7 unique traits shared by people whose parents controlled too much of their childhood

Helicopter parents.

Whizzing above your head with their little propellers, zooming in on every decision, every interaction. 

Being the first parents on site to pick you up from sport practice. Having one eye on your phone at all times. 

Tracking your location from afar like the FBI.

You know, those parents who hover over every aspect of their child’s life, from school performance to playdate etiquette, making sure everything is just the way they like it (or approve, at least).

While there’s no denying their intentions are good, it’s also true that this kind of parenting can have a significant impact on a child’s personality and behavior.

Now, if you’re someone who grew up with a high level of parental control, you may have developed certain traits or characteristics that set you apart from others.

Interested to find out how growing up with overly controlling parents can impact you in later life?

Stick around to find out about the seven unique traits commonly observed in people whose parents controlled too much of their childhood.

This isn’t about blaming anyone, mind you. 

It’s about understanding the effects of our upbringing and using that knowledge to better understand ourselves and how we want to parent in the future (if that’s on your cards!)

1) Perfectionism

Ever found yourself obsessing over minor details?

Toiling away, exhausting yourself as you strive for perfection in every task, no matter how small and no matter how much part of you whispers, “perfection doesn’t exist.”

Well, this could be a trait that stems from your childhood.

Children of controlling parents often develop perfectionistic tendencies

They’re used to having every aspect of their activities scrutinized and criticized, constantly being told how they could do better, so they learn to get things in such a way that they avoid criticism the first time around.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing (in moderation), as it can drive success and high standards.

But it’s important to remember that it’s okay to make mistakes. 

We’re only human after all, and part of being human is embracing the imperfect that comes up from all the slip ups and unexpected paths we’re faced with along the way.

2) Difficulty making decisions

Posed with difficult decisions, how easy do you choose?

Pizza or noodles?

Getting a gerbil or getting a german shepherd?

Big city promotion or soft country style of living?

It’s not even only the big decisions that cause you worry.

All too many a time have I been stuck frozen, standing in the cereal aisle at a supermarket, frozen in indecision, unable to decide between Coco Pops or Special K.

The difficulties of growing up with parents who made most decisions for you is that you often find decision-making quite challenging (just like I often do in the cereal aisle.)

As a child, your choices were probably limited. You followed the path set by your parents. They chose what cereal you were to have that morning.

But remember, it’s okay to take your time and weigh your options now that you’re a fully fledged adult. 

Decision making is a skill you can nurture and improve over time, to set yourself off on your own path.

3) Nail-biting anxiety

The pressure and stressors brought on by parents hovering over your every move can lead to rebellious and adrenaline seeking individuals, sure.

But it can also produce anxious thoughts which buzz around your mind like tiny mosquitos.

When someone else is always in control, it’s hard to relax and have faith that you can do the right thing on your own.

The world seems like a more uncertain place when you’re not used to navigating it on your own two feet, and now have no one else to fall back on. 

But it’s important to remember that it’s okay to feel anxious.

The trick is to not let the anxiety control you. 

Instead, acknowledge it, accept it, and then take steps to manage it by learning how to have faith in yourself and regulate your own emotions.

4) Overly responsible

Do you get tempted to own up and say sorry, even for things you had no part in?


Growing up in an environment where you were often held responsible for outcomes that you had little to no control over, you learn to shoulder burdens that weren’t yours to carry.

But remember: it’s not your job to fix everything or ensure a perfect outcome. 

It’s okay to let go and realize that you can’t control everything (as difficult as that might seem.)

After all, life is unpredictable, and that’s part of what makes it beautiful.

5) Difficulty in forming close relationships

Your mom/dad being your best can feel like the best thing in the world as a youngster.

But take Jeannette McCurdy’s big hit, ‘I’m Glad My Mom Died’.

Growing up a teen star with a mother who was joined at her hip, she struggled to then evade parental bonds and form her own friends. Her own relationships.

If you had overly controlling parents, you might also find it challenging to establish deep connections with others. 

You might feel hesitant to open up and share your feelings, or worry too much about how others perceive you, or even worry your parents will feel lonely if you make your own life beyond them.

Learning how to trust non-family members takes time, so take small steps towards opening up to others. 

With time, you’ll find that forming close bonds becomes easier, and you can pave your own way in the world.

6) Constant self-doubt

Having overbearing parents tends to mean that that little self-critic in your head grows louder and louder, filled with worry over your perfectionism, self-doubt, and anxiety.

Am I good enough? 

Smart enough? 

Am I too much for them?

Do they even like me?

If you grew up with parents who constantly controlled your actions, you might be dealing with self-doubt. It’s like having an internal critic that never, ever takes a day off.

But here’s the thing you have to slowly get your head around…

You are enough. Just as you are.

And every time that voice of self-doubt whispers in your ear, remind yourself of this truth. 

Over time, you’ll learn to quieten that critic and embrace the wonderful person you are.

7) Fear of failure

For those who grew up with controlling parents, failure can often seem like the worst possible outcome. 

Taught to avoid it at all costs, you now likely have a deep-seated fear of making mistakes or falling short of expectations. 

The expectations being the impossibly high ones set by your parents…

But know that failure is not a monster to be feared. It’s a mentor, slowly guiding us towards growth and improvement. 

So, as difficult as facing it after you’ve been taught to shirk from it might seem, learn from it and let it propel you forward on your journey.

On being a child of helicopter parents.

Recognizing these traits in yourself might feel overwhelming and slightly hopeless.

But remember, understanding is the first step towards change.

These traits don’t define you in the slightest. They’re merely the product of your past experiences. They bring with them a lot of grit and determination, but also a good deal of trauma and setback.

And with a bit of self-awareness and effort, these elements can be reshaped.

It won’t be easy, and it won’t happen overnight, but with every day you work slowly towards your goal, you’re taking yourself one step closer to being in charge of your own life.

In the end, you’ll come out stronger and more self-aware; ready to embrace life with open arms and newfound resilience.

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