my child wants to control everything

My Child Wants to Control Everything: 13 Ways Parents Can Respond

Last Updated on September 11, 2021.

Many children want to control everything. They crave power. They want to be in charge of their own lives, and they don’t understand why adults won’t let them do what they want all the time. This can be really frustrating for parents, who feel like their child is constantly pulling one over on them! Here are 13 ways that you can respond when you think “Help! My child wants to control everything!”

Why does my child try to control everything?

Children want to control everything because they crave power. Power over their own lives makes them feel independent and significant. They want to feel capable and competent. When my child tries to control everything, it is my job as a parent to help them feel capable and competent in other ways.

What causes a child to be controlling?

When children are not given enough power, they will try to seize power with controlling behavior. This is a child’s way of trying to feel important and powerful.

my child wants to control everything
why kids crave control

What are the signs of a controlling child?

Here are 5 signs of an overly controlling child:

  • Deliberately defying your requests
  • Tantrums when things don’t go their way
  • Resistance to doing chores or household responsibilities
  • Refusal to follow rules at school and in the community
  • Being bossy with other children

What can I do about a controlling toddler?

Start by taking a step back and trying to understand your child’s perspective. What is my child feeling? What does my child need from me right now? Try to find the root of their controlling behavior, rather than just reacting with anger or frustration. Then you can deal with that underlying cause instead of just managing symptoms.

Here are 13 ways you can respond to your child’s controlling behavior:

  • Give them plenty of choices throughout the day
  • Give your child you full attention for at least 15 minutes a day
  • Refuse to negotiate with your child when they are out of control
  • Make logical consequences that you follow through on
  • Avoid using the word “no”
  • Create daily routines for my toddler so they know exactly what is expected of them throughout the day
  • Give your kid household responsibilities so they feel like a significant part of the family
  • Get them plenty of exercise every day, preferably outdoors
  • Validate your child’s feelings when they are upset, even if you don’t agree with their perspective
  • Praise you kid for making responsible choices throughout the day
  • Allow them to make poor choices and suffer the natural consequences
  • Teach your kids calming strategies and breathing techniques to manage their big feelings
  • Strictly limit screen time

The Bottom Line

If you’re constantly feeling like “my child wants to control everything!”, your job as a parent is to help them feel capable and competent in other ways. By understanding your child’s perspective and refusing to negotiate when they are being out of control, you can teach my kid how to make responsible choices throughout the day.

What You Should Do Next…

1. Snag Our Connected Parent Challenge

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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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