Overcontrolling parenting has been stereotyped by specific ethnic cultures and religious groups, making it acceptable to have an overbearing mother if you are from these backgrounds. Your mom was also probably raised by such controlling parents. Therefore, she will model her parents’ controlling behavior by being overcontrolling to her kids.
Growing up, I remember having to comply with my mom’s demands and expectations of me, with very few opportunities to ask questions or make any suggestions. Well…I thought that was our way of life, and I would be a naughty kid if I didn’t conform.
So I waited for the first opportunity to liberate myself from my parents rightfully. Be it college, a job, or marriage, it had to be the possible farthest from home, and boy! It was a long wait. Freedom finally came at 25, but I didn’t need it that badly then. Mom was no longer that much into my business.
So, Why is My Mom So Controlling?
It’s okay for a parent to exercise a certain amount of control in their children’s lives, mainly because they are the source of guidance, security, and primary providers to their kids. However, the parent becomes overbearing when they dominate every aspect of their child’s life, which is unhealthy regardless of their culture or religion. Moms, like every other human, are not perfect. It means they may fail to recognize that you are now a grown-up needing some autonomy and continue hovering around you, becoming a helicopter mom. Factors that contribute to moms sustaining overbearing control even after the kids have outgrown their childhood include:
She was raised by controlling parents.
An overcontrolling mom may be reflecting her parents’ behavior through the parenting style she adopts. Your mom may have experienced a very restricted childhood under her controlling parents. Thus, she displaces her earlier frustration by exerting too much control and power over you.
She wants to keep you safe from any possible harm.
Fear of the unknown can make moms anxious about their children’s welfare. Therefore, they will want to monitor and control their children, hoping to keep them safe every time. This results in an overprotective and overbearing parent when she cannot tell apart when to give the child some independence and control.
Forcing their unlived expectations on their kids.
Parents may have missed several opportunities and goals that they had aimed to achieve in their lives. Every parent hopes their child will experience the best things life offers. Unfortunately, a mom may view the best experiences for their child as those she missed in her life. Therefore, when your mom controls the kind of friends or chooses a career path for you, she hopes you will live the life she never lived. This will unconsciously turn her into a controlling mom as she puts too many expectations on you.
Desire to maintain their status quo as the dominant figure.
Parents usually have no specific timeline for their children to become complete grown-ups with independent lives. Some moms will always view their offspring as children incapable of making critical decisions. They become reluctant to let go of their dominance over their kids even after childhood, expecting them to always abide by their wishes and demands. I have heard moms repeatedly use this phrase, “…but I know what is best for my child,” to justify their lingering dominance over their children. In most cases, these children are adolescents and adults capable of making independent decisions. Therefore, moms become controlling because they fear losing their little girl or boy.
How Will Controlling Parenting Affect You?
Helicopter moms are usually driven to an authoritarian parenting style due to their genuine concern and strong desire for their kid’s welfare and optimal achievement. However, their zeal pushes them to be overly controlling. Children will develop two main ways of dealing with an overbearing mother : openly rebelling or obsessively complying with their every command. This will ultimately affect their behavioral and psychological development and abilities. When your mom is overcontrolling, it can affect you in the following ways:
You become mutually dependent on your mom.
An overbearing mom will control your choices and limit your ability to make autonomous decisions. It leads to over-reliance on your parent from childhood to adulthood, as you depend on her approval and direction. Parents should allow their children to learn how to make decisions and be accountable for
their actions at the onset of adolescence.
You exhibit signs of anxiety and depression.
When raised by a helicopter parent, you will always be on the lookout due to constant fear of their authority. A helicopter mom may also restrict your relationships and movements, which affects your psychological well-being. People who have had controlling parents may develop anxiety or depressive disorder and other mental health issues in their lifetime.
Delinquency and other behavioral problems
Moms monitor and control your behavior effectively, raising responsible future adults. However, a helicopter mom will adopt extreme behavior control measures, which eventually becomes counterproductive. It is because the kids may start disobeying and rebelling as a means of coping, ultimately leading to long-life behavior problems.
