10 Signs of Controlling Parents of Adult Children

10 Signs of Controlling Parents of Adult Children

Genesis 29:19 – Laban said, “It is better that I give her to you than that I should give her to any other man; stay with me.”

 In this story in Genesis 29, we see Laban meddling in his adult daughters’ lives, creating pain, problems, and perils that last a lifetime. He tricks Jacob into marrying his older, less attractive daughter Leah before also marrying off his daughter Rachel, who Jacob originally wanted to marry, to him as well.

The following are 10 signs of controlling parents of adult children:

  1. Interfering in everything
  2. Use of manipulation tactics
  3. Conditional love
  4. Demanding obedience
  5. Harsh punishments that do not align with the offense
  6. Lack of empathy and respect
  7. Lack of appreciation for individuality
  8. Eliminating or providing little privacy
  9. Criticizing or having an unsolicited opinion about independent choices
  10. Unattainable or perfectionist standards


The big idea is this: There are three types of relationships parents and adult children can have.

  1. They can have a healthy relationship, which is my hope, prayer, and goal for you and your parents and/or children.
  2. They can have an unhealthy relationship, which is what Laban and his daughters had.
  3. They can have no relationship which, sadly, is what sometimes needs to happen if a parent refuses to have a healthy relationship with their adult children that they’re not in control of. This eventually happens when Jacob and his wives move far away from Laban.

 Though this can be a very tough topic for many people, especially as they start to move from single to married, I pray that this list is helpful in identifying where you or your parents could use some help from the Holy Spirit to have a more healthy, life-giving relationship through all stages of life.

 If you’re a parent, have you acted in any of these ways towards your children? If so, repent to God and to them and seek to repair this part of your relationship. If you’re not yet a parent, learn from these lessons now so you can have the best relationship possible with your adult children in the future.

To help you study the book of Genesis with us, check out the third free e-book study guide here.

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Mark Driscoll
[email protected]

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