When I was a young child I remember that one of my mother’s methods of making sure my behavior met her exactingly high standards was through the use of shame. In particular, if I was out with her in public and did something to upset her she would shout : ‘If you don’t do as I say immediately I will pull your trousers and pants down right now in public and spank your bare backside until it’s red raw. Red raw!’ (she had a penchant for repeating particular
I outline some of the most common ways in which parents may attempt to exert excessive control over their children below :
Emotional Enmeshment :
This occurs when a parent is intensely and overwhelmingly emotionally involved with his/her child so that, rather than seeing the child as an individual with his/her own thoughts, feelings, likes and dislikes, views him/her as an extension of him/herself.
The parent who emotionally enmeshes the child may be over-dependent on him/her :
- in relation to seeking advice that the child is not mature enough to give (e.g. a parent asking a ten year old for advice on romantic relationships),
- for companionship,
- for psychological counselling.
Such parents may also interfere inappropriately in the child’s life and fail to respect his/her boundaries.