Parenting: How to Succeed by Letting Go of Control
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
As a parent, you want what’s best for your children. Unfortunately, sometimes that desire can overtake every aspect of how you parent. That can lead to trying to control nearly everything in your children’s lives—even things you know are out of your control.
Then, you may start to hear words like “helicopter parent” or “overbearing.” Trying to control everything as a parent isn’t good for you. It’s overwhelming, exhausting, and often a constant source of stress.
It’s also not suitable for your children, and can frequently cause them to become stressed. They may even act out in defiance over some of your control.
So, what can you do to let go of control and be a better parent for it?
Remind Yourself Why You Want to Be in Control
Think about all of the reasons you’ve been comfortable with your control. You want to keep your children safe. You want to steer them down the right paths in life. And, as a parent, you’ve probably felt that no one can do that for your children better than you can.
Ultimately, though, a parent’s job is to raise their children to the point where those kids can go out on their own and be safe, make the right choices, etc. It’s your job to guide them, not control their every movement. You want to empower them rather than showing your power over them.
So, instead of gripping on so tightly to the things you want to control, try holding on loosely with faith that they won’t falter. Even if they do, you’ll still be there.
Learn That Your Child’s Failures Are Successes
Speaking of faltering, no one wants to see their children get hurt or feel disappointed. But it’s a part of life. Failures help you grow and eventually succeed. Some of the highest innovative minds in the world had enormous defeats before finding success.
When you try to control everything in your children’s lives and keep them from failure, you’re honestly keeping them from learning how to succeed.
Again, if they do fail, you can be there as a guide to show them what to do next. But, controlling the situation yourself will only make life harder for them as they get older.
Assume the Best, Not the Worst
You don’t necessarily have to have an optimistic attitude all of the time when it comes to how you parent your child. But, parents who tend to be more controlling often think about the worst possible situations for their children to experience.
When you actively try to assume the best about a situation instead of thinking the worst, your entire perspective changes. As a result, you can change how you respond to those situations. This approach helps you to loosen your grip.
Show Your Child the Importance of Healthy Relationships
You’re setting the foundation now for how your child will see relationships for the rest of their lives. So, if you try to do everything for them, they may be more likely to be dependent on their relationships. They might also struggle with insecurities or not have the confidence to do things on their own.
If you tend to lose your temper when you can’t have control, they’ll notice that, too. That can cause them to become equally-frustrated when things don’t go their way, which can affect their future relationships.
It’s hard to let go of control when you’re trying to do what’s best for your children. But, sometimes, loosening that grip and letting them find freedom in everyday successes and failures is the best thing you can do to encourage a happy, stable, resilient child.
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Jennifer Perera is a mom, spouse and Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has over a decade’s worth of experience in mental health. She has a private practice in New Jersey, with locations in Cranford and Princeton. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual, group and couples counseling. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with a pregnancy loss or infertility. Her other passion is travelling to different parts of the world and her goal is to vacation in a different locale every time. She also has a great fondness for cats!