Are You A Strict Parent?

 How to know whether your child will one day shame you.

Today you will brag to friends and family about how well mannered, smart, and wonderful your child is to you and everyone who knows him or her.  However, tomorrow just may be a different story.

Children grow up and move on with their lives with or without their parents.  You may have a ticking time bomb under your roof that can’t wait to explode and move on without you.  How do you know if you are being too strict and if your child may one day shame the family name?

Remember how you were raised?  If you had parents who just didn’t seem to care, then you may want to be sure that you are not like them, but you may be overdoing it.  However, if you had parents who treated you like you were a soldier and they were the generals, you may be repeating their behaviors with your own child.

Ask yourself the following questions and make the necessary changes in how you parent before it is too late.

Am I angry a lot?  You may be stressed about work, money, your spouse, family, friends or your health.  Your child may be receiving a lot of this anger.  It’s time to determine if these areas of your life can be changed. 

My child seems to be acting different lately, what is his or her problem?  Once you have determined what is the root cause of your anger, then examine if there is something your child is or is not doing that could make life better at home.  Maybe he or she is doing well in school, but angry with you for some reason.  Your son or daughter may be struggling with a health problem that you may not be aware.  Communicate with your child and find out if there are any problems he or she is having that you need to help him or her fix.

When I discipline my child is it really working?  Physically hitting your child for letter grades, a dish that falls to the floor, or because you are too impatient to assist him or her with homework are not contributing to his or her success.  Instead, you are building up resentment within him or her.  Be prepared for your child to one day look for love in all the wrong places, bad mouth you to family and friends, avoid coming around you, and act out in rebellious ways such as getting in trouble with the law. 

What kind of environment am I creating for my child?  You know your environment better than anyone else, because you live there.  A clean, spacious, well-kept home is one that any child can physically thrive in when he or she knows where to find his her belongings and doesn’t have to be concerned with insects invading his or her bed at night.  Yet, with all the cleanliness is there room for he or she to make mistakes?  Can she leave the milk out on the countertop without being yelled at and called every name but the one you have given her?  Will your son be allowed to leave muddy shoes near the front door without worrying whether you will yank him by the arm and throw him up against a wall?  Give them the opportunities to correct their mistakes while increasing future penalties each time they forget.  (Isn’t that what courts do each time one breaks the law?)

Does your child appear to be afraid to speak with you?  Some children will actually urinate on themselves when trying to explain to their parents why they broke mom’s vase for fear that they will be punished.  Is this the kind of fear your child has toward you?  Maybe it is a different kind of fear, the kind that runs and hides when you call them.  Start putting a smile on your face, changing your tone of voice, and sitting down with your hands to yourself while you listen to them explain themselves.  The key here is to be approachable. 

Does your child often find any excuse to avoid sitting in the same room with you?  The resentment may have already taken root within your child.  Do you know their reason for why they treat you like they do?  They aren’t interested in anything you have to say.  It’s time you listen to them.  Where did you go wrong?  Once you can answer these questions, you will be on your way to changing yourself first, then by your actions your child will change.

Do you allow yourself a break from your children?  When was the last time you took a break?  If you find yourself constantly staying on top of everything they say and do, then you need a life.  No one likes to have to fix mistakes once they are done, but if you don’t allow room for errors how will they learn?  Little things like not putting something back in its place, forgetting to call you at work when they got home from school, leaving their homework at school, etc.  If it isn’t something that is happening all the time, don’t stress over it.  There are consequences for every action not just in your home.  Sometimes you will just have to let the world wake them up to reality.

Do you think you can shelter your child from everything harmful?  If you believe this, then good luck.  No matter what you try to do some one or some thing in this world will tempt your child to break the rules you have set.  At times your child will pass the tests of life with flying colors and other times he or she won’t.  Prepare yourself in advance for the times they will not pass the test.  How will you react to the lies told, the peer pressure, the unexpected XYZ, and all your other fears?  Have a plan for the unexpected.

What are your child’s influences?  While you may be thinking your child is to blame for the change of behavior, maybe it is the family member you keep allowing your child to stay with over the weekend.  If they enjoy smoking, drinking, gambling, and entertaining negative people, do you really think your child isn’t going to think at some point that these behaviors are acceptable?  What about the movies and the music you allow your child to watch and listen?  There are many songs and television shows that glorify sex and violence, a child who is disgruntled with mom and dad just might want to have sex with the tempting classmate or pick up a gun and shoot a round of bullets.

Are you involved in other areas of your children’s life besides discipline?  When he or she wants to play ball, are you playing with him or her?  When your child shows you his or her homework, are you praising him or her?  When they have a sports game, are you there?  When he or she has a party, are you participating?  Many parents want their children to be successful, yet they won’t bother to support them when they can.  A minor adjustment in a work schedule, a change of attitude, and a little cash could make a world of difference in your child’s behavior and attitude toward you.

Parents will have to find the healthy balance between being strict and being laid back.  Know when to turn up the discipline when your child seems to be getting out of hand and turn down the discipline when they are doing well.  Using discipline, as insurance for the future is not a healthy way of getting the results you want.  No one wants to be punished in advance for some thing they haven’t even done, let alone, thought of.

Parents must show love, appreciation, respect, and care toward their children first if they hope to one day receive it back and avoid the shame of the family name.

Nicholl McGuire

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Over 20 years office work experience, six years completed college coursework, background in print media and communications, recognized for exceptional attendance and received merit increase for past job performance, self-published author and part-time entrepreneur, Internet marketing and social media experience. Interned for non-profit organization, women's group and community service business. Additional experience: teaching/training others, customer service and sales. Learn more at Nicholl McGuire and Nicholl McGuire Media

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