By: Ruchita Robinson
How strict a parent should you be?
How strict a parent we are largely depends on how we were brought up. It also depends on how handle different types of discilpining. Time and again we face situations which force us to think about the right way to discipline our children.
Authoritarian or Permissive
An authoritarian parent takes all the control in his hand and demands obedience in all conditions. Research has proventhat trying to maintain control through power does not lead to effective results. The same resonate with children of authoritarian parents. Trying to enforce discipline through threats or punishments will yield short-term results on the surface. Research suggests that children of such parents suffer from long-term behaviroural problems (Pinquart 2017) and are more likely to get into alcohol use and abuse (Glozah 2014; Calafat et al 2014).
Children turn towards extreme behaviours like being very fearful or a complete rebel. If that is the case, should permissiveness be a better alternative for a parent? Being a permissive parent means that you have permitted the children to have the power of control. Children of such parents exhibit a poor self-control (Piotrowski et al 2013) and are more likely to get involved in self-destructive activities, like substance abuse (Lamborn et al 1991). They usually feel insecure about love as their heedless behaviour makes them feel unloved. They are also seen to feel guilty as they always get their way.
The third option
First of all, it is important to understand that we are dealing with children, not adults. They do not know or understand the consequences of all their actions. Hence, it is necessary to strike a balance between being a strict parent and a lenient parent. While you have to be prudent and exercise caution, make sure to give them enough space to be what they were meant to be. If you are mad about your kids jumping from one bed to another, running all around the house, listening to rock and pop music or wearing their favourite t-shirt every other day, take a deep breath and relax. This is the story of every house and you should park these things in the negotiable zone.
Here are few areas where should draw the boundaries and know why. Keep a check on their eating and sleeping habits Putting the children to sleep can be a tough battle for the parents. But we must ensure that they have a consistent bedtime routine and get an adequate amount of sleep every day. Good sleep not only revitalises the body but is also necessary for the growth and development of children. It also protects the mental health of children and keeps them away from depression, anxiety or substance abuse in future.
In the same way, allowing the children to consume too much of junk food or aerated drinks can also affect their health. Make sure they get a nutritious diet which includes fruits, veggies, milk, eggs, fish and other foods which are essential for their physical and mental development. Health is an area which should not be compromised with. It is not wrong to discipline them for a healthy body and healthy mind.
The path of accountability
Teaching your children to be accountable or responsible should be a non-negotiable area for every parent. Make sure they follow the rules at school and respect the authorities. If they undertake any responsibility at school or home, check that they do it on time. Be firm on your policies like being punctual to school, wearing the uniform, looking after your stuff, mending it, taking care of your pets and more. Taking responsibility for yourself, your stuff are important lessons that need to be taught by parents. Kindness It is necessary to be strict about rude, inconsiderate or unkind behaviour towards siblings, friends or other people. Teach your kids to be kind towards their siblings and take care of them.
Showing considerate behaviour towards family, friends or pets lays the foundation of kindness and humility in the life of the children. All these qualities are essential for a happy life, both as a child and adult. Apart from these areas, late night outings or spending too much time on gadgets should also be restricted for the good of the children. On the other hand, allow your kids to enjoy their space. Let them make their own choices of what clothes they want to wear or the extracurricular activities they want to sign up for. While overeating junk food is a complete no-no, taking your kids for occasional treats should not be a problem at all. Striking the right balance between being a strict and a lenient parent is all you need to work on.
Maintain a healthy communication with your children and explain the pros and cons of any action or demand they want to fulfil. There is no doubt that our desire to be strict with our children comes from the noble intention of protecting them from harm or trying to discipline them. But it is also important to realise that even though your intentions are good, it is the approach you follow that can make or break the well-being of your children.