By Rina Weaver
Parents are strict for various reasons, some good and some self-serving. Some strict parents have high expectations teaching their children self-discipline by holding them accountable. These parents mostly have their kids’ best interests at heart. But some strict parents are controlling because they fear being judged as incompetent parents if their children make mistakes. Such parents are more concerned about their own feelings and insecurity than their childrens’ well-being. Most justify their choice of parenting style using the either-or parenting rationale. They don’t want to raise defiant kids, and lenient parenting is often believed to cause defiance in children. So they turn to strict parenting. They believe that one can only be either permissive parents or strict parents. There’s nothing in-between. Most strict parents are cold, unresponsive, and unsupportive to their children. Their rules are often overly strict and arbitrary. These parents don’t allow their children to voice their opinions or question the parents’ decisions. They are controlling parents practicing the authoritarian parenting style, also known as the harsh parenting style, which generates worse outcomes than the authoritative style. Although some parents think that strict parenting produces better-behaved kids, studies show that such a parenting style actually produces kids that have more behavioral problems. Kids learn what they live and what their parents model. When harsh parents discipline their kids with punitive emotions, force, threats, and verbal and harsh punishments, they model how to react punitively when upset. As a result, most of these children have learned to become more rebellious, angry, impulsive, and aggressive when things don’t go their way (and therefore get punished even more!) These kids are also more likely to engage in risky behavior such as running away. Strict parents expect unquestionable obedience, conformity, and respect for authority, which are usually obtained with harsh discipline. As a result, super strict parents create a sneaky child. These children have learned to become good actors. They behave well at home but act differently when their parents are not around. Perhaps the most damaging effect of strict parenting is the strain it puts on the parent-child relationship, as no one likes to be controlled. If you’re a strict parent, it’s worth it to think of what your child-raising goal is. The bottom line is – what is your vision of your relationship 20 years from now? Do you want your child to visit you, talk to you, or answer your phone calls when they grow up? Do you want them to still be in your life?