Eventually, children want some independence from their parents. Once grown, they desire physical and mental autonomy, but certain mothers and fathers feel the need to exert control long after it’s appropriate, necessary or conducive to mental health. One study focused on the well-being of children with overbearing parents.
This research, hosted by the University College London (UCL), tracked children born in the 1940s and followed up with them until the present day. More than 5,000 individuals participated and shared experiences about their upbringing. Those who dealt with invasion of privacy from parental figures and feelings of co-dependence noted decreased rates of happiness compared to their peers. Researchers likened the negative feelings of these subjects to those experiencing bereavement.
Mai Stafford, MSc, of the Medical Research Council’s Lifelong Health and Aging unit at UCL, said that “psychological control can limit a child’s independence and leave them less able to regulate their own behavior.”
In contrast, healthy “parents give us a stable base from which to explore the world while warmth and responsiveness has been shown to promote social and emotional development,” Stafford stated.
She claims that this research wasn’t meant to blame parents but rather provide awareness of troubles facing families, including economic issues and other problems.
Matrisa Hollinger, B.A., from the College of Education at Northern Illinois University, outlined two different styles of parental control: behavioral and psychological.
Behavioral control is through regulations, rules and other consistent, structured restrictions meant to limit autonomy of children. Psychological control exists through verbal interventions impacting the child’s self-perception, relationships and other aspects of his or her mental well-being.
Hollinger referred to Dan Neuharth, Ph.D., when listing the eight specific styles of controlling parents. They include:
Controlling parents are proven to impact the mental health of the family. Sovereign Health Group helps teenagers and adults trying to become their own person and deal with poisonous influences. Call us today for more information on our programs for adults and teens dealing with mental health problems or co-occurring disorders such as substance abuse.
Written by Nicholas Ruiz, Sovereign Health Group writer