Today, most parents attempt to exert absolute control over the lives of their children. Without any doubt, they are following on the footsteps of their own parents.

We tend to be afraid of changes. Since our own parents raised us with the approach of controlling every aspect of our lives and most of us turned out fine, we lean toward following the same path of dealing with our own children.

Parenthood is a license to guide not to control. The important question must focus on the difference between guidance and control and how they are accomplished.

Guidance is accomplished through the major steps:

• Exploring the issue from the parents’ perspectives as well as those of the children
• Examining the possible actions that could be taken to deal with the issue
• Analyzing the negative as well as positive consequences of each action
• Permitting the children the opportunity to select their own actions to deal with the issue at hand
• Offering them encouragement in the form of a reward or otherwise if they took the proper action to deal with the issue
• Ceasing from emphasizing the negative impacts of the wrong action with stressing the fact that the children can learn from making mistakes

Control is administered through the following steps:

• Issuing an order for the children to follow
• Punishing or at least criticizing them if they failed to follow the order

For example, if a parent is talking about the importance of studying, the guidance approach would allow both the parents and the child to express their perspectives about studying including the reasons behind the emphasis of the parents pertinent to the importance of studying and the reasons behind the child hatred and despise of it.

Then they should discuss the actions that a child could take pertinent to it. The first action would be studying and the second one could be ignoring his or her studies.

The positive consequences of studying would be excelling in school while the negative results of studying could be lack of time to participate in fun activities.

The destructive side of ignoring the child’s studies could be failing a particular subject or repeating the whole year while the positive aspect of that action could be having more time to spend with friends or take part in enjoyable activities.

Bearing in mind both the negative and positive consequences of their actions, the children will select the action that coincides with their thoughts.

On one hand, if they took the proper action of focusing on their studies, the parents should reward them or at least praise their right judgment of fulfilling their responsibilities.

On the other hand, if they opted to ignore their studies which would be the wrong decision, the parents ought to fight the desire of punishing them or excessively emphasizing their shortcomings. However, parents should stress the fact that the children have to bear the consequences of their actions.

Control would imply that the parents order their children to study. The children have no other option but to follow the order. If they ask the parents about the reasons behind their needs to study, the parents would respond with the commonly used adage “It is good for you”. If the children failed to comply with the order, they would be subjected to physical, mental or verbal punishment. That action may lead to instilling within the children a profound desire to rebel. After being subjected to the same sort of punishment, they get used to it.

Nowadays, it is not easy being a parent considering the challenges that they have to face in dealing with children that have the tendency to question every issue in and aspect of their lives. Nonetheless, both children and their parents need to find an effective means to communicate in order to find a compromise that would permit them both to fulfill their responsibilities toward each other.

Author's Bio: 

Holding an honorary professorship from China, Sava Hassan is a Canadian author, poet and educator. He had published three books and wrote numerous articles in various topics in Canada, USA and China. For a year, he was writing an advice column for a major English magazine in China. Sava, occasionally, writes articles for several Chinese English Newspapers. He won several writing awards including three from China.