June 12, 2014 HOW TO DEAL WHEN YOUR MOM IS A CONTROL FREAK Today’s question comes from Lily, who writes: My mom never gives me any space. She acts like a control freak and always gets really mad when things don’t go her way. Recently, she smashed my laptop because she tried to interfere with my studying system even though I was doing fine. She and my dad say it’s “my fault” that my laptop is shattered because “she’s the parent” and my job is to “obey everything she says.” How can I get her to stop being so controlling? Or, almost as importantly, how can I get my parents to get me a new laptop? My Advice: Hi Lily! I’m so sorry to hear about your control freak mom. I can only imagine how annoying it must be to have her all up in your business like that. I bet it’s even worse that she spazzes out when she doesn’t get her way. When a two-year-old has a tantrum, you can put him in a time-out. There’s not much you can do when a 32-year-old does it…and she’s your mom! And then there’s that “I’m the parent” line. I absolutely HATE when my parents say that, so I really feel your pain there. I think it’s the WORST excuse in the world for being unreasonable, overbearing, and downright inconsiderate! Your mom clearly made a big mistake in smashing your laptop. Still, there’s a good chance she thinks she’s doing right by you. I HIGHLY doubt she thinks in her head, “Lily’s home! I CAN’T WAIT to make her afternoon a living nightmare!” She probably truly believes she knows what’s best, and thinks she’s helping you by telling you what to do and how to do it. She could be afraid that something bad will happen if she doesn’t step in and take charge (like you’ll flunk out of school, run away, and end up living in a cardboard box in a dirty downtown alley…controlling people are usually super dramatic!). I know you probably wish your mom would trust that you can handle stuff on your own and give you some breathing room, but I have a feeling it won’t be quite that easy. So, maybe instead of trying to change her, you should work on changing how you respond to her. Clearly, it doesn’t help matters to fight her. She’s only going to push more, and I have a feeling you don’t want your iPod and cell phone to join your laptop in electronics Heaven! Next time she gets all up in your space, telling you to do things her way, try to remember that she really thinks she’s helping. Then, instead of telling her you’re doing just fine and don’t need her butting in, say, “Thanks for the good advice. I will definitely consider that. I’m also considering ___________, because ____________. What do you think of that?” This way, you’re letting her know you value her opinion (controlling people LOVE when you stroke their egos!) AND you’re asserting that you have your own. Maybe over time she’ll realize you really can do things without her constant interference, and she may even learn from your super mature response to her how to be less demanding. As for the laptop, the “L” word and some serious sucking up could go a long way, as in… “I know you guys are only looking out for me, and I’ve learned a valuable LESSON about considering your expert advice. After all, YOU’RE the parents! Since my education is super important to all of us, when can we get me a new laptop?” What do you guys think? Do you have any advice for Lily?