Do strict parents raise better kids?
What does it even mean to be a strict parent?
Manuals on how to be the best parents have changed drastically over the last century. From straps and soap in the mouth to fulfilling their every desire, the best ways to ‘parent’ has always been a hot topic.
Now, the battle to be the finest parents with the most darling children is more competitive than ever before. So is it the stern Mum and Dad that win best parents of the year or has ‘strict’ parenting gained too much of an unfair and malicious reputation? Before we jump on the bandwagon and say that all strict parents are far too mean, let’s clarify what exactly it means to be a ‘strict’ parent.
Effective parenting is all about establishing clear limits and teaching children to deal with the consequences of their own actions. This is something that strict parents do, they nurture their children’s development with consistency. They know how to set up standards and stress the importance of reaching them. I’m sure that we all agree that parents are responsible of their own children, and therefore they need to continuously monitor them.
However, in this day and age, can parents even have the random phone or room check without being accused of invading their child’s privacy? Parents, you are the boss, the legal guardian, the one who is liable for your minor’s actions!
Let’s take a step back and take a look at some of the most traditional parenting, ‘strict’ parenting (Without the soap and strap, of course!). If you look at the positive outcomes of being a stern parent, you will see the overwhelming amount of good that comes from it. So here it goes, this is why I support ‘strict’ parenting:
1. Academic Achievement
A strict parent is more likely to push their children to perform at their highest ability. I don’t mean locking your child in a room till they complete every level of calculus, but just help them see that with a bit of a push, they can reach amazing heights at whatever they choose to pursue. Again, it’s all about setting those standards. Such kids will learn self-discipline and more importantly, self-belief.
According to research from the University of Florida, children raised by authoritative parents are most associated with academic success because they are typically obedient and hence do well at school and other activities.
Along with actions come consequences. Everyone knows this, but how you deal with them is another story. Strict parents know that every consequence needs to be followed through and matched with the action. Your kid performs well? Reward them! They bullied the small kid at school again? Punish them! Yes, it’s that bloody simple.
Strict parents know that a punishment cannot be as effective as a reward, however it teaches real life lessons. If you are a parent who rewards and punishes when necessary, congratulations, you are a ‘strict’ parent and are instilling discipline in your kids.
Strict parents are teaching their children to be accountable for their actions and therefore they are ready to face whatever comes their way.
The children learn to make healthy decisions and thus they develop confidence in themselves. They can then face new challenges and confidently overcome them. They work hard to earn their success and obtain confidence in their own success rather than developing a large ego through too much praise. Yes, there is such a thing as too much praise, usually linked with permissive parents. Nobody wants an arrogant, conceited child.
The standards that strict parents set teach their kids about limits and enforcements from an early age. Through these boundaries, children are more likely to avoid peer pressure and less likely to get involved in inappropriate behaviour.
Since strict parents are consistent with discipline, their children will grow up with this kind of self-control. And yes, this self-discipline will come in handy in the future when they come to the tough decision of whether to have that last piece of chocolate or not.
Kids raised by strict parents tend to be independent because they learn to think for themselves. Strict parents believe in their capabilities.
They allow them to get jobs when they are old enough and let them learn to save on their own. Once again, if they are taught about consequences when they are young, they will know how to make informed decisions when it comes to saving and spending money. They are prepared from a young age to understand the value of money and how to work hard. Because, none of us want a 30-year-old child who still depends on Mum and Dad for money and God knows what else.
I don’t know whether there is such a thing as ‘‘moderated strictness’, but if there is, it’s the kind of strictness I am advocating for! Being overly strict can create rebellious trouble hunters.
If you are simply too strict to the point of ignoring your child’s need of love and affection and only allow a unilateral form of communication, where you set the rules and provide no explanations and expect them to be followed without any questions, you may risk their well-being. With this kind of strictness, you may risk raising children who are discontent, distrustful and withdrawn and this is the last thing you want!
Find the balance! The in-between state where limits are set yet still allowing your kids to air their complaints about your rules, as a way of showing them parental warmth. It is talking with your child, not talking at them.
Give them the voice they deserve but not a vote. Listen and understand and always explain why you are not supporting their particular approach. This way, they will understand the standards and strive to reach them. They will be self-motivated and believe that their input is respected and always considered. And remember, strict parenting does not equal a mouthful of soap!
Are you a strict parent?