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Controlling parents create cautious kids?

sadlonelyone's picture

That's what my friend told me. She said kids with controlling parents are unconfident because they are afraid to make decisions that will upset the parent. I didn't have that problem so I get frustrated with SD14.

She says "I dunno, doesn't matter" when asked a simple question like what color of phone case she wants when she's the one who will be using it or if she's hungry or not- she'll be asked if she wants something to eat and she'll say "it doesn't matter." Sometimes I just make a decision and sometimes I don't get her anything at all.

We were in a store looking for swimwear for her (when she forgot to pack her swimsuit because she waited until the last minute to pack) and she wasn't interested in the regular swimsuits so was standing there on her phone instead of trying to find something. When I told her to pick something, she said she "will in a minute" and proceeded to stand there are argue with me when she was the one who forgot her swimsuit and cost us $75 for shorts and a sports top to swim in. She argues with DH a lot about procrastination, too. She has no problem making people wait on her but I think it's because she's so naive to anyone but herself.

I was a shy kid but I didn't have a problem making a simple decision. Am I just nitpicking?


Wicked stepmo.'s picture

It doesn't sound like she can't make a decision it's sounds more like she likes to control every situation by being passive aggressive. 

OSD is the same way will make everyone wait on her. Will never come prepared for anything. Then wants every situation to be on her time.

SO plays into this so does BM only reinforcing her behavior. Not me! This is one of the many reasons she can't stand me.

If we are going somewhere I made sure to give her an hour's notice. When it's time to leave and she hasn't even started to get ready, I leave without her and ignore her barrage of nasty text messages that follows of her trying to excuse her behavior and gaslight me.

If she comes unprepared for an event like the water park even though she was given 2 weeks notice. I refuse to get her a bathing suit and tell her to find shorts and a tee shirt to wear. 

Same goes for YSD but the difference is she is a quick learner, where as OSD will just continue her defiance. 

sadlonelyone's picture

I will have 2 bio daughters that will be teens together, I am so grateful I only have one SD! And I don't even know what it is with SD.. why would she say she doesn't care what color of phone case she gets when she's the one who will be using it? It's just weird like MAKE A DECISION! It's also super annoying that she tries to blame not doing things on ADD when I think it's no excuse at all.

Cover1W's picture

A controlling parent is different from a strong parent. Are you saying that your friend was saying you or someone else was controlling and that's why your SD cannot make a decision? Um, no, per the examples above. Seems like she just doesn't care and expects someone else to do it for her.

My YSD cannot make decisions either. In her case I believe it's because of a lack of parenting that would require her to learn self sufficiency and personal decision making. Both BM and DH never require her to step outside her comfort zone. They make sure everything is done for her. She cannot even ask for things she needs for our home. BM just sends it with her (soap, toothpaste, feminine supplies, etc.).

I do not do this. If you cannot choose a shirt color then no shirt. If you don't tell me what you want from the store I don't get things you want. If you don't let me or DH know you need new shoes (one thing I don't mind getting for her in the past but I'm done this year) then you don't get them. She's 15 now. I'm done trying.


CajunMom's picture

I guess some would call me a controlling parent. I wasn't. I was a STRONG parent with ground rules, expectations and consequences. My kids still had the right to "think" for themselves and I actually demanded that because,'s a life skill we should teach. Independence.

Your SD's issues are more from a lack of parenting and parents letting her manipulate and control them. Had my kid "forgot" her swimsuit, she'd have been swinning in some walmart shorts and t-shirt. Lesson learned. No more forgotten swim wear.

Cover1W's picture

I think this past year my YSD discovered she had outgrown her swimsuit from the prior year. Did she ask for a new one?  No. She by preference swam in a t-shirt and shorts.  It was a quick dry hiking shirt and "legging" style shorts, but still.  I guess that was better than asking for a new suit?

CajunMom's picture

Forgetting, seemingly intentional, per the OP is different. Asking for a new suit when the one you gave us too small is a proper request, in my opinion. 

ndc's picture

I agree with your friend that a controlling parent could raise a child with no confidence who is afraid to make a decision.  That doesn't mean that every kid who has difficulty making a decision or just refuses to make one has a controlling parent or that their decision-making or lack thereof has anything to do with parenting.  Some kids could not care less about some things, and therefore refuse to make decisions about them.  Others are just assholes who don't mind keeping others waiting while they make their decisions or do any number of other things.

I don't think you're nitpicking, and I don't think your approach of either making the decision yourself or not getting her anything at all is wrong.  Does she make decisions about important things?  About things she DOES care about?  If so, then her problem isn't an inability to make a decision.  It may be that she truly doesn't care and can't be bothered to decide. Dealing with a kid who is capable of making a decision if she wants to but sometimes chooses not to because she doesn't have enough regard for those around her to make simple decisions about HER preference, whether it's because she doesn't care or she's selfishly doing something else while others wait for her, has got to be exhausting. 

Maybe the answer is to always default to not getting her anything if she can't make and communicate a decision in a reasonable time, let her suffer the natural consequences and not argue with her at all.  If she starts arguing about something in a store, you leave.  If she argues about procrastination or whatever with your DH, and continues after she's asked to stop, he should impose consequences.  Teens seem to like to argue about everything, but at some point you have to tell them to stop and make it painful for them to continue.

acef92's picture

I have the same situation at home with my SD13, and she is always the same "I don't know", "it doesn't matter", but I realized that she does this on purpose she likes people beg or ask a lot on her because she wants to feel like she is in charge of everything. I would have never bought to her that bathing suit, I would tell her "It's your fault,deal with the consecuences" but unfortunately my DH and her BM allow her EVERYTHING and thats why the girl is like that, this girl is selfish as hell and I think she knows it and she enjoys it.