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5 Ways Your Kid is Telling You That You’re Too Strict of a Parent

Learn the signs that you are too strict of a parent and your rules and routines are limiting your child’s development.

Like many newly weds, my parents got a puppy. That puppy was given the name Champion, and he was treated like a king. Well, for a few years.

My parents promptly had 5 children (the oldest being me), and that dog got less and less attention. He was thrown in the basement when any of us were eating food (which to be honest was probably the majority of the time). His sleeping space got moved from my parent’s bed to the basement couch.

That sweet dog’s life goal became finding the opportunity to sneak through an open door and run away until he couldn’t run anymore.

Right about now, I expect that you are asking yourself why I am talking about my childhood dog.

Boundaries, rules, and restrictions are good, but they can be draining and confining.

Our children, most likely, will not run out the door if we are being too strict of a parent; however, they show other negative signs.

Are You too Strict of a Parent?

Child-raising specialist Laura Markham explains (in her “What’s Wrong with Strict Parenting?”, n.d., Aha! ) that studies on discipline consistently show that strict parenting actually produces kids with lower self-esteem who behave worse than other kids.

If parents pay close attention, there are plenty of signs that they are setting too many boundaries and restrictions. These are 5 common signs that you are too strict of a parent:

1. You never ask for your kid’s opinion or input

Are you a my-way-or-the-highway parent? If you rarely ask for your child’s input on things, then you may be.

Kids will model our behavior. If we parent with fear (or “you WILL do as I say”) we are teaching our kids that bullying is the best way to get others to listen. If you parent by yelling or setting super strict boundaries, your child will try to communicate with others in this way.

This type of parenting style, also known as authoritarian, has been shown to raise kids who only rebel later in life.

Try this: Ask your kids how they feel regularly. “Where do you think we should go for dinner?” or “Is there a movie you would like to see tonight?”

Related: What is Positive Parenting?

2. You focus on rules, routines, and restrictions

The more you live within your tight comfort zone, the harder it is to break out.

Some routines can give kids a sense of security. They know what to expect and when. However, unbending rules and firm routines can hamper a child’s ability to develop resilient qualities.

Some freedom will teach kids how to be flexible and handle different situations in life – that don’t follow exactly what they expected.

Try this: Observe some other families around you. Are other kids allowed to play outside “past bedtime” on a Friday night while your kids must not stray from a routine? Try allowing your kids to break routine on weekends.

You may also like: How to Raise Kids like it’s the 90’s

3. You reward outcomes and not efforts

Often strict parents create a “black and white” or “right or wrong” atmosphere. In reality, there is a lot of gray area in life. A child who ‘lost’ or ‘failed’ may have worked very hard and deserves praise.

Children who are only rewarded for outcomes, and not efforts, develop priorities that reside in winning. The feel more pressure and anxiety.

Try This: Make it a point to tell your child that you are proud of them. Explain to them that winning isn’t everything. If they get a C on their test, despite studying, acknowledge their work and work together to think of a solution.

Related: How to Get Kids to Listen without Bribes and Threats

4. You frequently catch your kid in a lie or argument

Kids who are punished every time they make a mistake will learn to do anything they can to avoid consequences.

They become incredible liars.

They are often found tangled in arguments with other kids because they grow to believe that power and control is the key to a relationship. Also, they are frequent tattletales for this same reason.

Try this: If you regularly catch your child lying or having trouble getting a lot with other kids, it is time to talk to them about why they feel the need to avoid the truth.

Do these 5 things when you catch your kid in a lie.

5. Emotional Outbursts are Common

We all know them. The family of “screamers”. The parents are screaming, and the kids are screaming. All of the time.

Strict parenting hampers a kid’s ability to self-regulate their own emotions. When kids are controlled fully, they don’t develop important life skills such as self-discipline, conflict resolution, or impulse control.

Studies have even linked strict parenting styles to depression in children.

Try this: Take a moment to calm yourself down before disciplining your child. Approach them in a calm manner instead of with anger and punishment. Try these quick mindfulness activities for parents to calm down before talking to your kid.

