“The Child Is Father of the Man”: Dr. Kevin Leman on Childhood Memories
by Alicea Jones from an interview with Christian psychologist, author and humorist, Dr. Kevin Leman on how our pasts affect how we parent.
Q – Some people who have unpleasant childhood memories have grown into adults with a strong need to control their surroundings. How do you explain that?
A- A defensive controller is one who controls not because he or she enjoys controlling, but they do it for defensive purposes. Why? Because they’ve been hurt . . . hurt by people. So they’re really guarded. Very few people get close to them. You become a defensive controller to protect yourself from getting hurt. It’s a coping mechanism; it helps you get through the day. It helps you get through the year. It helps you get through life. Men are specialists at that because men thrive at arm’s length in relationships, where women want to hug everything that moves.
Aaah, convicted! I did try to control many things when my child was younger and often felt exasperated because there are many things you just can’t predict or orchestrate. I also learned that if you try to control everything, you stifle the sense of wonder and exploration in yourself and in your children. Vulnerability is a beautiful quality but one that doesn’t come easy to most of us. I just finished a study on the subject vulnerability with a group of other women.
We used the book, Daring Greatly by author and popular TED Talk speaker, Brenee Brown. I found it very motivating.
How about you? What experiences have you had with control and parenting? Any tips for the rest of us?