children with control issues

4 Steps to Helping Children with Control Issues in 2021

Last Updated on September 11, 2021.

Parents of children with control issues often struggle to find ways to help their children develop the skills they need. There are many children who have trouble controlling themselves, and this can manifest in different ways. Some children may be disobedient or destructive at home, while others may act out aggressively at school. This blog post will show you four steps that parents should take to help children gain better self-control so they can succeed in life!

What are Control Issues in Children?

Children with control issues often have trouble with controlling their emotions and behaviors. They may be impulsive, uncooperative, or aggressive.

If children struggle with these types of behaviors it can affect everything from school to social interactions. Let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of children with control issues.

Characteristics of Kids with Control Issues

  • they night ignore direct instructions or commands
  • they tend to complete tasks only halfway
  • use the silent treatment when they are angry
  • they have a hard time taking turns
  • sometimes children with control problems may use aggressive or violent behavior as their way of getting what they want
  • it is common that children will be oppositional, not complying and refusing to complete tasks
  • they might push limits, even after they are warned, to see if they can get away with their misbehavior
  • they might refuse to eat
  • apologizing is often out of the question
  • they may lash out physically when they are reprimanded

RELATE: How to help toddlers with transitions

Why do kids develop control issues?

Just to be clear: all kids want to be in control. It’s one of their driving factors. Having control over their world helps them feel significant. But there’s a point where it becomes an issue.

The causes of children developing control issues are not entirely known. However, there are a number of contributing factors that can lead to children struggling with these types of behaviors:

  • lack of emotional maturity
  • being bullied at school
  • multiple family structures where there are many caregivers and multiple sets of rules
  • the parents lack or have inappropriate parenting skills
  • having been abused when they were young
  • may have ADHD or other children’s psychological disorders
children with control issues
children with control issues

How to correct control issues

If your child is struggling with control issues, here are for steps you can take to help your child.

Don’t Engage in Power Struggles

Children who have control issues want to be in charge. They crave power, and will fight you for it if they can. Your child’s main goal is to get what they want without having to work hard or follow rules.

Refuse to engage in the power struggles because no one wins. So once you’ve stated your case or laid out the consequence, drop it.

This is harder than it sounds. But remember: it takes two to engage in conflict. If you need to, move to a different room. The important thing is to not continue to engage.

RELATED: What to do when your child has anger issues.

Don’t Repeat Yourself

Kids with control issues are stubborn. They’ll ask the same questions over and over until they get the answer they want. Stop repeating yourself. Try the “Asked and answered” strategy (where you say “You already asked that, and I already answered it”), but only do this ONE time. After that, treat the discussion as if it’s over, even if your child continues to ask.

The same goes for when you make a request of your child. When children refuse your request, it’s important that you don’t repeat yourself over and over again. It just means the child is winning if this happens repeatedly! If necessary, use a consequence.

Stay Calm

Children with control issue like to get your attention, even if it’s negative attention. If children get a response from you, they know they’re in control.

Stay calm and ignore as much attention-seeking behavior as possible (this is really hard!). If children are negative or aggressive with others, focus on the child who was hurt by their words or actions. Your anger will only reinforce the power struggle.

Switch it Up

Your child will eventually run out of steam if you switch up how you react and respond to their behaviors. For instance, instead of demanding an apology when they hurt their sibling, you might offer a different behavior that children can do instead, like get a soft pillow for the victim.

RELATED: Help! My Child Wants to Control EVERYTHING!

The Bottom Line

Children with control issues are oppositional, not complying and refusing to complete tasks. They might push limits even after they are warned, refuse to eat, or apologize when reprimanded. But you can tackle these behaviors by following our four steps!

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

Are you ready for more activities to build a rock-solid bond with your kids? Try our Connected Parent Challenge! It’s 15 Days of 15 Minute activities that are sure to improve your connection, diminish bad behavior, and create lasting memories. Plus, I’ll deliver more amazing parenting strategies to your inbox weekly (don’t worry, unsubscribe any time!).

2. Join Our Free Online Community

Connect with like-minded moms (and dads!) in our free online community. You’ll find a plethora of resources to help you through your parenting challenges. Plus, you’ll find me there! And I’d love to connect.

3. Take a Free 60-Minute Parenting Webinar

Do you need actionable strategies right now? Register for this free 60-minute webinar titled How to Get Kids to Listen, Without Nagging, Yelling or Losing Control. You’ll walk away with parent-tested tactics to get your kids to listen starting today.

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