Learn about these two toxic parenting styles too: Enmeshed parenting and helicopter parenting

So, What Parenting Style Does Work?

We know that routines and limitations are healthy for children, but too many rules and restrictions can hinder your child from developing emotionally. So, what do we do?

  1. Balanced, realistic routines– for example, children have to follow a specific bedtime during the week, but can stay up later on weekends.
  2. Logical expectationsage appropriate chores, being kind to family members
  3. Disciplining with natural consequences – “if you don’t wear your coat you will be cold” instead of “if you don’t wear your coat you will be grounded for a week”

Final Thoughts on Parenting Too Strict

Treat your child with respect by listening to them and having open conversations, and you will receive respect in return. And- you will avoid raising a child who wants to run out the door, like my childhood dog.

If you found this helpful, share it and follow us on Facebook for more honest conversations on raising kids who are healthy at home and strong in the world.

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Monday 4th of March 2024

Oh, I think you are very much right. The best in my view and experience should be; constructive criticism. A parent would go a long way by, first connecting with the child, mentoring the child and at whatever cost avoid controlling the would be young mind.

Faith Mulwa

Thursday 22nd of February 2024

I have liked the extract its so helpful to me mother of three.hoping to implement where i was failing but in have tried so far

Jaelle (jl)

Sunday 24th of December 2023

I legit think that I was born at the very best time ever- I was born in 81- so I had childhood in the 80s ( it was truly the dream childhood as far as all of the points listed here) and then had my middle school/ high school years in the 90s. Then I raised my babies in the 00's ( is that what we call those years? The zeroes lol ? 🤷‍♀️🤪🤣) My kids were born at the perfect time for them- 01, 02, and 04- my hubby and I worked hard to raise them like the 80s/90s and so lady of my friends would come over with their kiddos and they would all take off running to the backyard that is connected to a tiny little "forest " right in the middle of town lol. We got chickens and bunnies to teach the kids how to work etc.. they played outside and got bored- yet they also learned how to do all of the technology as it came out ( so did I which is another reason I think I was born at the perfect time!) The two oldest are on the autism spectrum and they were both born with crazy rare health issues ( not the same diseases/illnesses of course because that would be too easy 🙄) that caused us to be in and out of the children's hospital an hour and a half away from us.. throughout their lives- and because of that we homeschooled and also just because as soon as they handed me my first born my hubby and I were like yep we're homeschooling he's too wonderful i can't handle him leaving me when he's only 5- on up lol 🤣. The two oldest were born 11 months and 5 days apart and then the baby of the family came two years later- went it was truly the very best ever time of my life. Now they're young adults- still at home for now while they keep learning how to "adult" with complex health issue and autism plus the baby is just happy to still be at home while she also continues to learn how to "adult" and doesn't feel a huge push to jump out into the real world yet.. and me qnd hubby are A-OK with that lol! We love that they're not quite ready to launch into the real world but we're also super excited for what life has in store for them when they do stretch their wings and fly! All three of them have made comments about how they love that they were raised like "90s kids " yet also had cable/ internet/laptops/tablets/gaming systems etc. I just feel really blessed and I wholeheartedly feel like it's such a great way to raise kiddos! I love love love your post and I hope that lots of people read it and take it to heart! We sure were lucky to be 90s kids! 😉🥰 (Oh and sorry i just wrote a novel- I love to talk can you tell? Lol 😆) -jl


Sunday 24th of December 2023

I very much enjoyed learning about your story. You and I sound very similar! Thank you for reading and sharing!


Tuesday 14th of February 2023

Studies were sighted in article, the studies you refer to would be nice to see. Thank you!


Monday 20th of February 2023

Yes! Anywhere a study is referenced you can click on the underlined word and it will take you to the source. Thanks for reading!

5 Ways Your Kid is Telling You That You’re Too Strict of a Parent – JcgregSolutions

Saturday 15th of October 2022

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