As children, we rely on our parents for guidance and support. But as we grow older, it’s natural for us to want to live as independent adults. While most parents understand this, there are some who struggle to let go of their control over their adult children.
Here are some of the worst ways parents try to control their adult kids.
Constant Criticism and Comparision
Parents who constantly criticize their adult children’s choices or compare them to others can make them feel inadequate and insecure.
Some parents may use guilt as a way to manipulate their adult children into doing what they want.
Many parents continue to control their adult children’s finances, making it difficult for them to become financially independent.
Some parents may feel entitled to know every detail of their adult children’s lives, even if it invades their privacy.
Parents who make all the decisions for their adult children can prevent them from learning important life skills and making choices for themselves.
Some parents may try to undermine their adult children’s relationships by criticizing their partners or trying to control how often they see them.
Parents who use emotional blackmail, such as threatening to disown their adult children, can create a toxic and manipulative dynamic.
While staying in touch with family is important, some parents may demand constant contact from their adult children, making it difficult for them to live their own lives.
Excessive Control Over Career Choices
Many parents try to control their adult children’s career choices, often pushing them towards a path they may not be interested in.
Using Manipulation Tactics
Parents who use manipulation tactics, such as gaslighting or playing the victim, can create a toxic and unhealthy dynamic with their adult children.
Taking Over Major Life Events
Parents who try to control their adult children’s major life events, such as getting married or having a child, can create tension and resentment in the relationship.
Making Them Feel Guilty for Living Their Own Lives
Some parents may make their adult children feel guilty for living their own lives and pursuing their own dreams, making them choose between pleasing their parents or following their own path.
Lack of Trust
Parents who don’t trust their adult children to make good choices will create a strained and unhealthy dynamic in the relationship.
Making Them Depend on Them
Some parents may intentionally prevent their adult children from becoming self-sufficient, making them dependent on them for support.
Controlling parents tend to operate out of fear. Some parents have a subconscious belief that they can protect their adult child by controlling circumstances and finances. Other parents will use emotional outbursts or the silent treatment in an attempt to control their grown son or daughter. Sadly, none of this behavior helps build a healthy, respect-based relationship.
If you recognize the signs of control, take time to have an honest conversation with your mom or dad. Yes, it might end up being a dumpster fire of negative emotions, but your parents need to understand that they are hurting your relationship with them.
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Melane Ann is a writer, blogger, and life coach. In 2020, she turned her experience in midlife divorce and creating a new life for herself into midlifeismagical. With a master's in Marriage and Family Therapy, Melane focuses on helping women over 50 navigate their relationships and commit to healthy aging. She and her new husband share 7 children between them. Melane jokes that she has a black belt in blended families! In addition to her writing, Melane works virtually with her coaching clients from her home office.