Mother Knows Best

Posted by Administrator | November 11, 2017 | Blog

We can clearly identify that we are being negative parents when our reactions come in the form of yelling, snapping or hitting our children. However, if our behavior is in the sneaky negative form that uses control, it gets a chance to hide from us. Our sneaky negative behavior becomes harder to see, which makes it all the more dangerous.

We control what the child does, wears and eats. We do this again under the guise of child protection. I can protect you, because I know what is best for you. I am afraid you will make the wrong choice, so let me make it for you. This behavior stems from anxiety, which often expresses itself as control.

I remember my daughter being in 3rd grade and having a talent show. She came to me the night before to help her with a song she wanted to sing. It was a song from Aida, the Broadway show that she and I would always sing together in the house. We LOVED the song because it was full of raising crescendos so we could bellow to the top of our voices and pretend we were on stage. It was also a song about fashion and my daughter is the consummate fashionista! It was OUR song. So we were practicing the song together and I saw her having trouble with some of the higher, trickier notes. She was also struggling with some of the words.

Having the ‘don’t want’ of her messing up and feeling embarrassed in front of her class, I tried to convince her to switch songs. I talked her into the ‘safe’ Doe, a Deer, a female Deer from The Sound of Music soundtrack. She looked at me defeated and was not convinced by my argument. That option not working, I switch into authoritarian control and anger mode and commanded her to do the song I chose. My reasoning was that she was sad but at least safe. I’d rather her be angry at me than hurt by her friends. Logical, right?


She left for school the next day, I kissed her and assured her that I would be at the show, cheering her on. As her turn came up, I saw her go over to her teacher and hand her a CD. I was confused. Then I heard the familiar beat of the Strongest Suit, the Aida song. My heart stopped somewhere between worry and anger. She began to sing the song and I saw the audience bopping their heads and clapping for her. Her confidence grew and she started to own the stage, she sang, she danced, she had their full attention. When she got to the part closer to the end where it got tricky, she stuck her hand out at me, grinned brightly and screamed from the stage, “Come Mommy!” And so I started singing from the audience, walking towards the stage and doing our little dance routine. She and I closed the show together in an amazing crescendo that brought the audience to their feet in a rousing applause. I looked into her eyes and in that moment my daughter taught me one of the biggest lessons in life - I was afraid and playing it safe; she was brave! My secret negative parenting behavior of trying to control her could have easily stolen this moment from her and I both. Lesson learned.