Can a Parent Be Too Strict?

Parent disciplining child

By Jordan Beach, MSW, Courier & Press, August 30, 2016 –

Parenting is one of the most demanding and difficult jobs around. We are surrounded with conflicting opinions about parenting and what is best for our children.

You can find debates on any parenting subject — breastfeeding vs. bottle-feeding, co-sleeping vs. crib sleeping, allowing your child to have electronics vs. unplugging. The list goes on and on.

Another big debate is whether parents should adopt a strict parenting style as opposed to more permissive parenting.

The truth is, there is no definite right or wrong answer for any of these issues. Being a parent involves finding a way to walk the fine line that separates extreme forms of parenting styles.

A common term used for parents who are very strict is “helicopter parents.”  This basically means the parents are constantly hovering over the child, making sure their every move falls within the confines of what the parent deems appropriate.

Knowing where your kids are and what they’re doing is important, and ensuring they complete assignments is practical.  However, watching over their every move can often be detrimental in the long run. Children need to learn how to fall down and stand up again on their own.

Watching your child get hurt is never an easy thing to do. As parents, our natural instinct is to fix the problem, and if possible, prevent it from happening in the first place.

Many times this leads to parents arguing with teachers about grades or behavior, becoming involved in conflicts their child is having with peers or fighting to ensure their child never sits the bench.

Allowing your child to fail, though difficult to watch, is essential for growth and development. When your child suffers the consequences of failing to complete an assignment, it will help them learn the importance of time management.

There will be a time in your child’s life when they are expected to complete tasks independently. Help guide your child and teach them how to prioritize and complete tasks on their own. This will help them become self-reliant and lead to further success in school and future endeavors.

When your child fails to follow the rules at school and there are consequences, they  learn to respect authority. The desire to rescue your child when they are in trouble is normal. However, when you fight against an authority figure, you are teaching your child that the rules do not apply to them and they do not have to do what is asked of them.

When your child has a conflict with a peer, it is important to allow them to work it out on their own.  Allowing them to solve their own problems helps them learn conflict resolution skills, molding them into problem solvers and good communicators.

Watching your children struggle is never an easy thing to do. However, if you allow them to learn and grow by guiding them but ultimately allowing them to make their own decisions, they will be more independent later. The skills they learn as children will help them become more successful adults.

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