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The Damaging Effects of Controlled Parenting on Children: A Comprehensive Guide

Controlled Parenting: A Closer Look at Its Effects on Children and the Different

Types of Parental Control

As parents, we all want what’s best for our kids. As such, we strive to give them the best upbringing possible.

However, it can be easy to slip into the trap of controlled parenting, where we micromanage our children’s lives in an effort to shield them from any harm. But what is controlled parenting exactly, and what are its effects on our little ones?

Definition of Controlled Parenting

Controlled parenting refers to an approach to childcare where parents tightly regulate every aspect of their children’s lives. This includes everything from what they eat and wear to who they associate with and what they watch on TV.

The rationale behind this approach to parenting is that by controlling every aspect of their child’s environment, parents can protect them from harm and ensure they grow up to be responsible and successful adults. However, the effects of controlling parenting on children are not always positive.

In fact, it can often have the opposite effect, leading to indecisiveness, low self-esteem, and a lack of independence.

Effects of Controlled Parenting on Kids

One of the most significant effects of controlled parenting is that it can make kids indecisive. When parents make every decision for their children, they don’t learn how to make choices for themselves.

As a result, they become reliant on their parents to choose for them, leading to a lack of confidence in their ability to make decisions independently. Another common effect of controlled parenting is that it can lower a child’s self-esteem.

When parents micromanage everything their child does, they are essentially telling their child that they can’t handle things on their own, which can make them feel inadequate and incapable. This can have long-term effects on a child, leading to a lack of self-esteem, confidence, and assertiveness in later life.

Finally, controlled parenting can also lead to a lack of responsibility in children. When parents do everything for their children, they don’t learn how to take responsibility for their actions.

Consequently, they may struggle in adulthood when it comes to dealing with difficult situations, making mistakes, or accepting consequences.

Types of Parental Control

Two main types of parental control exist: psychological control and behavioral control. Each type has its unique characteristics and effects on children.

Psychological control refers to parents who interfere with and manipulate their child’s thoughts, feelings, and emotions. This type of parental control is often associated with emotional growth issues, particularly in kids.

Because parents who use psychological control often make their children feel guilty, ashamed, or bad for expressing their feelings, children often learn to suppress their emotions, leading to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. On the other hand, behavioral control refers to parents who regulate their child’s actions, such as monitoring their behavior, controlling their activities, and instilling family values.

While this type of control often results in well-behaved children, it can also lead to a lack of freedom and choice. When children’s actions are continually monitored, they may become overly anxious or afraid of making mistakes, leading to an inability to take risks and try new things.


Controlled parenting can have a significant impact on children’s lives. While parents may have good intentions, the effects of controlling every aspect of a child’s life can be damaging and long-lasting.

Instead, parents should aim to strike a balance between keeping their children safe and allowing them the space to explore and learn independently. By doing so, they can support their child’s emotional growth, promote self-esteem and confidence, and encourage responsibility and independence.

Signs of Controlling Parents: What to Watch Out For

As parents, we love our children and want the best for them. However, sometimes we may go overboard in ensuring their safety and well-being that it turns into controlling behavior.

This type of parenting can negatively affect our children’s development and require attention. It’s essential to recognize the signs of controlling parents before it’s too late.

Interference in Children’s Choices

The most apparent sign of controlling parents is interference in their children’s choices. It can range from what they wear, who they hang out with, and what they do.

Parents who micromanage their children’s lives often inhibit their growth and development. By not letting them make their decisions, they deprive them of the opportunity to learn, explore and develop independence.

Preventing Independence

Controlling parents and their lack of trust in their children’s ability to make decisions often results in preventing independence. Children who do not have the opportunity to develop their decision-making skills and explore the world around them may become reliant on their parents, hindering their independence.

Setting Unreasonable Standards

Some controlling parents set high standards for their children, which may be unrealistic. It can lead to increasing pressure on the child, leading them to feel like they are never doing enough.

When parents set high standards, they may fail to see or appreciate the successes their children achieve. This disappointment can lead to a lack of confidence and a sense of inadequacy.

Conditional Love

Conditional love refers to a love that is based on a child’s ability to meet certain standards or expectations. For example, a child may feel that their parents only love them if they get good grades or behave in certain ways.

This type of love can be damaging to a child’s self-esteem and may lead to a sense of manipulation.

Manipulation with Gifts

Some controlling parents may manipulate their children by using gifts as rewards for obedience. By doing so, they control their children’s behavior, leading to a lack of autonomy and independence.

This can ultimately lead to children lacking the courage to express themselves and follow their dreams.

Firm Rules

Firm rules are necessary in any household, but rigid and inflexible rules could be a sign of controlling parents. When rules are not open to discussion, and disciplinary action is readily available, children may feel like their freedom is restricted, resulting in them suppressing their creativity and spontaneity.

Severe Punishments

Severe punishments are a clear sign of controlling parenting. Denying children their privileges, grounding, or threatening solely based on their behaviour can cause self-esteem damage and lead to an increase of anger and rebellion.

Lack of Respect for Individuality

Children who are forced to conform to their parents’ wishes may struggle to develop and express their personality. This can lead to low self-esteem, a lack of confidence, and ultimately hinder their overall development.

