Once you know what makes a parent manipulative and authoritative, you can start recognizing the signs of controlling parents.
Signs your parent is controlling
Most parents are controlling to some extent. This is how they raise their children to be their best, instill values and contribute to society when they grow up. However, there is a difference between being strict and controlling.
Here are 8 signs that will help you identify if your parents are too controlling.
1. They criticize you excessively
Most parents criticize their kids at times. This allows us to learn and improve ourselves. However controlling parents can be extremely critical and react negatively to everything their kids do. Author and entrepreneur Holly Chavez explains “Parents can make the mistake of believing that they do this to make sure their children avoid making costly mistakes.” Sadly, it only leads to low self esteem, distorted sense of self worth, shattered self confidence and a cruel inner critic.
2. They have unrealistic expectations
Controlling parents tend to be perfectionists and want their children to achieve unattainable standards and have irrational expectations. This is highly unhealthy for the parent-child relationship. But worst of all, if the child fails to accomplish the unrealistic goals, they are severely punished. Most toxic parents ask their children to get something done, without teaching or showing them how to actually do it. And when the children are unable to complete the task, the parents react harshly. Darius Cikanavicius, author and certified mental health coach, says “Oftentimes the child is set up for failure and they will experience negative consequences regardless of what they do and how they do it.”
3. They know what’s best for you
They tell what you should eat, what you should wear, what career is best for you, who you should date and what not. They always have an opinion regarding everything you do and claim that they are only looking out for your own interests. The fact is, controlling parents will never approve of your decisions unless it matches with theirs. As a result of this, children with manipulative parents become dependent, always seek external validation and approval and lack decision making skills. “They refuse to consider alternative courses of action and do not give you the freedom to make decisions,” writes Michelle Liew, B.A.
4. They set unreasonable rules
Controlling parents don’t feel the need to negotiate or explain the rules and regulations they set for their children. Most of these rules are impractical and unilateral and usually don’t have any logical explanations. “Controlling parents set strict rules that apply only to the child, or only to certain people. Instead of appealing to the child’s self-interest, it’s an appeal to the power disparity between the parent and the child,” says Darius.
5. They publicly humiliate you
Toxic parents don’t think of their children as independent individuals. Instead, they consider their kids as an extension of themselves, says author and art director Catherine Winter. And perhaps this is why they fail to realize that you deserve respect and courtesy like everyone else. They often disrespect and berate their children in public to gain sympathy from others and strengthen their own distorted views. They may even do this to boost their ego and amuse themselves.
Catherine explains “It’s one thing if your parent tells you that they don’t like the décor in your home, your choice of career, your hair color, or your wardrobe. But it’s another thing entirely if they mock or belittle you in front of other people.”
6. The lack empathy and kindness
Although controlling parents offer basic necessities like food, shelter & clothing to their kids, they greatly lack love, care, affection and kindness. Most toxic parents fail to show empathy to their children probably due to their own insecurities or they fear they might not be able to dominate you.