What Is the Parent-Child or Parent-Teen Control Battle?

What Is the Parent-Child or Parent-Teen Control Battle?


This post was originally published April 22, 2015. I have updated it extensively and republished it on April 12, 2016.


Parent-child and parent-teen Control Battles can be awfully frustrating, yet they’re actually much worse than that.

Let’s think about what a Control Battle is:

A parent is trying to get their kid to do a certain behavior or not do a certain behavior and their kid is resisting that effort with all their will.

So no progress is made.

If there weren’t a Control Battle, a parent would make it clear what they expect — and perhaps not perfectly — the kid would comply. If they didn’t, the parent would make it clear with a consequence of sorts and that would make the message quite clear and the behavior would change.

In this way, kids learn responsibility because they are accountable to their parents. Over time, kids get better at managing their responsibilities independently.

Over time, kids get better at managing their responsibilities independently.Click To Tweet

When there is a Control Battle, kids are not being accountable to their parents and they are resisting their responsibilities.

So rather than learning to be more responsible, they are learning…

  • to avoid responsibilities,
  • to manipulate,
  • to lie,
  • to be overly dramatic,
  • to find excuses,
  • and to underperform.

They may be developing a negative identity and low self-esteem.

The longer the Control Battle goes on, the more serious the impact will be on their development.

Additionally, Control Battles use up the emotional resources in a family and this leads to parental burnout, which is no joke.

Control Battles use up the emotional resources in a family and this leads to parental burnout.Click To Tweet

Burnout can include…

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • fatigue
  • illness
  • sleeplessness

…and more.

Additional collateral damage from Control Battles is the stress and impact on other siblings.

Other children can wonder why their sibling is getting all the parental energy, while they’re actually following the rules… and they can become resentful. They may feel they have to be extra good, since their parents are already too stressed out. Or, they may act out in some way.

It’s important to know that all Control Battles can be resolved and kids can get back on a healthy developmental path.

Subsequent blog posts will explain the anatomy of the Control Battle and offer some of my best tools to dismantle it.

In the meantime, why not signup to receive a notification when my book is released later this year? It is entitled, Ending the Parent-Teen Control Battle and currently it’s available for pre-order on Amazon as well as Barnes & Noble.

You can signup to receive notifications below in the footer of my blog.

Do you have questions about Ending the Parent-Teen Control Battle? If so, please leave them in the comments below and I will respond as quickly as possible.

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