One of the challenges of parenting is wanting our children to be a certain way. This often comes from a place of love and desire for them to be successful in their lives. However, this can often lead to a controlling style of parenting where we are consistently attempting to get our kids to do things the way we want them to do them rather than allowing them to have the autonomy to do it themselves.

The problem with this is that a lack of self-direction is really stressful for people. Think of this in your own life. What do you do when you start to feel controlled? For most of us, we get upset and push even harder in the direction we want to go. This is no different for kids.

The other issue that is important is that what we want for our kids requires that we allow a strong degree of self control. When people feel as though they are in control of their lives they feel less stressed and they also feel more self-motivated. We want our kids to have the self-resilience to accomplish their dreams in life. By taking over their lives in an attempt to make this happen we actually undercut their capacity to feel confident in their own abilities.

The way forward is to move away from any idea that our kids should be anyway. We come to this once again with an openness to their own personal unfolding. Instead of controlling we are like the coach on the sideline encouraging and supporting. When failure happens we are there to put our arms around them and listen to their struggle. When we see them losing their direction we show up not to force them but to appeal to their own motivation. Controlling our kids results in the loss of their self-reliant capacities. Coaching our kids encourages them to be inspired by their own sense of what they want in life.