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Influence Vs. Control in Parenting

by Eliza Martinez

Parents play a huge role in their children lives, from the early years until they get ready to leave the nest and strike out on their own. Children who grow up with involved parents tend to get better grades, have better social and communication skills and tend to be healthier adults, according to the Parental Rights website. Control and influence are two ways in which parents can take part in their child's lives. They differ, although they both require taking an active role in daily parenting.

Control

Yes, you want some sense of control over your child's behavior. That's not the same as being controlling. A controlling parent tries to manage every aspect of her child's life by ensuring everything is her way or no way, threatening, lecturing, making his decisions for him, doing chores for him because then you know it's done right and offering very little freedom, according to the website Empowering Parents. This type of parenting might get your child to clean his room or do his homework, but doesn't give your child the opportunity to learn to do it on his own.

Influence

Positively influencing your child helps him understand right from wrong and how to behave in a socially acceptable way, while also letting him get a hands-on approach to it. Your kids are watching everything you do from a young age. This gives you the built-in opportunity to influence their behavior. By watching you treat others with respect, taking responsibility for your own obligations and living a healthy life, your child learns appropriate ways to act. Keep in mind that influence can go both ways. A negative example is going to rub off on them too, but a positive influence reduces the chances that your child will engage in risky behavior, according to an article on the Psych Central website.

Disadvantages

Controlling your child's every move is exhausting and leaves him little room to make and learn from his mistakes. It might also make him feel as though you don't believe or trust that he can do something on his own. As children develop, it's natural for them to assert their independence, but a controlling parenting style can quash this, according to the Empowering Parents website. Influence, while valuable in a positive way, can have negative effects if you aren't doing it right. If you smoke, use illegal drugs, drink excessively, lack respect for others, drive too fast, yell at the smallest infraction, throw objects when you're angry or slam doors in the middle of an argument, you increase the chances of your child doing the same.

Making Changes

Plenty of parenting resources are available to help you learn how to change your parenting techniques. What they'll teach you is behavior modification techniques that help you act the way you want to. For example, you might learn to simply check your child's homework for him instead of standing at his shoulder the entire time, nitpicking his handwriting and spelling. If you want to provide a positive example to your child, you might learn to take a deep breath and use a respectful tone of voice even if you feel like screaming.

About the Author

Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.

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