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Abstract The central aim of this research was to investigate the possibility that when parents use heightened control with children, children develop perfectionistic concerns, which may foster depressive symptoms. Mothers' use of control with their elementary school children (N=104) was observed in the laboratory along with their affective expression toward their children; children's behavior (e.g., task engagement) that might influence mothers' use of control was also observed. Self-oriented and socially prescribed perfectionism and depression were assessed in children through self-report. Mothers using heightened control had children with perfectionistic concerns, particularly socially prescribed ones. This was not due to mothers' affective expression or children's behavior. Children's socially prescribed perfectionism mediated the link between mothers' use of heightened control and children's heightened depressive symptoms.