How to Stop Controlling Your Kids and Why You Do It

Note: I’m on vacation this week so I went into my archives to bring back a blog relevant to many of you right now as you prepare your kids for the return to school. Enjoy!

Our greatest desire as moms is for our children to feel safe, loved and happy. So what do we do? We worry. If there is any sign of pain or discontent in them, we want to take over the controls and make sure that they don’t hurt.

I do this. We all do this. However, what I’ve learned over the years is that my kids have to go through their processes. Just like us, they are here to have human experiences. And the best thing for me to do is to allow them room to expand and grow.

The problem with trying to give our kids this opportunity to learn about themselves is that we react instead of allow. Because of our innate desire to protect them, we get in the middle of things, believing that this is what a good momma does. But in our zest to “make things better,” we control them and shut down our children’s growth. When we take over, we send a message to them that says they are not capable of being trusted. And that they can’t handle things on their own.

Years ago a mom shared with me her woes about her teenaged son. He was trying to get his wings a bit, and it literally scared her to death. She felt the need to control because she didn’t trust him. Throughout our discussion, she continually expressed her fears about the possibility of him making bad decisions. But I knew she couldn’t control this. None of us can. Sometimes we like to think that we have that kind of power over our kids, but we don’t. So all we can do is trust. And that’s exactly what I pointed out to her. I said, “The real issue isn’t whether you trust your son. It’s whether you trust yourself enough to handle whatever comes.”

This mom looked at me a little funny and didn’t say much. It was a few months after our conversation that she said to me, “Terri, remember when you said it wasn’t about my son making good decisions, but about me not trusting myself? Well, you were right. I didn’t trust myself. But when I took a good look at this, I realized that I could handle whatever happens with him. It changed everything in our relationship. We are doing great now and he’s making wise decisions.”

Prior to the mom spending some time with herself, she focused on the problems with her son and her lack of trust in him. She became controlling and agitated. And, as a result, he resisted her. Because they were both in resistance, there was friction. But as soon as the mom’s awareness shifted to focus on herself and what she believed, she realized that her fears were unfounded. She knew she could trust herself, and thus, she released her resistance. And so did her son.

No matter what age your children are, if you are trying to control their lives and feel a lack of trust towards them, I invite you to ask yourself, “Why? What am I afraid will happen if I allow myself to let go?” The chances are you’ll discover your issues aren’t about your kids, but rather about trusting yourself. As you look within to find your truth, you’ll release the resistance inside of you. And before you know it, your kids will release their resistance, too.

Are you are controlling your kids, perhaps in ways you didn’t even realize, and you’re ready to stop? Share your story with us below!

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