Forcing Adult Responsibilities

Controlling parents may force adult responsibilities onto their children before they are ready. Examples may include cleaning the house, cooking for the family, or taking care of younger siblings.

These unrealistic expectations can be detrimental to a child’s development and create feelings of resentment and disappointment.

Lack of Kindness

Discipline is essential in any household; however, the lack of kindness is a clear sign of controlling parenting. When parents fail to provide the emotional support children need, it can lead to feelings of insecurity and have long-term negative effects on their mental health.

Infringement of Private Space

The infringement of private space is another sign of controlling parenting. It can include not giving children the freedom to make choices about their personal hygiene, wardrobe, or schoolwork.

When parents make these choices for their children, it can lead to dissatisfaction and a sense of hopelessness.

Deciding Network of Friends

Matchmaking your child’s network of friends based on their preferences may seem like an innocent action, but parents should be cautious when choosing acquaintances for their children. The control over this personal life will eventually cause resentment and a lack of social skills that can hurt essential and healthy relationships in the future.

Consequences of Controlled Parenting

Dependency and Insufficiency

Dependency and insufficiency occur as controlling parents have denied their children the freedom to develop autonomy and independence. When children grow up without developing these skills, they may struggle in their adult lives, causing setbacks in their personal and professional growth.

Low Self-Esteem

Controlled parenting can lead to low self-esteem. When parents fail to appreciate their children’s accomplishments and consistently criticize their efforts, children may come to feel a lack of worth and value.

Over time, this negativity can lead to a lack of confidence and self-esteem.

Poor Decision-Making Skills

Poor decision-making skills are a result of preventing independence. When children do not have the opportunity to solve problems on their own, they may struggle in their decision-making skills.

This can have long-term consequences for their future professional success and development.

Disrespectful Behaviour

When parents control their children’s lives, they may lead to conflicts of personality and a sense of rebellion towards authority in the future. This type of behavior can lead to delinquency and other negative consequences, further damaging a child’s development.


Controlled parenting practices are often based on well-meaning intentions where parents want the best for their children. However, the effects of controlled parenting can lead to negative long-term consequences for children, including dependency, low self-esteem, poor decision-making capabilities, and a lack of respect for authority.

Parents should aim for a balance of protecting their children while giving them the space to develop autonomy and independence. By recognizing the signs of controlling parenting, parents can actively work towards providing their children with the tools they need to grow and develop into successful adults.

Handling Controlling Parents: Steps to Take

Growing up with controlling parents can have lasting implications, affecting individuals’ mental and emotional wellbeing, their future relationships with others and their ability to make life choices independently. However, the good news is that with some effort and clear communication, it is possible to handle controlling parents in a healthy way.

Here are some steps to take.

Acknowledging the Problem

Acknowledging the problem is the first step towards handling controlling parents effectively. Many children or even adults, who had controlling parents while young, might have a hard time recognizing parental over-control as a problem.

Recognizing if your parents’ behavior is unhealthy and taking accountability through awareness is the beginning of a healing process.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is a crucial step in handling controlling parents. It is essential to communicate with parents and set boundaries.

Engage in an open conversation clearly stating your needs and make sure to establish boundaries in a polite but firm manner. By being assertive, you ensure that your parents understand that you are not accepting a controlling approach and that you are taking charge of your life.

Finding a Support System

It can be emotionally challenging to deal with controlling parents, especially when you do not have anyone to turn to for advice or help. It is important to find a support system.

This could be other family members or friends who understand what you are going through or a professional therapist who can offer guidance on how to handle the situation. The encouragement and motivation from this support system can help offload the distress that comes with managing controlling parents.

Reducing Information Sharing

Setting boundaries and managing what information you share with your parents is another way to handle their over-controlling behavior when it becomes toxic. The less they know, the less control they have over your life.

You can hoard some information when necessary, filter out others, and ensure your privacy.

Implementing Healthy Communication Skills

Implementing healthy communication skills is key in managing controlling parents. It is important to communicate with your parents with respect, politeness, and firmness.

For instance, it’s important to calmly and respectfully tell your parents your thoughts rather than whining out of frustration. Healthy communication helps stand a chance to more successfully handle controlling parents.


In conclusion, it can be difficult to handle controlling parents adequately, particularly for young individuals struggling to gain independence. But recognizing the problem and taking action to set boundaries, find a support system, reduce information sharing, and communicating with respect, politeness, and firmness are successful means of dealing with over-controlling parents.

By doing so, individuals will be able to achieve independent growth and thrive, even under the weight of a restricting environment. In conclusion, this article sheds light on controlled parenting and how it can negatively impact children’s development.

The signs and consequences of this parenting approach are clearly outlined, from a lack of independence to low self-esteem and poor decision-making skills. However, the article also presents helpful ways to manage controlling parents, such as acknowledging the problem, setting boundaries, finding a support system, reducing information sharing, and implementing healthy communication skills.

By recognizing the signs and taking action, individuals can break free from the negative effects of controlling parenting and achieve independent growth. It is essential to understand and address the significance of controlled parenting consciously to help foster a healthy parent-child relationship in which both parties can thrive.

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