How Much Strictness Is Too Much Strictness When It Comes to Parenting
- Updated on 10 Jun 2021
- Parents Corner
- Indrani Raha
- 5 mins read
“That’s not fair! Rahul’s mom lets him watch FRIENDS for hours!” Or does this sound familiar: “Dristi’s dad lets her stay out ’till 10 pm on birthday nights! Why can’t you?“
How many times have you heard your fifteen-year-old say something like this? Wondering if you are too authoritative with your little champ? Does your teen make you feel like an ogre when you push them to limits? Does the word “NO” kick-off crying, yelling, and protests? No worries, we understand! You want to be firm with your kiddo, but you don’t want to sound unreasonable either, which is what controlling parents often are. Yes, it is true. Discipline dilemmas plague all of us as parents. As a result, sometimes we are unable to decide whether strict parenting or lenient parenting is better for kids.
Listen! Making your 7-year-old put away their shoes is okay. But making them keep the shoes lined up in the closet at all times is too strict. Don’t you think so? If your teen gets sassy at the dinner table, what do you do? Give them a time-out or take away a prized possession? Well, when taken to the extreme, being too strict can lead to adverse long-term effects for your children, including the encouragement of certain harmful behaviors like smoking and drinking alcohol. Placing unrealistic demands on your child sets them up for failure and frustrates you. So we always suggest it’s best to find that sweet spot between a controlling and relaxed approach. Do you often question how much strictness is not too much strictness? It can be hard to realize if the limits you set are reasonable or not, especially when your juniors are howling that “everyone else is allowed to do it!” So, we have come up with a few points about changing the strictness quotient and creating a fine line between being a parent-parent and a friend-parent.
Do you know?
According to a new poll by YouGov found when it comes to American family parenting, strictness is considered a virtue, not wrongdoing.
In fact, 75 percent of all those who asked what strictness level parents should be answered “fairly strict.” The answers were pretty consistent. To most of them, being “fairly strict” is the best option. They also found an interesting difference between what people consider to be the best parenting practices and what they experienced themselves. According to their research, most people think authoritative parenting produces better-behaved kids. However, that’s not so. Discipline consistently shows that strict or controlling parents make kids with lower self-esteem who behave worse than other kids- and therefore get punished more. Authoritarian parenting actually creates behavior problems in children.
How far is being strict with kids, right?
A young mind is not meant to be obedient all the time. This is because their wishes and desires are often entirely at odds with an adult’s. And so it is often believed that when it comes to parenting, strictness plays a vital role in bringing back the kids to track. However, this approach often unknowingly leads the young minds in the wrong direction… Being strict with children at every step can result in opposite consequences. This, in fact, is a prevalent parenting issue that most pre-teen parents complain about. You can scold or bribe your kid into obedience, but it would be just for a little. By doing so, you are missing out on the bigger picture. The commanding approach rarely works on children as they dwell in a care-free space in their minds, where our firm and full-fledged regulations often fail to reach. Being strict with a child often ends up instilling negative moods, anxiety, feeling of guilt, and rebelliousness in a child.
So what do you do?
- Lower your expectation level
It is okay and completely normal for you to expect good things out of them when parenting your children. The problem arises when expectations are pegged too high, and you expect them to fulfill all of them every time. As a result, you keep pushing your champs to be the topper in their class in every test. It is evident that most children will not be able to live up to these expectations. As they fail, you tend to punish or reprimand them, making the situation more critical. Actually, to be frank, too much strictness often translates into raised expectation bars which destroy their happy-go-lucky childhood years.
- If you are always up to handing out directions every time
If you find yourself always giving instructions like “sit straight,” “do not drag your feet,” “eat properly,” it is a sign of overbearing strictness. Believe it or not, children will not appreciate being talked down to all the time, and some of the other days, they will learn to tune you out. So, we suggest that you know to overlook little things and save your instructions for critical issues. This is how you will have a better chance of being listened to.
- Too Many Restrictions is a sign of strict parenting
If you notice that your kids are constantly reeling under a bundle of rules, then it is a sign that you are too authoritative with them. You can always have a different set of rules than other parents. But if you are always identifiable as doing bad parenting till date from amongst a group of random parents, then dear parents, it is time to review your stand on strictness.
- You cannot tolerate Silliness
Well, to tell the truth, most children revel in Silliness, and outlandish jokes. They have an acute sense of humor that many of us do not appreciate. If you find yourself getting annoyed or irritated at your baby’s silly behavior, then it is time for you to rethink your perspective. As controlling parents, you are too strict when you are unable to appreciate the innocence that children bring to your life.
- You Have a “ZERO” Tolerance Policy
You have set a kind of strict parenting or rigid non-flexible rules like “Dinner time is at 8:30 pm “or “no going out after 8 pm” and do not tolerate any exceptions. When your kids don’t follow your rules, you immediately scold or punish them without analyzing the circumstances. Although no tolerance policy will generate temporary fear in your children’s minds, it will not motivate them to obey you in the long run.
The friendly- approach of happy parenting- Avenue to eternal well being
A Happy and healthy parent intervention and involvement in the kid’s day-to-day life lay the foundation for improved emotional, intellectual, social, and academic skills. This is where the friends and pleasant approach comes into play. Many significant studies performed by renowned child psychologists state that this particular approach profoundly influences young minds. Result? Ah, well, they are always on the positive side. If you are trying to teach them about anything, it is important to make them feel comfortable first. You know, this is the key to draw their attention, interest, and reverence automatically towards you and your advice. By not being “so strict,” you are helping them enhance their cognitive capabilities, develop a positive attitude, and cope with different struggles spontaneously.
So what’s your Takeaway…
Your intention of being a strict parent is good indeed. Through discipline, you want to streamline their life, give it a structure and make them disciplined and successful. Still, sometimes, as you start setting and holding them to more consistent limits, you might feel that you are being overly strict. Let’s keep it simple: limit-setting is just one part of effective parenting and needs to be paired with teaching and coaching. They also need you to teach better problem-solving skills and coach them to try out new things in life. They may never say thank you, but yes, that is true; setting limits is one of the best gifts you can give your child.
But wait. You can still do all the above and bring changes in their lives without being very strict. These are just a few of the thousand ways of measuring your strictness in terms of parenting. If you rate yourself as doing bad parenting till date, it’s worth it to think of what your child-raising goal is. See, the bottom line is – what is your vision of your relationship ten years from now?
Do you want your teen to visit you, talk to you, or take care of you as you grow old? Do you want them to be in your life? If YES, begin today by exploring ways to tread a middle path where you are neither too strict nor too lenient just by sharing your experiences or sharing any suggestions.
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