Introduction: Parental behavioural control is believed to be beneficial for young children. However, with increased need for independence during adolescence, parental rules may undermine self-beliefs.
Methods: The current study examined the effect of behavioural control, plus parental support and psychological control, on the self-esteem and self-criticism of 243 Australian adolescents (mean age = 12.08, 52% female) over two years.
Results: Behavioural control largely did not predict self-esteem. Furthermore, in girls it predicted higher self-criticism 12 and 24 months later. Behavioural control does not appear to benefit adolescents’ self-cognitions and, in fact, increases self-criticism in girls.
Conclusions: By providing copious rules around appropriate behaviours, parents may possibly indicate to girls that they are not capable of becoming independent, thus reducing feelings of competence.