6 Signs Of Controlling Parenting And The Effects It Has On The Child

If you have never been hated by your child, you have never been a parent. – Bette Davis

Yes, a parent cannot always play the good cop. But some parents never play the good cop. The entire crux of controlling parenting revolves around this philosophy. 

Read further to see how.

What is controlling parenting style?

Developmental psychologist has always stressed on parenting style to determine which course of development a child follows. Parents are the primary caregivers for every child and they have a considerable impact on influencing the future of their children. What parenting style a parent adopts hugely changes the dynamics of personality formation in the children, in later years of their lives.

Through research during the 1960s, known as “Baumrind’s parenting typology”, psychologist Diana Baumrind found out four basic elements of a successful parenting style and they are: responsiveness vs. unresponsiveness and demanding vs. undemanding.

Her study further gave birth to three distinct parenting styles and they are:

  1. Authoritative parenting style
  2. Authoritarian parenting style
  3. Permissive parenting style

Baumrind believed that parents should be neither punitive nor aloof, neither too strict nor too indifferent. (2) Good parents must develop good rules for their children and apply them where possible in a very affectionate manner.  

Here, we will delve into the nitty-gritty of controlling parenting and what it’s drawbacks are.

Controlling parenting is also known as the Authoritarian parenting style. As the name suggests, controlling parenting is characteristic of parents who are extremely strict, demanding in nature but are not responsive towards their children. 

Controlling parenting is restrictive in nature and heavy on punishment. Parents who follow this type of parenting style demand their children to comply with their instructions and rules without questioning them. If the children question their parents as to why they have to follow their parents’ words, they will get “Because I said so.” as a reply. These parents, according to Baumrind “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation” (Baumrind, 1991)

These parents never give provide any explanation for their behaviour or do not intend on getting any feedback from the children about how they are coping with the parenting set up. These types of parents have high demands from the children while having a very low responsibility towards them. Parents in such a set-up literally control their children in several possible ways.

Parents who apply this style of parenting implement spanking, screaming, shouting, threatening and different forms of corporal punishment to discipline their children. When well-intended, these types of parenting style is meant to prepare the children to thrive, adapt and survive harsh, unforgiving environment which they might have to face when they grow up into adults.

The ideology of such parents is to accustom their children to negatively impactful emotions like anger and aggression.  

But, Diana Baumrind has linked the controlling parenting style with the most unfortunate consequences for children’s healthy social and emotional development.
Controlling style always does more harm than not. 


Here are 6 traits of a controlling parenting style:

1. Illogical rules and orders.

One of the important traits of controlling parenting is a set of rules and regulations which are expected to be followed unconditionally by the children. These rules and regulations are representative of the parent’s whims, which makes these orders unjustified and groundless. 

Like already mentioned above, the children are in no position to question the logic behind the strict, unreasonable and unilateral rules created by the parents. 

As Baumrind said, these parents “are obedience- and status-oriented, and expect their orders to be obeyed without explanation.” 

“Go to sleep right now.” 

“But mom, why so early?”  

“Because I said so.” 

“ You are not going to the party.” “Dad I have already dressed up for it.” 

“Don’t argue with me. Just go and change.” 

The children have no rights to express their opinions about what their interests are, they fail to convey their problems, their limits and boundaries. The children are left with no choice but to follow their parents without protesting. If they do not comply, they will be treated with a set of negative consequences. 

Authoritarian parenting is a restrictive, punitive parenting style in which parents make their children follow their directions and to respect their work and effort. – Santock, 2007


2. Strict punishment and disciplinary techniques.

What if the children start rebelling their parents due to their totalitarian style of parenting? What if they protest the hostile environment they are being brought up in?

On all fronts, they will not. They know the repercussions of such acts. 

The typical mentality of a controlling parent is to impose rules on their children, expect them to uncompromisingly follow them all. If they fail to do so, they will be subjected to harsh, inhuman punishments. 

The punishments and controlling behaviours come in different forms and they are either covert or overt in nature. 

Overt or active form of control comes in the form of yelling, shouting, name-calling, verbally threatening, spanking, beating, thrashing, intimidating, invading privacy, restricting movements and so on.

Covert or passive control comes in the form of stonewalling, silent treatment, neglect, shaming, playing the blame game, playing the victim and other forms of manipulation. 

The child under such a condition is either forced to follow the rules through negative treatments or they are manipulated into compliance.

Shreyasi Debnath
An editor and writer keeping keen interest in painting, creative writing and reading. I did my Masters in Clinical and Counselling Psychology and have been a counselling psychologist at a primary school for the past 1 year. I love doing absolutely anything that mends a mind and soothes a soul. Most often than not, I ponder over to come up with poems. A wandering soul in search for meaning.
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