Empowering Talk Radio

Over Controlling Parents Irritate Adult Children

Over Controlling Parents Irritate Adult Children

Once children grow up their parents let them live their own lives.  Or so one would think. Yet, there are many adult children who are fed up with their parents still trying to run their lives.  Amanda, my Life Coaching caller, tells us it’s important to do what you love regardless of what your parents and family are telling you to do. So, how do you know if your parents are too involved in your life and it’s time to confront them and ask for change?

The hallmarks of over controlling parents are that they feel the need to micromanage everything in your life.  They push you toward the career path that they want versus allowing you to pursue your own dreams.  They critique, or should I say criticize, everything you do.  They have an opinion about whom you date, how you dress, what you eat, and what you do with your free time.  That was OK when you were 5, or even 15, but not when you’re 35!

Lets not be too harsh on mom and dad.  In their minds they just want the best for you, but what the literature shows is that they are having trouble letting go.  Maybe they were the parents who not only attended your ball games, but practices too?  Over-controlling.  Or maybe they never allowed you to have your own opinions on things, or make your own mistakes in life?  Over-controlling.   Some feel that you are an extension of themselves and that they have a right to dictate everything about your life to the point that they treat you almost like you’re property?  Seriously over-controlling!

The scariest over-controlling parents think that they are always “right” about how you should live your life. They know what’s best for you and you are neither to argue nor disagree with them because, again, they are “right”.  They will right-fight with you about everything.  As an adult child, this only leaves you feeling “wrong” and distrusting of your own decision-making and instincts that tell you what is “right” for you.  Tensions arise because you instinctively know that you should be allowed to live your life as you please, you just want your parents’ support and encouragement along the way.

Again, going back to giving mom and dad a break, a tricky situation adult children find themselves in is when they’re getting financial help.  Yes, when your parents are helping you out in a pinch with buying a car or paying rent you will have to negotiate through their rules and restrictions.  Few parents lend this kind of help without restrictions and, hey, if you don’t want to deal with this, get a loan from your local credit union.  If you don’t qualify for an outside loan, you’ll just have to buck it up and make the best of it.

The best-case scenario for getting financial help from your parents is for both of you to sit down and discuss expectations, yours and theirs, before you accept their help.  Keep it business-like and know that while your parents, if they are loaning you money, have a right to set up rules and boundaries, they shouldn’t, have the right to infringe on your personal privacy.  I’ve heard stories of parents who let themselves in to their kids’ home unannounced and things got weird and embarrassing because nudity was involved!  Let’s not go there!

If you want to know what strategies you can use to take the wind out of the sails of an over controlling parent, listen to my call with Amanda, and share your comments on how you’ve navigated these difficult waters from either the perspective of the parent or adult child ~ we learn from each other!