How to Stop Being Your Family’s Micromanager

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You’re trying your best to run a smooth household. That’s why you triple-check your child’s homework and get frustrated when your partner brings the wrong snacks to soccer. While you may think taking control keeps the train on the rails, micromanaging your family does more harm than good. 

While micromanagers mean well, their constant need for control can negatively impact their kids and spouse. By focusing too much on perfection, you may unknowingly cause your partner and children anxiety.

Think you might be micromanaging your family?

Take a look at the following tips to learn how to step away from the driver’s seat:

Give Kids Space But Keep Them Safe 

Controlling all your child’s activities can make it challenging for them to grow into the person they’re meant to be. Kids of helicopter parents never get the chance to do anything independently. As they get older, this can cause them to doubt their own abilities. That’s why it’s important to give children age-appropriate freedom. In practice, this may be providing cell phone privileges or letting children choose their extracurricular activities. 

While giving your kids space is important, so is preventing harm. You can do this by creating boundaries that safely provide freedom. For example, technology like Troomi lets kids text with their friends while protecting them from online predators and pornography. 

Share the Chores 

You’ve probably heard the saying “teamwork makes the dream work,” and that’s especially true in a marriage. However, letting your partner take over some of the chores can be challenging if you’re a control freak and find yourself micromanaging your family. Micromanagers tend to think their way of doing things is the best way to get things done. So, when they see someone else tackling a challenge differently, it can be stressful. Trying to manage all the housework alone is a huge undertaking, so let your family help.

A good way to begin dividing household tasks is to touch base on a plan each week. During this time, chat about events you have coming up like work meetings, kid’s activities, and errands. From there, make a list of what tasks each partner will take on. Some weeks one of you may be busier than the other. During those times, it might make sense for the less-busy partner to help out a little more. Try not to nag your partner about task timelines. If the chore hasn’t been done by your next check-in, explain your frustrations then. 

Let Kids Fail

When your kid doesn’t make the basketball team, you may be tempted to call the coach. Don’t. While you hope all of your child’s dreams come true, eventually, they will fail. If you’re there to “fix” things throughout their entire childhood, they’ll never learn how to handle failure as an adult. 

That doesn’t mean you can’t be there for them through life’s disappointments. When they get a bad ACT score or don’t make the team, help them talk through their feelings. If they’re struggling in a particular subject, don’t reach out to the teacher yourself. Instead, encourage your child to ask for help in class. A study in the journal “Nature Communications” shows that kids who experience failure 15% of the time actually learn better. While it may be challenging to watch your child struggle, you’re helping become a stronger learner. 

Pick Your Battles

From your child leaving toys out to your partner forgetting date night, sometimes family can test your limits. That being said, not everything is worth fighting over. Rather than constantly getting into confrontations because you are micromanaging your family, save your energy for the situations that matter most to you. If you’re unsure what’s worth going to battle for, consider the situation as a whole. 

Did your child not clean their room because they had an exhausting day? Did your partner forget date night because they had a crazy week at work? Sometimes outside factors can impact people’s behavior and need to be considered before getting frustrated. However, if a behavior that goes against your family’s value system becomes a recurring problem, that may be worth addressing. When discussing something you’d like to see change, try to remain calm and have the conversation in a private setting. 

Talk With a Professional

If you’re struggling to relinquish some control in your family, it’s a good idea to chat with a therapist. Often, people who feel the need to micromanage fear relying on others. This can result from many things including trauma, anxiety, or other mental health conditions. 

Talking with a mental health professional can help you identify the root cause and work past it. While most people understand the benefits of therapy, it can sometimes be challenging to carve out the necessary time. That’s where the best online therapy can help. Companies like Talkspace and Betterhelp can connect you with a licensed therapist virtually, making it possible to get treatment from home. 

Micromanagers get things done, but at what cost? Being in constant control isn’t great for your kids, partner, or you. Use these tips to let go of the reins and, in turn, create a happier household. 

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