A lot of parenting involves managing the lives of others and making sure things get done. There are a lot of expectations about what should happen and when. You may also have expectations about what your child should be like or how your child should behave and think. Sometimes this gets in the way of loving and LIKING your child just as he or she is.
Do you sense you need to control everything? The need to control often grows when we become parents. There’s a big difference though between managing activities of daily living and trying to control everyone and everything.
Here are 6 good reasons to let go of some of that need to control:
- Overthinking and over-planning lead to anxiety and stress. Letting things happen and being a part of the process reduces a lot of that tension.
- Letting go of control isn’t the same as “loosing control,” as a parent. You can’t control everything, and doing so takes away opportunities for your child to build her own skills by finding out how to do things or by learning from the consequences of her behaviors. Kids learn from experiencing good outcomes and not-so-good outcomes of their actions. Have some faith in your child. Let them try for themselves.
- Leave room for surprises and spontaneity. If you over-plan and micro-manage everything, you don’t leave room for the joy of surprise.
- When you try to control something or someone, you are actually being controlled yourself by that person or thing. Your own feelings and sense of self are tied to the thing you’re trying to control. So, who (or what) is really in control??
- The need to control undermines your sense of trust in your child. It also diminishes your child’s sense of trust in himself and his confidence in you. Children feel comfortable and secure when they know they can turn to their parent if they need to. That is what secure attachment is – a secure base to return to when needed. A child’s sense of trust and development are nurtured by knowing they are viewed as capable and trusted AND knowing there is a secure base to return to when needed. Your own sense of trust in your child grows when you open to your child’s capabilities, letting him try AND seeing how you are your child’s secure base.
- Control is based on fear – fear of what will happen if we don’t take charge. Try to understand your fear. If you don’t take charge of something, what might happen? Then ask yourself, is that really true? And even if it did happen, would it be so bad
Think about it. If you’re controlling a lot of stuff, your plate is probably very full. But, are you full?
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