About Overbearing Mothers

Written by michelle larowe
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If you're a teen whose mom demands a meeting with the teacher whenever you receive a grade less than an A, or if you're a grown adult and your mother is still telling you what to wear and insisting that you're home for Sunday dinner, chances are you have an overbearing mother. Overbearing mothers can be very difficult to deal with and make having a healthy parent/child relationship nearly impossible.

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Function

Overbearing mothers seek to control their children by expecting complete and unwavering obedience. Often, the areas they are seeking to exert control over are inappropriate. Overbearing mothers also try to micromanage their kids' lives. For example, a mother may try to tell her grown child who doesn't even live with her what time he needs to be home. When the son doesn't respond to her commands, she may threaten to disown him and accuse him of being ungrateful for all she has done.

Significance

People can't stand having an overbearing mother. Overbearing mothers make their children feel inadequate and feel like nothing they do is ever good enough. Overbearing mothers can also cause issues in a child's school by bullying the teacher into giving a child higher grades or treating him special (See Resources). People who date individuals with overbearing mothers can be turned off by the control the mother tries to have over the relationship and end up breaking off the relationship.

Misconceptions

Overbearing mothers often believe that they are truly loving their children rather than controlling them, but this is not the case. People show love by respecting, trusting, supporting and being kind to one another. People show control by trying to exert power and authority. Love looks out for the other person and puts his interests and desires first. Control seeks to manipulate a person into doing what you want her to do (see Resources).

Prevention/Solution

One way children can deal with overbearing mothers is to set clear boundaries. For example, you may decide what topics you are willing and not willing to discuss with your mother and if she brings up a topic you don't want to discuss, you can simply state "That topic is off-limits." It can also be helpful to come up with a phrase that communicates that you hear her advice, but you aren't going to take it right now. Something like "I know you care about me and want me to date someone you like, but right now, I'm happy with John" works well. You can also add that you'll ask her for her advice later if you feel you need it. Teens and younger children may find that writing a letter to their mother about how her controlling behaviours affect them can be helpful to draw her attention to the damage she is causing (eee Resources).

Warning

If you are constantly doing exactly what your overbearing mother commands you to do, you may eventually adapt the unrealistic standards that she has set for you for yourself. For example, if your mother yells at your soccer coach because she feels that you haven't got equal play, you may begin to believe that you deserve the amount of time your mother thinks you deserve. It's important that you acknowledge that your mother is controlling and address it with her so you have the room to grow as your own adult.

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