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Controlling Behaviour in Families: Health vs. Overcontrol

Relationships and boundaries in dysfunctional family are always violated. Besides other factors, it happens because of controlling behaviour both from dependent person (alcoholic, aggressor, drug addict, etc.) and often from co-dependent (spouse and children, who adopt roles for survival).

So what's the difference between healthy and controlling families ? Why child from such a family, being an adult, experiences multiple difficulties ?

Controlling Families:

1.  Conditional Love

  • Parents love is given as reward but withdrawn as punishment
  • Parents feel their children "owe" them
  • Children have to "earn" parental love


Healthy Families:

1.  Nurturing Love

  • Parental love is relatively constant
  • Children get affection, attention, and nurturing touch
  • Children are told they are wanted and loved

2.  Disrespect

  • Children are treated as parental property
  • Parents use children to satisfy parental needs


2.  Respect

  • Children are seen and valued for who they are
  • Children's choices are accepted


3.  Stifled Speech

  • Communication is hampered by rules like "Don't ask why" and "Don't say no"
  • Questioning and dissent are discouraged
  • Problems are ignored and denied


3.  Open Communication

  • Expressing honest thought is valued more than saying something a certain way
  • Questioning and dissent are allowed
  • Problems are acknowledged and addressed


4.  Emotional Intolerance

  • Strong emotions are discouraged or blocked
  • Feelings are considered dangerous


4.  Emotional Freedom

  • It's okay to feel sadness, fear, anger or joy
  • Feelings are accepted as natural and give us information


5.  Ridicule

  • Children feel on trial
  • Children are criticized more than praised


5.  Encouragement

  • Children's potentials are encouraged
  • Children are praised when they succeed and given compassion when they fail


6.  Dogmatic or Chaotic Parenting

  • Discipline is often harsh and inflexible
  • Parents see their role as bosses who make their children obey
  • Parents give children little privacy


6.  Consistent Parenting

  • Parents set appropriate and consistent limits
  • Parents see their roles as guides and leaders who follow through with rewards and consequences for behaviors
  • Parents allow children some reasonable control over their own bodies and activities


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