• Ann Kaplan

Are you in control, or just controlling?

Updated: Jul 22

A few weeks ago, I was interviewed by Misty Knight of The Tenacious Woman and she asked me such a great question -


I am a huge control freak! In terms of getting kids to listen, what's your advice for us 'control freak' moms who want it done, want it done right, and want it done now?





When a mom tells me she's a control freak, I usually find 2 thoughts running through her mind all day long:

  • The buck stops with me, I am responsible and if I don't deal with a problem, no one will. I need to be in charge; everything rests on my shoulders.

  • I should be DOING all the time. To not be actively engaged in making something happen is uncomfortable; I feel lazy or guilty when there is a problem and I'm not working at taking care of it.

I help these moms break the control freak cycle by changing their perspective on what it means to DO something in parenting. The truth is that stepping back and letting your child screw up while you sit on your hands is actually DOING more for your child than all the intervening in the world could do (and it's a hell of a lot harder, too!).


There's a cognitive process that happens when we ask a child to do something, give them time to think and either make it happen or not, and let them experience the consequence of their actions. It's an important and powerful teaching process that works best uninterrupted.


Reminders, explanations, doing things for our kids and all the other silly things we do because we just can't help it...it all negates that process and they become less and less likely to learn to do things on their own or listen when we talk. The screwing up is what does the teaching - and that can only happen when we give our kids enough space to mis-manage something.


So often, 'control-freak' moms feel totally out of control! "I have to do everything! My kid never listens! I can't get them to do anything! This family is off the rails!" The more out of control we feel, the more controlling we become, micromanaging unnecessary aspects of our home, kids' lives, family schedule, etc. Things like asking vs. telling, giving a deadline vs. wanting immediate responses, or stepping back while kids make mistakes are SO hard when we feel out of control!


The work I do with my clients opens them to new thoughts like, "I'm actually being in control by not controlling this situation. I'm in control of myself. I'm choosing to let this situation unfold on its own because it's what's best for my kid and our relationship."


Are you ready to shift from being controlling, to actually being in control? Then it's time for a discovery call with me. You'll walk away from our meeting with a deeper understanding that NOT intervening is real, true leadership and control, and you'll know how to make it happen in your family.

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© 2018 by Ann Kaplan