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Psychological Control

Psychological control is a negative parenting practice whereby parents attempt to control children’s thoughts and behaviors by exploiting the parent-child bond (e.g., withdrawing love), being excessively critical (particularly of the child as a person), and discouraging or demeaning children’s attempts to express their individuality and opinions. On average, children rate their parents as relatively low in psychological control, and psychological control is more prevalent in certain populations (e.g., Chinese compared to U.S. parents, low compared to middle socioeconomic status families). Psychological control is particularly problematic because it influences children’s psychological and emotional development by intruding on their sense of self and constraining their ability to function autonomously (independently and/or in line with their own beliefs and desires). It is linked with both internalizing (e.g., ...

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