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The Effects of Control Freak Parents

by Christina Schnell

Overcontrolling parents, sometimes referred to as control freak parents, attempt to manage every aspect of their child's life, from food and clothing, to activities and friends. According to Dr. J. Brien O'Callaghan of Balanced Parenting, overcontrolling parents are often perfectionists who use these same micro-managerial skills when raising their children. Even when warm and affectionate, overcontrolling parents care more about their child doing, what they perceive as, the correct thing, with little concern, for their child's individual needs or preferences.

Poor Understanding of Self

Children of over-controlling parents rely entirely on their parents' wishes and goals for direction, as a result, their own sense of direction and moderation can suffer. For example, if an over-controlling parent restricts food or forces a child to eat, the child could eventually have trouble determining when she's full or hungry, reports Eat Right Ontario. By the same token, if a child is always told what to wear, she may struggle to choose her own clothing without an over-controlling parent telling her what to choose.

Poor Self-Confidence

Children of over-controlling parents rarely have the opportunity to exercise personal choice and feel the validation of their decision. As a result, explains Dr. J. Brien O'Callaghan, children question and doubt every decision they make themselves, no matter how insignificant. Since they lack the self-confidence to take risks and make proactive decisions, children of over-controlling parents may find themselves constantly seeking the guidance of their parent. Children may also rebel against any attempt they see as seeking to control them.

Rigid Thinking

An overcontrolling parent raises their child to believe only correct solution exists to every scenario. The overcontrolling parent may take time to explain why their solution is best, until the child truly believes that all other options are flawed or inferior. Since such parents have similarly rigid solutions for every situation, the child may have difficulty thinking beyond this narrow thought process, reports Dr. J. Brien O'Callaghan.

Psychiatric Disorders

Many over-controlling parents are also very warm, and provide their child with all the necessary physical comforts. However, children whose parents are both neglectful and over-controlling are at serious risk for developing psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorders, reports a 2011 study published in the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry. Such parents failed to meet their child's basic needs, but still demanded complete and immediate obedience, leaving the child feeling powerless and incapable.

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