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:
- 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. 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.
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!
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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”.
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.
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.
No more junk food leads perfectly into my next “commonly heard phrase said by strict parents”.
- 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.
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.
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!
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.