Six Ways To Teach Your Children Control

Controlling a baby is like herding cats. You can’t. But as one pundit said, “Who feeds you, controls you.”  FInterested? First, a cartoon about control.

Cartoon about control

Thoughts About Control

The need to be in control motivates us almost as much as the need for air, food, and water. Why? Controlling what we can is a survival skill.  Morevoer, thinking we are in control eases fear and we all like to be less scared.

Problem arise when you  think you are in control and you are not.  You either deny reality, waste time and energy, or damage relationships with useless arguing.

The trick?  Being clear about what you do control and accepting what you do not control. Not easy.  It is generally accepted that people do not control other people.  When it comes to parenting that is true and false. The first lesson of newborns comes with their crying.

If a baby is crying from hunger and you have food to satisfy that need you are in control and can stop the crying.

If a baby is crying from colic, you might figure out how to stop the crying, but just as often you have to wait it out.

Then come the “terrible twos” which really start lots earlier. And after the twos before you know it come the pre-teens and teens. Each stage sees parents with less and less control. What to do?

Parenting tips

Tip one: Know the rules that matter. Those rules: safety for all; respect for all living beings, respect for property, and respect for reasonable laws.

Tip two: Use the power granted you.  Do so wisely and not abusively.  The creator, or creators of all, wisely made children small for a while. Why? So parents and other adults could enforce the rules that matter.

When the “terrible twos” set in you have the power to ignore, the power to pick up and put in time out; doing either is a good use of power.

Research shows that  a pre-school child thinks what s/he is forced to do is right. Robert Kegan in his book “The Evolving Self”  says this is the stage of Might Makes Right.  For a parent is the time to implant the rules that matter and not just by praise, but by using your power.

The best tool for forcing obedience remains Thomas Phenlon’s One, Two, Three Magic approach.  When I just checked his web page it seems everything is on sale. So go there.  The short version: Three strikes, the one, two, three,. and you are out and punished.

The punishments must fit the crime and time out is a good one for most things.  This video of Jo Frost, aka Super Nanny, details the right way to do time out.

Both methods work, but  you work each properly and consistently. If you skipped the video, go back and watch it. Then get one of Phelon’s books.

Tip three: Do not abuse. Punish when important rules are not obeyed, but do not slap, abusively spank, scream and yell, call names, withhold love, or demean until the child submits to your control. Not such wise use of power.

Tip four: Get real. Let go of the idea of control and think influence. The most potent influence on anyone remains, the behavior of people around him, particularly people s/he either admires, is dependent on, fears, or wants to be like. For the young child that is more controllable, but control of who influences diminishes

For a parent that means being the person you want your child to be. And doing as much as possible to keep him or her surrounded with people who share your values. The younger, the child, the easier this is.

One of the puzzles for young parents is figuring not just who they are but what they want their lives to stand for and what they want to teach their children.  My eBook “Know your Mission So You Can Reach Your Goals can help you think more deeply and clearly about this.

Tip five: You will blow your cool now and again, use The Care Response to soften the blow to your child and to make an amends.

The CARE Plan

How to make amends after losing control.

Tip six: None of the above works without strong Emotional Fitness Skills. Which is why I wrote Parents Are People Too, An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents. You can get it for a penny plus shipping and handling. You can also get it as a kindle version for a bit more, but still less than a movie.

Remember you can read Amazon eBooks on any of your devices by using this free application.


Remember sharing is caring and the easiest way to practice kindness is to share this post if you found it helpful.  Share it even if it doesn’t speak to you, it will speak to some. Didn’t like it?  Comment and tell me why and how to improve.


This post was not inspired by this a WordPress Daily Prompt, but plays off of yesterday’s Emotional Fitness Training Blog. about Back Seat Driving as a Control Tactic.

However, today’s daily Word Press prompt suggested writing about:   Nothin’ But A Good Time: – Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

My answer, I would not do much different from what I did today. I am living a good life.


These links are for those not familiar with Emotional Intelligence or the idea of Emotional Fitness.

Nothin’ But A Good Time
by Krista
Imagine that tomorrow, all of your duties and obligations evaporate for the day. You get the day all to yourself, to do anything you please. What types of fun activities would make your day?

One response to “Six Ways To Teach Your Children Control

  1. Pingback: How To Use Choice to Control Your Life | Emotional Fitness

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