The Consequences of Being an Intrusive Mother

Trust and privacy are two key aspects of the relationship with an adolescent. If we don't respect them, we may have various troubles.
The Consequences of Being an Intrusive Mother
Elena Sanz Martín

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz Martín.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

Plenty of teenagers complain that their parents don’t respect their privacy, that they control them, and want to know everything that is going on in their lives. Undoubtedly, as their mother and the person responsible for their physical and emotional well-being, you need to be informed of their day-to-day businesses. However, being an intrusive mother may bring more trouble than benefits.

In fact, the line between being an involved and an intrusive mother isn’t always completely clear. As we traverse motherhood, we need to learn how to find the balance between neglectful abandonment and meddling.

However, we should be able to create an environment that is adequate for our children’s levels of maturity and development. Otherwise, we may get unpleasant reactions and fall into not-very-healthy dynamics.

The Consequences of Being an Intrusive Mother

What is an intrusive mother?

An intrusive mother is one who demands to know every little detail of their child’s life. She doesn’t do this with the intention of keeping up with them and accompanying them, but with the desire to control, manage and apply the solutions she unilaterally deems more adequate.

This type of mother can pressure their children to share everything that is going on in their day-to-day lives, to express even the emotions that they don’t wish to share, and to do so at the moment she tells them to. They say they do so out of love and worry, but they actually have a controlling and not-very-sympathetic attitude.

They make no effort to build trust with their children and to create safe spaces where they can express themselves freely. On the contrary, they demand to keep up with everything they do and they manipulate their children so that they reveal information.

These mothers may also exhibit behaviors such as checking on their children’s personal items, talking to their children’s friends without their consent, or spying on their mobile phones. The end justifies any means, even if this implies making the child uncomfortable, violating their privacy, or crossing trust boundaries.

Consequences of being an intrusive mother

Those who behave in this way believe they’re doing a great thing for their children. They feel that by exercising this control, they’ll make no mistakes, or that they’ll be able to know when their children need help and how to provide it. However, the results usually show a very different outcome.

In the first place, the message that children receive is that they aren’t trusted, which is why it’s necessary to control, check, and know everything they do. Trust is a key element in the relationship between mother and child and it needs to work both ways. If you don’t allow your child to gradually gain your trust — if you don’t give them the chance – they’ll probably hide their businesses even more. If you don’t trust them, they won’t trust you.

On the other hand, what an intrusive mother tells her child with her behavior is that she doesn’t deem them capable of taking care of themself. For example, when she’s constantly breathing down their neck, asking them what homework they have to do, and managing the way and moment they’ll do them, she isn’t trusting that they can be responsible. As a consequence, the child won’t trust their own abilities either, and the development of autonomy will be limited.

Lastly, the pressure exerted may cause the minor to think mistakes aren’t acceptable. If their mother is constantly watching them, supervising them and telling them how to do things, it must be because failure isn’t an option. This can create perfectionist and excessively self-demanding attitudes that will end up being really damaging.

The Consequences of Being an Intrusive Mother

Respect their space

To prevent all those things from happening, it’s important to respect your children’s space according to their age and maturity. Teenagers need more privacy than children.

In the same way, they won’t need their parents to breathe down their neck so that they comply with their responsibilities. It’s essential to trust them and allow them to make their own decisions and to make mistakes and correct them.

If you wish that your children count on you and share their worries and concerns with you, show that you’re available and open, but not intrusive. Allow them to choose what to share and when to do it.

In the same way, give them responsibilities and a vote of confidence for them to comply with them. This will foster autonomy, self-esteem, and trust in their children. Besides, it will help make your bond more solid and healthy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.