Growing Up With Strict Parents: It May Not Be As Bad As You Think!

growing up with strict parents

When you are young, having strict parents can seem like the end of the world, however growing up with strict parents will be something you may come to be thankful for as an adult.  I know that looking back at my childhood I am glad that my parent’s were somewhat strict.  I wouldn’t say that they were drill sergeants, but my sister and I definitely had rules that we had better follow, and if we didn’t there were consequences we did not like. 

I’m sure to some of you this may seem like an odd topic for a site that is about encouraging language through play, but if you bear with me for a bit you will soon realize there is a connection.  Don’t worry, I won’t ramble on.

I felt compelled to write this post after seeing #growingupwithstrictparents trending on twitter.  Like I said, I am the child (now adult) of strict parent’s so I feel that I have a lot to say about this topic.  And since I am now a parent I am even more thankful to my own parents for how they raised me!

Growing Up With Strict Parents – Commonly heard phrases

Here are some phrases, or perhaps I should call them orders, that I often heard as a child (I won’t get into my teenage years).  And I will also explain why these statements are actually good for your child to hear:

  1. There Will Be No TV Watching Today! – I remember this being quite regular in our household.  There were quite a few no TV days and I always hated it.  My parent’s were also very selective in the types of shows we were allowed to watch. tv and child development I was often jealous of my friends who could watch what they wanted, whenever they wanted.  My parent’s liked to tell us TV will ruin your brain.  I thought they were making it up to make our lives more difficult.  But now, many years later, low and behold, they were right.  TV is not good for a child’s developing brain.  I am not saying absolutely no TV, but it should be limited.  Especially during the early childhood years.
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    Children do not learn by watching TV, they learn through human interaction.  Yes, they may pick up a few letters, numbers or even baby signs from educational TV shows, but the majority of learning comes through interacting with others and by playing.   Don’t get me wrong, I have let my kids watch TV so that I can get some stuff done or so that they will stop fighting with each other,  but I know that this is not “learning” time.  It’s let mommy have a breather time!


  2. Go Play With Your Toys Or We Will Give Them Away! – I now say this exact thing to my children.  They have so many toys just waiting to be played with.  But with electronics and gadgets dominating most households, children neglect their toys.  Luckily when I was growing up, the only electronic device I had was one TV for the entire family.child playing outdoors

    When I tell the kids that there will be no TV for the day they respond with “can we watch videos on the iPad?” to which my reply is obviously “NO”.  So the next question is “can I play a game on the iPad?” again, the answer is “NO”.  Then they move on to every other device in the house (iPod, Wii, DS).   So now I tell them “today is a no screen day”.  If it has a screen it won’t be turned on.
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    Toys are a much more valuable educational tool than any screen is for children 0-6 years.  My daughter is almost 8 and I still limit her screen time.  So many skills are learned through play.  Children learn about co-operation, story telling, using their imaginations, building their vocabularies and so much more.  Some children can easily play on their own while others need or want a bit of parental guidance and interaction.  Make sure you provide this to your children!  They will thank you for it once they are adults.


  3. No More Junk Food! – this was another pet peave of mine as a child.  So many of my friends brought white wonder bread with peanut butter (I may be aging myself here) to school and I had to bring rye bread with home made chicken salad.  My snacks consisted of fruits and veggies and if I was lucky I would get a granola bar as a special treat.  I am now the same with my kids and they bug me about it daily.  I hear the same thing my parent’s probably heard from me “…but my friend’s get fruit roll ups and cookies”.candy and child development
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    Children require nutritious meals and snacks in order to develop properly, both physically and mentally.  If they are loaded full of sugar it can affect many facets of their lives.  There are hundreds of articles that verify this point including this one by Dr. Sears.
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    I am by no means a perfect parent, and yes my kids do get junk food.  However, I make sure that they get a lot of healthy food as well, and I teach them the difference between a good food choice and a not so good food choice.  I also explain the benefits of eating healthy to them.  I don’t want to ever ban anything (electronics, junk food, etc) because I know that if I am too strict about things, they will want to rebel as they get older.
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    No more junk food leads perfectly into my next “commonly heard phrase said by strict parents”.


