Up on Anxiety

Most people behave like control freaks because they feel anxious when they feel as though they aren't in control. They think, “If I don’t keep everything under control, something bad will happen.” Kids are perceptive, however, and they’ll pick up on your anxiety quickly, even if it’s never spoken of out loud.

Sometimes anxiety can be contagious. Nervous parents have nervous kids. So it’s important to recognize how your anxiety may get in the way of healthy parenting. Instead of constantly thinking about all the bad things that could happen, work on giving your child the freedom to be a kid.

5. Kids Fear Mistakes

If you’re constantly monitoring your child’s every move, he’s likely going to fear making a mistake. And unfortunately, mistakes can be a great teaching tool and they can help kids learn how to deal with failure.

But if you’re reluctant to give up enough control that your child will be able to make a mistake, he’ll likely think that mistakes are bad and he may try to cover up any mistakes that he does make.

Teach your child that mistakes are okay. Also, talk about the importance of accepting responsibility for his behavior and show him that everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

6. Mental Health Problems may Increase

Finally, children who have controlling parents can be at a higher risk for certain mental health problems. Depression and anxiety can result when parents demand obedience and children don’t have the freedom to express themselves.

If you find yourself trying to control everything, ask yourself what’s more important—the mess that is going to be left by your child playing with glue, or his overall mental health?

Letting go sometimes and allowing your child the freedom to play can be good not just for him, but also for you. Take steps to raise a mentally strong child who is prepared to face life's challenges on his own.

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