Control Does Not Build Relationships

31 May

{This post is part of a recurring series of thoughts about control and children.}

Image via Andre Bulber

If we persist in basing too much of our relationship with our children on our desire to control, we will most certainly lose touch with them as they strive to develop their own sense of independence. We may then spend too much of our valuable time trying to constantly re-establish control and waste opportunities to become more positively engaged in their lives in an actual way. This is a lot to lose because we cannot get this time back. Our kids want guidance; they need structure and deeply appreciate connection, but they do not want control. There is a distinct difference. Our willingness to help them with their issues is what they want, they just don’t always want us to do it for them. By attempting to control their lives, they truly believe that we are limiting their opportunities. This may not alway be the case, but is the way they see it- hence why their instinctive reaction of resistance and rejection generally follows. From a child’s perspective, what we often see as meaningless experiences can mean a great deal to them and are not easily released without a fight. This fight has no winners.

Control through intimidation, fear, and authority does not last long in any meaningful and loving relationship at any level. Unfortunately it exists in some aspect or another in most relationships, until it stops working. In some cases, we even continue to try when control is no longer working and end up creating more unnecessary tension and possibly separation.

Many parents will cling to the illusion that control is an essential component of their relationship as the parent of their children, but they are wrong. It is not essential. It is often a critical aspect of the relationship that can be put into balance and weighed against the true safety and genuine concerns of both parties. Although it is almost completely the parents responsibility, once we find that ‘balance’ a beautiful and extremely dynamic begins to grow and remains part of the relationship forever.

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