  4. You Need To Help Me With Dinner! – My mom said this to me starting at the age of 5, or at least that is how I remember it.  Her reasoning was that if she didn’t teach me how to cook, who would?  And why not start at a young age to set good habits.  I didn’t mind helping when it was on my terms, which was usually when she was making a complicated meal and didn’t want me anywhere near the kitchen.  But when she demanded I help get dinner ready, I wanted nothing to do with it because I saw it as an order.child helping to bake
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    There are so many skills children can learn by being invited to help in the kitchen, beyond learning how to cook.  It is actually pretty easy to figure out how to cook with the vast array of recipes online nowadays.  You can prepare and serve your entire meal in under 20 minutes.
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    Children can learn math skills, reading, problem solving and new vocabulary words by helping out in the kitchen.  This is also a great opportunity to talk about the nutritional aspects about food.  Talk about food groups.  Talk about protein and how it helps build muscle and provide you with energy.  I started talking to my kids about these kinds of things around the age of 4.   Learning these new words is a another great way to build your child’s vocabulary!
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    I wrote an article a little while ago about getting your kids involved in the kitchen at a young age.  You can read it here.  It isn’t specific to meal prep but I hope you will find it interesting if you have young children.  The kitchen is such a social place so try to get your kids involved!

Are you a strict parent?  Were  your parent’s strict?

I feel like I have barely scratched the surface on growing up with strict parents.  My whole reasoning behind this post is to let you know (if you are a parent) that  your children will be better off if you set some boundaries for them.  You do not need to be a drill sergeant and run a military camp, but remember you are the parent.  Children need rules or how will they function in society which is full of rules?  They need to learn that there are consequences when the rules are broken.  The consequences for breaking rules (aka laws) as an adult are much worse than breaking a rule at home.

I often hear my children say “it’s not fair” when they are told to do something and I smile and remind them that unfortunately life is not fair.   It is better learning this at a young age than figuring it out as an adult!

Did you grow up with strict parent’s?  Do you consider yourself a strict parent?  Please share your thoughts in the comments below.

 

12 Comments

  1. SC

    I laughed when I read this post because as a child, I thought my strict parents were extremely annoying and I vowed I’d be a different kind of parent. And now I realise, I’m a strict parent too! I’m very particular about manners, always reminding my little girl to say please and thank you. I don’t let her get away with shouting or tantrums. So having strict parents worked out well for me, though it wasn’t much fun at the time.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      I felt the same way when I was growing up. But as soon as I had kids I saw the value in being strict. I am strict with my kids so that they can learn rules and behaviours that are important for adults. Unfortunately my kids have tantrums. I wish that they didn’t but they are kids. You are lucky if your daughter isn’t doing this. Sounds like you are doing a great job raising her! Hopefully one day she to will appreciate growing up with strict parents.

      Reply
  2. Sammi

    My mum was also very strict with me and my siblings. At the time we didn’t appreciate it but as we grew up, we were all taught valuable lessons to take us into adulthood. My dad for instance, was an only child and his mum did everything for him – so he couldn’t even iron – and still can’t to this day! My mum didn’t want any of us to be reliant on anybody so she taught us well. There seemed far too many rules growing up but I’m exactly the same with my little one as she was with us! Sammi

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Sammi,

      Thanks for taking the time to come back to my site and leaving another comment! Most children do not appreciate why their parents are strict until they have children of their own. I know this holds true for me!

      A friend of mine was a young single mom and did everything for her daughter when she was growing up. She said now that her daughter is in her early 20’s she wishes she would have had more expectations of her as she still needs help to do so many things.

      My children have been doing chores (age appropriate of course) since they were about 4. They still complain every time I tell them they need to do a chore. I know they don’t appreciate the rules now, but they will once they are adults. Or at least that is my hope.

