Similar to many newlyweds, my parents welcomed a puppy named Champion. Initially, he was treated like royalty, but as the family expanded with five children, Champion’s attention dwindled. He was confined to the basement during mealtimes and moved from the parent’s bed to a basement couch for sleep.
His life goal transformed into seeking every chance to escape through an open door, running until he couldn’t anymore.
You might be wondering why I’m discussing our family dog from my childhood right now.
While boundaries, rules, and restrictions are essential, they can sometimes be confining and exhausting.
Too much strictness might not lead our kids to run out the door, but it does manifest in other negative signs.
Signs You Might Be Too Strict as a Parent:
- Ignoring your child’s opinions: If you rarely seek your child’s input, you might be adopting a my-way-or-the-highway approach. This authoritarian style can instill fear and lead to later rebellion.
Tip: Engage your kids regularly by asking their opinions on choices, such as dinner plans or movie preferences.
- Overemphasis on rules and routines: While routines provide security, rigid rules hinder a child’s ability to adapt. Allowing some flexibility can help children cope with unexpected situations.
Tip: Observe and consider loosening rigid routines during weekends to allow for some flexibility.
- Rewarding outcomes over efforts: Black-and-white thinking can create pressure and anxiety. Acknowledging effort, regardless of outcomes, is crucial.
Tip: Praise your child’s efforts and discuss that winning isn’t everything, reinforcing the value of hard work.
- Frequent lies and arguments: Punishment-driven parenting may lead children to avoid consequences by lying. They may resort to arguments for control in relationships.
Tip: Engage in open conversations about truthfulness and navigating relationships without conflict.
- Common emotional outbursts: Excessive strictness hampers a child’s emotional regulation and can lead to ongoing screaming matches. Studies have even connected strict parenting to childhood depression.
Tip: Approach disciplining in a calm manner rather than reacting with anger and punishment. Employ mindfulness techniques to stay calm when interacting with your child.
What Parenting Style Works Best?
A balanced approach includes realistic routines, logical expectations, and disciplining with natural consequences. It fosters healthy emotional development without excessive restrictions.
Final Thoughts on Overly Strict Parenting
Respect your child’s opinions and engage in open conversations, fostering mutual respect. This approach helps avoid raising children who feel emotionally confined, akin to my childhood dog’s desire to escape.