Affects your self-confidence and image.
Children raised by helicopter parents are usually openly ridiculed, criticized, harshly corrected, or continually helped for every initiative they make. This develops self-doubt in their communication and problem-solving abilities. It finally lowers their confidence and image, resulting in timidity and lack of self-drive.
Slows your emotional growth.
An overbearing mom will not respect your physical boundaries, negatively affecting your emotional development. This will affect how you socialize with others in future due to difficulties in controlling your emotions.
How Can You Tell When Your Mom Is Being Overcontrolling?
An overbearing mom will either exert external or internal control in your life. External control means that your parent will visibly use regulatory strategies such as shouting, hitting, praising, and ridiculing the child, even in public. They are also unpredictable in how they will emotionally react to their children’s conduct. They are usually authoritarian parents adopting harsh parenting tactics.
In contrast, internal control involves employing psychological tactics, usually astute non-verbal signals, to regulate a child’s behavior. An internally controlling parent will adopt silent cues that gradually elicit specific compulsions within the child to behave as the parent expects.
Suppose your mom keeps using these controlling techniques while taking advantage of your personality to gain more control over you, even after you have become a teenager. In that case, it is pretty much evident that she is controlling. Other signs that you have a helicopter mom include:
Requires you to blindly abide and conform to her demands without giving you many chances to ask
Denies you the space to make decisions and take responsibility for your actions. She does not allow you to participate in or question the decision-making process. Offers unsolicited advice and assistance, limiting your choices or independence. Exploits or conditions your relationship by withdrawing her financial or emotional obligations to gain your compliance.
Uses coercion or harsh punishment on you.
Constantly ridicule or disapprove of your choices, initiatives, or independence. She sets unrealistic standards, and stringent rules to gain more control over your life. Constantly invades your privacy, e.g. by spying on you.
Believes she is always correct and never open to reasoning with you or sharing your viewpoints.
How To Deal With A Controlling Mother
Dealing with an overbearing mother might be an uphill task since you may not want to show disrespect to her. However, you are still yearning for your liberation. Finding healthy ways of coping with your helicopter mom is essential to avoid the numerous effects of a controlling parent. You can borrow some of these tips on how to deal with a controlling mother .
Diagnose and embrace the problem.
This is the first cause of action since, without identifying and accepting the situation, you can not possibly solve it. Use the discussed signs to determine how your mom dominates your life. Accept you can only control what is within your power and start finding ways to achieve that.
Accept her intentions and communicate your feelings.
Don’t always think your mom’s intentions are bad or cruel. Most of our parents have the best intentions, only that their mode of delivery may feel “controlling” to us. Accepting that your mom’s intentions are good will enable you to feel her love and embrace her parenting methods. Then communicate to her, honestly and respectably, about your feelings about her parenting style. It will help mark the extent to which each can go in the relationship without affecting the other emotionally.
Set clear boundaries.
Communicate honestly and respectably about your feelings about her parenting style. It will help mark the extent to which each can go in the relationship without affecting the other emotionally. It will significantly improve your relationship too.
Save up your strength for more significant issues.
Learn to identify what requires confronting, what you can compromise on, and what you can let go of without taking much strain on your relationship with your mom.
Find alternative interests that equally fascinate you.
Suppose your mom’s target for controlling your life is eliminating some of your choices or hobbies. In that case, you can deal with this by taking other interests equally exciting to you that she will not quickly discover or plainly disapprove.
Find support from others.
Seek help from other people who have been through similar experiences. You will realize that you are not the only person going through such difficulties. Millions of people experience overbearing control from a parent in different ways. You just need to find people you can trust and seek their support.
Seek professional help.
Therapeutic intervention is beneficial in improving your relationship with your overcontrolling mom. Your helicopter mom may be experiencing emotional stress as she grapples with the fact that you are slowly slipping from her hands. She might not see it that way. When you seek professional help, you will learn strategies to help you deal with the situation.
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