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Letting go of control as a parent

The older our children get, the more control they want over their life, the more agency they want to assert. It starts right from the start - the more our child learns to control their body and becomes aware of their thoughts and emotions, the more they want to be in charge!


For us as parents - people who are responsible for our child from the very beginning - it can be hard to let go of more and more control on a daily basis (and in some situations it just doesn’t really work). Well, that’s where temper tantrums partly originate - our child wants to act on their own behalf, but we as parents “know better” (Or do we?). How to find that balance between “I’m responsible for you so you have to do this” and “Waaaaa!! I don’t want that/I want this!”?!


I’d suggest encourage your child to do things the way THEY want whenever you can - and let them get on with it on their own. For example, our 4 y.o. and 8 y.o. found a bread recipe in an encyclopaedia and decided to make it. I provided the ingredients and left them to it, they decided on their own how to go about it (I only helped with the oven) and there we go! A focaccia and a chocolate bread (somewhat crunchy but hey, they love it, THEY MADE IT, and it does actually taste great!).



Our 8 year old figured out how to make absolutely enourmous bubbles out of hand soap. Children discover amazing things on their own!

Whenever your child tries to do something themselves - even if it’s not “by the rules”, “properly” or “you know better how it’s done” - pause for a moment and ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong if you let them do it their way? And if potential consequences aren’t that bad (or maybe even they could be great!) - let them do it, let them experiment, let them assert their agency and control, no matter if they are 2, 3, 8, 13 or 23! The more they feel in control of various aspects of their life, the less they will fight with you over things that are important for you to actually get through to them (like crossing the road safely, cooperating when you need to get somewhere on time, etc). What’s your experience with letting go of control? It is definitely an ongoing journey for me!

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