17 Signs That You Are A Strict Parent

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You decide everything for your child. They can’t question your rules, and you make sure to know what exactly they are doing and hold them accountable. If they miss out on any rule, you punish them.

Does it resonate with you? That’s how a typical strict parent behaves. But is that the right way of parenting? Can it do any good for the child or will it harm them? This post answers all these questions in this post. Read on.

What is strict parenting?

Strict parenting involves rigid enforcement of rules and restrictions on a child’s behavior, choices, activities, and even their everyday routine.

It is characterized by high expectations and has severe punishments as a consequence of failing the set standards and rules.

However, the word ‘strict’ is subjective as there is no formal manual to follow for parenting. Parents following the same style as you do will not consider you to be strict. But other parents may.

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Signs that you are a strict parent

You may not always be aware that you are being too strict in the name of protecting your child. So, look out for these signs of a strict parent:

  1. Your child is the first one to leave a party and come back home. You set a time for your children/teens to come back home from a party, and it is so early that they are the first ones to leave every party.
  1. You do not allow your child/teen to have a sleepover or hang out at night. Going out with friends is never encouraged, and staying back at a friend’s place cannot even be thought of.
  1. You agree to your young one’s demands only when you are in a pleasant mood. Your children do not consider you approachable. Rather, they are afraid and wait for you to be in a good mood before asking anything.
  1. It’s always one time. You will allow your teen to go out only once a month but not on all the weekends.
  1. Your son or daughter lies to you. When kids and teens are extremely afraid about their parents’ reactions and the consequences of doing something unpleasant, they resort to lying.
  1. You never had ‘the talk’ with your teenager. For some strict parent, it is too personal to talk about puberty and you can’t imagine being friendly and open with your teen. So, you leave it for them to figure it out.
  1. Only formal conversations. During family dinners, you only discuss their grades and school, and never about their social life.
  1. You still choose for your teen. You do not allow your teen to wear anything of their choice. And if they do, you give not-so-nice remarks.
  1. You won’t take anything ‘unacceptable’. You cannot imagine your son or daughter getting their hair dyed or wearing ‘revealing’ clothes. Such actions will have strict consequences.
  1. Your kids are uncomfortable with you. Whenever you are around, your children are not comfortable expressing their ideas, laughing aloud or talking to their friends.
  1. You do not laugh with your kids. You never crack jokes in front of your children and vice versa.
  1. One mistake becomes too big. If your teen misses one call from you, you assume the worst. And sometimes, you even take the phone away.
  1. Your punishments are too severe. For missing out on one rule, you will not talk to your child, or withdraw affection for a long time.
  1. You do not take feedbacks. Whatever you say, your child is expected to follow. There is no chance to discuss and exchange thoughts about it.
  1. Fun is missing at home. You hardly do fun things and have happy moments with your children, just because you have to maintain your strictness.
  1. Fun for your child is somewhere away from home. Your child thinks of spending free time out of the home, either outdoors or at some friend’s house. And that they do by lying to you.
  1. Your teen/ child is withdrawing from you. Your child is perhaps withdrawing because of your overwhelming rigidity.

A few of the above signs do not make you a strict parent because they are followed by not-so-strict parents as well. It is the rigidity that makes a difference. Let’s see the other differences.

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Strict vs Normal Parenting

The following are the differences between strict parents and normal parents:

Strict parentingNormal parenting
For strict parents, there are rules for every aspect of their child’s life and they are irreplaceable.Normal parents do set rules and consequences but they are not rigid.
Strict parents punish children for minor mistakes. In this way, they try to show their concern and care for the child.They do not believe in punishing children but make them realize their mistakes in a constructive manner.
They rarely say “yes” to their young ones’ requests. These kids often stop asking for things after a time, knowing that their parents will not agree anyway.Normal parents believe in giving an affirmative response to a child’s request if it is reasonable. But they do consider if saying yes would do any harm to the child.
Strict parents set rules with regards to academic and school performance. They expect children to do well in studies and other activities. Failure is not taken easily.They understand the importance of academics and education. Although they set rules for learning, they also understand the child’s capabilities and do not reprimand them for their failures.
They obsess over curfew hours and do not let their children be away from home for long.Normal parents give their child the freedom to go out with their friends and have fun. But they make it clear to the children that they can’t misuse the freedom.

Although being strict with your child is not always advisable, it has some benefits too.

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What are the advantages of strict parenting?

While strictness may impair psychological development in the child, healthy emotional support, along with home rules, can benefit the children later in their life. Here are some of the advantages of strict parenting:

  1. Academic performance: Strict parents push their children to work hard, be good at academics, and get a good job. They set up high standards for their kids, and they are raised and trained to always aim high.
  1. Self-control: Strict parents make their children follow specific limits and boundaries. This way, children learn to have better control over themselves. They are less likely to fall to peer pressure.
  1. Self-confidence: When the parents are constantly pushing their kids to improve and work harder, children learn to deal with tough situations. This could result in success and confidence.

Remember that these advantages of strict parenting come at a cost.

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What are the negative effects of strict parenting?

Let us now take a look at the adverse effects of strict parenting:

  1. Low self-esteem: Strict parents do not value their children’s opinion. They are snubbed for voicing their ideas or concerns. This makes the children doubtful about their decisions and could result in poor self-esteem.
  1. Cannot think independently: Children/ teens raised by strict parents are so used to take advice and instructions that they lack independent thinking. They never get to listen to their instincts to take a decision.
  1. Passive by nature: With the parents always controlling their lives, children become passive towards their own life. They refuse to take control of their life even after they grow up.
  1. Never experiment: When kids have a fear of failure or committing mistakes, they play safe. They would normally refrain from trying something new.
  1. Mentally rigid: The rigidity of strict parents rubs on their children as they get used to such an atmosphere at home. They tend to see the world only in black and white and may fail to see it in all its shades and accept different sorts of people.
  1. Stressed: The children feel stressed out as they always have to be cautious in front of their parents. They need to be conscious of what they are speaking, doing and thinking.
  1. Hide emotions: Over time, children raised by strict parents learn to hide their feelings and emotions, as they understand that expressing feelings is not acceptable.

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Your intention of being a strict parent could be good. You may want to discipline your children to streamline their life, give it a structure and make them disciplined and successful. But what if you could do that all without being very strict? Explore ways to tread a middle path where you are neither too strict nor too lenient.

Do you have any experiences or suggestions to share? Do write to us in the comment section below.

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Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena

(PhD (Counseling Psychology))
Dr. Carlos Juan Carmona-Goyena is a board licensed therapist in the USA and Puerto Rico with a specialty in couples, families, and relationships. Dr. Carlos possesses a PhD in Counseling Psychology granted at the Interamerican University of Puerto Rico. His two-decade professional experience also includes scientific research in family emotional and relational processes and its effect on psychological functioning. Dr.... more

Kalpana M

Kalpana Nadimpalli graduated in English Literature and Psychology. Her fascination for the corporate world made her do a Masters in Business Administration. Being a mother of two boys, she could naturally fit into the shoes of a writer at MomJunction. She wrote articles on new parenting and relationships. Previously, Kalpana worked as a product information specialist and technical writer. During her... more