How disproportionate parental control negatively affects teenagers

by Kirubananthini Krisnan

LimKokWing University of Creative Technology
Diploma in Mass Communication
Faculty of Communication, Media and Broadcasting, Semester 2.

 

Why do some parents tend to control their children excessively? Like any caring parent, they want to ensure that their children are successful in life, so they tend to exert more control on their children when they grow up, especially when they become teenagers.

What parents don’t realise is how this controlling style of parenting affects their teenaged children adversely. Parents are supposed to guide and motivate, especially when teenagers make mistakes or make a wrong decision. Rather than punish them, they should explain and talk about their mistakes so that their children would be more aware in future.

Some parents, however, do not educate their teenagers on what is right and wrong, expecting them to know this instinctively. There are also some parents who might think that this is the correct way to raise their children since they were brought up with the same style of upbringing.

This may result in negative feedback from the teenager in the forms of rebelliousness, depression, social withdrawal and negative behaviour.

As a teenager grows into adulthood, a parent also has to make the transition from guardian to companion. While teenagers should be made to understand that there are limits and consequences to their actions, their good behaviour should be recognised and reinforced in a positive way whenever possible.

Overly critical parenting might result in low self-esteem and self-confidence among teenagers.

According to studies carried out by Brian Barber, a researcher at the University of Tennessee (1996), and Arthur Jensen, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles (1997), teenagers growing up in a rigid, controlling atmosphere tend to develop a negative self-image, especially when they see their peers being able to do what they want to do.

Although it takes patience to reduce negative behavioural traits, as parents, they should be more concerned about their children’s progress. Parents should talk to their teenaged children, be sympathetic and understanding to the problems they face as teenagers, advise them as friends and motivate them. Controlling them unnecessarily can demoralise and give them lower self-esteem, resulting in teenagers more readily accepting the failure in their lives rather than make an effort to change it.

In summary, excessive parental control is unsuitable for children, especially teenagers in any way. Parents always play a significant role in their children’s lives, especially when they are teenagers growing into adulthood. If punishment without explanation may get on a teenager’s nerves, always give an explanation, motivate and advise them not to repeat the behaviour.

As parents, it is essential to guide teenagers on the importance of life, understanding that at the end of the day, their teenager will grow into an adult that must choose their own life path.

An analogy that I always use is that although God is the Most high, we are not controlled or forced to do anything.  Although He has set specified guidelines for us to follow, it is up to us as humans to obey or disobey them, and whatever we choose, we will eventually either gain rewards or suffer the consequences, so it is ultimately up to us to make up our mind on the path we want to continue on.

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