Today I had several conversations about the long term dangers of using control as an educational/motivational method – one with a young adult in the midst of experiencing this, one with the parent of high school aged daughters, and one with the mother of a nineteen year old who is choosing a different life path than his parents.
Control is when someone tries to impose his will upon someone else to get a desired outcome. It’s very commonly used and sadly, is too commonly taught to parents.
Trying to control your child is an approach to human interactions that makes behavior more important than relationship and works against a child’s best interests in a number of ways. It undermines the development of intrinsic motivation by suppressing a sense of competence and autonomy.
In simple words, you take away a person’s desire to act in the way you want without you being on top of them. When you try to control someone, they react by either resentfully submitting to your will or with visible defiance.
I’m going to be speaking in various locations in the coming weeks and while the specifics of each talk will vary somewhat, the common thread underlying each presentation will be the discussion of the most important factors in raising/educating a child. (**I have an opening to speak in Tzfat on July 27 or 28 – if this is something you would like to help set up, please be in touch with me!**)
Too often, parents and teachers want to know how to get a child to behave, but they don’t realize that they need to approach a child in a way that support his long term growth. This is unfamiliar to many of us and we resort to what we already know, using techniques that seem to give us fast and good results. But short cuts in parenting almost always backfire and create long term detours.
The most effective thing a parent can do is take time to learn how to support a child, how to connect with him and how to appropriately create healthy boundaries. It’s not easy but it’s worth the time spent learning and applying a new paradigm to get real results that will last a lifetime.