Raise your hand if you’ve ever set a strict rule for your kids only to question yourself soon after if it makes any sense. What about realizing halfway through the conversation that you sound like a total dictator? Don’t worry, we’ve all been there. But it’s important to make sure that our desire to help them grow into responsible adults doesn’t turn into overbearing control and micromanagement of every movement they make. In this post, we’ll look at 13 red flags that you may be too strict as a parent.
13 Red Flags That You May Be Too Strict as a Parent
Remember, one or a couple of these behaviours don’t necessarily mean you’re overly rigid and there might be other overlying issues for why your child or you behave in a certain way. (Such as mom burnout).
1. Your child is constantly afraid of disappointing or angering you
If your child is constantly afraid of disappointing or angering you, it could be a sign that you are too strict as a parent. Children need to feel safe and supported in their home environment, and for them to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and ask for help.
If your child is constantly afraid of your reactions because they know that even one mistake is too many, it may be time to reassess your parenting style.
2. You’re expecting perfection
Strict parent is often a perfectionist and expect their children to make no mistakes. This can create a lot of pressure for them and make them feel like they can never live up to your expectations. It can also lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.
It’s absolutely normal for parents to have high expectations for their children, however, you need to recognize that no one is perfect. Your children are still learning to navigate things in this big world and mistakes will occur. Instead, see them as learning opportunities. Make sure the expectations you hold are age-appropriate and practice being supportive and understanding.
3. Your child has low self-esteem
Goes hand in hand with #2. Strict parenting can often lead to low self-esteem in children, as they may feel like they’re constantly being judged and criticized. It’s important to find a balance between setting boundaries and providing your child with the freedom to make their own decisions and learn from their own mistakes.
Encourage your child to take on new challenges and responsibilities, and praise them for their efforts, not just outcomes. Be mindful of the language you use when speaking to your child, and avoid criticizing or belittling them.
By providing a positive and supportive home environment, you can help your child build their self-esteem and confidence.
4. You constantly hand out directions
Are you the kind of parent with a never-ending list of rules for your kids, constantly giving out orders and telling them what to do? It might be time to take a step back. After all, if you’re constantly directing their every move, how will they ever learn to be self-sufficient and make their own decisions? And let’s be real, all that micromanaging can’t be good for your mental health.
Instead, focus on what’s really important and stop handing out directions when it’s unnecessary. Taking a step back as a strict parent can be difficult, but it’s also an opportunity to grow and improve your relationship with your child.
5. There’s no time for fun
Do you let your children play with only one toy at a time to avoid making a mess? Do you turn every activity into a mandatory lesson?
If the toys in your house have to sit in perfect little rows and your kids can’t colour a picture without being quizzed on their colours, you might be too strict as a parent.
Seriously though, if there’s no time for fun and your kids are always walking on eggshells trying to avoid the wrath of your perfectionist tendencies, it’s probably time to take a deep breath. Remember, it’s okay for things to be a little messy and for your kids to be kids. Let them have some unstructured playtime and try to enjoy the chaos.
6. Your child avoids spending time with you
Children need love, support, and positive attention from their parents in order to thrive. If your child feels they are constantly being criticized, they may distance themselves from you in order to avoid your nagging. And while, they can’t avoid you entirely, you might notice them preferring to be alone in their room rather than spending time around you.
Engage with your child and listen to their thoughts and feelings. Try to find common interests that you can enjoy together. Practice empathy and apologize when you have to.
7. Your child has difficulty deciding
Somewhat related to #4. Children raised in a very controlled environment may struggle to make decisions on their own. They may not have practiced making choices and are used to being told what to do all the time.
Children need opportunities to practice making decisions in order to develop their problem-solving skills and independence. If you’re always making decisions for your child or micromanaging their actions, they may struggle to develop their own decision-making abilities.
Practice allowing them to make their own decisions within reasonable limits. This can be as simple as letting them choose what to wear or what to have for lunch.
“Children who are guided through constant correction may feel like they can never do anything right. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, in adulthood.”— J. Milburn
8. Your child cannot express their feelings
Does your child have trouble talking about their feelings? It could be a sign that they feel like they can’t be themselves around you.
It’s important to create a safe and supportive environment for your child to communicate their emotions, thoughts, and needs. When children feel like they can’t express themselves freely, it can lead to feelings of frustration, resentment, and even fear. By being open to your child’s feelings, you can help them develop the emotional intelligence and communication skills. These are crucial for their well-being and success.
9. Your child lacks independence
Quiet similar to #7. Does your child constantly rely on you to make decisions for them and cannot do things on their own? It could be a sign that you’re being too strict as a parent.
While it’s natural to want to protect and guide your child, it’s also important to give them the opportunity to develop their own decision-making skills. When children feel they are constantly being told what to do and how to do it, they may become too reliant on others and struggle to think for themselves. This can lead to a lack of confidence, which can have a negative impact on their overall well-being and development.
By giving your child the chance to make age-appropriate decisions and take on small responsibilities, you can help them build independence.
10. You have little patience for silliness
Laughing and cracking jokes with your children shows them you enjoy their company and like spending time with them just as they are. A strict parent however, does not tolerate any kind of silliness.
It’s normal to feel too tired at times and we all know that kids jokes can get old fast, and silly behavior can slow us down. But if more than often you roll your eyes and sigh heavily at the mere mention of a joke or silly behaviour, it might be time to lighten up.
After all, what’s the harm in letting your kids be goofy and have a little fun? Allow children to be children and let them engage in playful and imaginative activities. This is how they learn and grow. Being too strict and having zero tolerance for silliness can hinder your children’s creativity and sense of wonder. So embrace the chaos – who knows, you might even have a bit of fun along the way!
11. You always choose the ”its my way or highway approach”
Overly strict parent believes kids should be seen but not heard. When it comes to rules, they believe ”it’s my way or highway” and rarely consider child’s feelings.
While it’s important that you set boundaries and have age-appropriate expectations for your children, it’s also important to be open to compromise and to consider different perspectives. If you are unwilling to listen to your children’s thoughts and feelings, it can create tension and resentment in your relationship.
12. Your child lies a lot
If you’re too strict as a parent, your child is likely to lie to avoid punishment. When children feel like they can’t be open with their parents, they may resort to lying to avoid getting into trouble. If you find your child lies to you often, it may be worth re-evaluating your parenting style.
Create an environment where your child feels safe and comfortable sharing their thoughts and feelings with you, even if they may be difficult to hear. We can do this through building trust, open communication, and implementing more positive and less punitive discipline strategies.
13. You’re having constant power struggles
Having constant power struggles with your kids? Overly strict parent hates being told no and insist on winning a power struggle. My honest advice? Pick your battles and don’t turn everything into a big argument. Try to meet in the middle and sometimes just allow natural consequences. For example, when your child refuses to put on a jacket when it’s cold, no matter what. Unless, of course, it’s dangerously cold, allow them to go out without. Natural consequences? They will still feel cold.
Give yourself a break from all the bickering and allow your children to learn from their mistakes.