What happens when parents work to connect with kids instead of control them?
Too often, our ambition as a parent or teacher is to seize control. We want to govern every action and direct each step kids take as they play, work or study. Studies show that parents who over-program their child’s schedule often breed kids who rebel as teens. Why? They never got to truly be a child.
It’s true. Adults today, especially parents, don’t trust the world their kids are growing up in. According to author Hara Estroff Marano, “There’s a huge distrust in other parents and society’s institutions that pushes parents to over-parent.” In an uncertain, competitive world, parents feel compelled to run interference so they can give their kids every possible advantage in life. So—they opt for control. This makes sense, until you begin to see the consequences: kids who are disabled emotionally because an adult did it all for them, or kids who feel entitled for the same reason.
Let me remind you: control is a myth. None of us are actually “in control.” Instead, effective parents work to connect with kids. Why? Because once we connect, we build a bridge of relationship that can bear the weight of hard truth. We earn our right to genuinely influence them. Only then, is the responsibility in the right spot: on the kids. They must own the responsibility for their choices and actions. And with that weight appropriately on them for their age, will they look to adults they trust for guidance. Naturally, they will look to the adults who connect with them.
Don’t think CONTROL, think CONNECT.