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The Disadvantages of Strict Parenting

by Renee Miller

Strict parenting is typically referred to as the authoritarian parenting style, because strict parents tend to impose a rigid structure of rules upon their children. In a strict home, parents expect children to follow rules without question. While parents must be strict sometimes, particularly when it comes to issues like your child’s safety, using this style of parenting in every aspect of your child’s life can cause problems.

Rebellion

In a strict home, parents tend toward an authoritarian style of parenting, in which there are rules in place for all aspects of a child’s life. This leaves very little room for autonomy, which children need in order to develop into responsible adults. This can sometimes lead to rebellion because while under a strict rule system, children don’t get the opportunity to learn right from wrong themselves. They do not internalize self-discipline because they’ve been taught simply to follow rules and do not learn to self-regulate. When Mom and Dad are no longer there to tell the child what to do, the child may act impulsively without considering the consequences to himself or others. According to Aha! Parenting, strict limits do control behavior, but only temporarily.

Communication Problems

Typically, strict parents are not perceived as warm or open, and this can lead to poor communication between strict parents and their children. When a child is afraid that his feelings, thoughts or actions might be criticized or punished, he is not as likely to share these things with his parents. This is a problem because children need to be able to confide in their parents when they encounter problems they are unable to resolve on their own.

Secrets and Lies

When children have a lot of strict rules placed upon them, they learn quickly how to avoid punishment, and many times this means hiding friends or activities from their parents. According to The Youth Centre, which is a non-profit community health center for youth and young adults in Ontario, Canada, children raised in strict households become secretive to avoid consequences. For example, your child may avoid inviting friends over, lie or refuse to talk about her day because she is afraid of being reprimanded or punished in front of her friends or because of her actions. So, a strict parent may not be aware of the friends her children has. As a result, it is difficult to monitor the influences in the child’s life.

Blind Obedience

A strict household doesn’t allow children to make decisions on their own. This can lead to dangerous consequences, because children who are unable to think independently may be easily led by others. When all a child knows is strict discipline, he may learn that the person with the most power in a relationship is always right, and thus he should obey this person. As this child grows, he may not question authority when he should. According to Aha! Parenting, these children are less likely to take responsibility of their actions, and more willing to follow their peer group.

Bullying

Children raised in a strict home often become angry and aggressive. A strict parent typically establishes limits without empathy. Rules must be obeyed without question and often without explanation. As a result, children have no outlet for emotions like frustration. According to Aha! Parenting, the parent-child relationship in a strict home with an authoritarian parenting style is based on fear, and children learn from experience and from what their parents model. When children do as they're told because they're afraid of Mom and Dad, the relationship is similar to that of a bully and his victim. Aha! Parenting says "If you yell, they'll yell. If you use force, they'll use force." This is because in an authoritarian home, children learn that fear means power, and they may model that behavior around their peers through bullying.

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