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Passing the Baton of Control

This post looks at an issue between parents and teenagers that Bindi sees quite often during her work with parents and children and as a family counsellor.

Without going into too many details, Bindi has recently been seeing a mother and teenage son.  The son was seeing Bindi because of an extreme anxiety disorder and the relationship between the mother and son was brilliant.  They were extremely supportive of each other and were working hard together to help the son overcome his problem.

One session was different however.  There was a tension between the two, an awful atmosphere.  There was obviously an elephant in the room.

It turns out that they had had an argument and the underlying issue was one of control.  The teenage son wanted more control over his life yet the mother, quite naturally, wanted to carry on protecting her son and wasn’t ready to relinquish her control over him. The situation was very painful for both of them.

This reminded us of a question were were once asked: “How do you relinquish kitchen control?” – a rather lovely way of asking how do you start letting your children go their own way.

The baton of control has to be passed of course but it doesn’t happen all at once.  As Thich Nhat Hanh so perfectly said:

You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free

The issue here is all about a conflict of innate needs: The son needs to have control over his life but the mother needs to provide security and keep her son safe.  Finding a solution that meets both of their needs is the key to resolving the problem.

If you would like to talk to Bindi about the issues raised here or any family related problems please call us. We are here to help.