      Reply
  3. Paul

    Looking back on my own childhood and some of my current habits, I do wish that perhaps my parents had been more strict on certain things. We did watch a lot of TV in our household, and that’s definitely a practice I still partake in. However, now that I’m about to be married and hopefully will have kids in the coming years, I’d like to do a better job to avoid some of these bad habits being developed in my own children.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Paul, thank you for admitting that you see why children need some structure and rules in their lives. Many people associate growing up with strict parents as growing up with parents on a power trip. While, this can be true in some situations, I think in most cases, strict parents have their children’s best interest in mind.

      Once you have children of your own you will figure out what works and what doesn’t. The key is to be consistent with the rules you do set. In our house, for example, we often talk about how sugar is not healthy at all, however my kids do still get sugary foods. They know that they need to make healthy choices first though and that candy is a treat. I will also tell them “no more candy/ice cream/cookies” when I feel they have had enough.

      Reply
  4. Liz

    I do agree with you on quite a few things. I have been a strict parent in some ways and others, not so much. I am pretty much middle of the road. Eating right was my big thing when my daughter was little. It still is, but at 16, I am not with her all the time and she doesn’t always make the best decisions on snacks. I work with children, and I have seen kids walk into our daycare with an iPad or some other device, and when the parents try to take it away, they have a meltdown. Why give it to them in the first place???? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Hi Liz,

      Thank you for seeing that it is ok to be strict with children. Like I mentioned in my reply to the previous comment, I always provide an explanation for why we have certain rules. I want my children to know that the rules that are set, are there for a specific reason. I want the best for my children. But I also want them to be children and play and make their own mistakes. There is a fine line between being strict for a purpose and letting the kids rule the house. I know that those following the attachment parenting style will probably disagree with me, but I strongly believe children need rules. If we didn’t have rules in society, could you imagine the chaos? If there were no rules in my house, I know that it would be complete chaos (and some days it already is)!.

      As for the electronic devices, this is exactly why I limit my children’s exposure to them. Although it seems to be a bit of a free for all on weekends, but that is ok. My children do not have access to electronic devices in the car unless the drive will be over an hour (usually 2 hours or more). I have friends that turn the DVD player on for their children on the way to the grocery store which is about 10 minutes away. I do not see the need for that.

      Reply
  5. Hostelgirl

    I think for me it is about being strict when there is a valid reason. So many parents are on power trips with their kids and exert control because they can, rather than with legitimate purpose. Kids pick up on that. If they can see the point and are given reasons, it works so much better than a “because I said so” attitude.
    Likewise with setting an example.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      I completely agree with you Hostelgirl. There must be an explanation for the rules you set. My husband and I are both very clear about this with our children. There is a big difference between being strict in order to teach your children and have them to grow up to be smart, caring and respectful adults and being a drill sergeant on a power trip. My children know why things are a certain way in our house. Although they may not appreciate growing up with strict parents right now, I am sure when they have children of their own, they will see why we did things the way we did.

      Reply
  6. Keye

    I must say it is really difficult for a child to grow up with strict parents. He/she may not understand why he can’t stay up late with his friends, he is monitored in his studies, or can’t smoke or drink. The parents must be always there to explain why they are doing these to their kids. A lack of understanding on the kids art may turn him to be rebellious. I was also raised in a strict family and at some point I did rebel. Now that I’m in my 20s, I understand that what they did was for myown sake.

    Reply
    1. Tanya (Post author)

      Yes, at the time it can be difficult for a child to understand why their parents have certain rules. I always explain to my kids why we do things a certain way. Do they understand? No, not always. I feel I am somewhat strict, but the things I am strict about are rules that have been established since my children were young. I know that when I was a child I was frustrated by my parents rules. However, now I am glad they raised me the way that they did. I’m happy to hear that you are now also seeing the value in the rules your parent’s had for you.

      Reply

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