Q&A: Strictness

What is the strictest a parent should be?

Like, in terms of what they do and don’t allow their kids to do?  Or in terms of what punishments are acceptable?

Personally I think strict adherence to a schedule of some kind is healthy for kids, a set bed time, only certain periods of the day where tv is available, set meal times, when they’re in school a set time where distractions are limited to get homework and studying done… I think all that’s fairly healthy (and people who stick to a schedule right from the beginning tend to have kids that sleep through the night a lot faster than people who go with a more free range method) but parents who won’t let their kids have even a single cookie until every single scrap of food on their plate has been eaten are going too far.  As are parents that schedule every single second of their kids time and only let them watch educational shows if anything at all.  I guess it’s about finding a good balance between structure and freedom.  Allow them to be creative and have some degree of control over their time and environment, but don’t give them so much freedom that you basically have no control over them.  You’re the parent, be the parent.

As for what punishments should be acceptable, that really varies from kid to kid.  A relatively well behaved child who suddenly is having a really bad day probably shouldn’t be spanked to get him to behave, you should probably try and figure out what happened and why today is such a bad day for them instead.  But a kid who is out of control a lot of the time and doesn’t respond to other punishments, a spanking is, in my eyes, an acceptable punishment for a serious action (like intentionally breaking something expensive to piss you off or intentionally hurting someone, something like that).  Though I will point out that I do firmly believe more often than not (I concede that there are exceptions) a consistently poorly behaved child is more about inconsistency from the parents than a problem with the child’s behaviour in general.  Usually when I see parents complaining about how wild their kid is, if you pry a bit you find out that they’re terribly inconsistent with how they punish the kid or even worse, they’re over punishing mild behaviour and then wonder why the kid is acting out.  If all your child did was not eat their peas, you should NOT be shouting at them or spanking them or sending them to the corner.  Maybe your kid just really fucking hates peas, and trying to force them to eat it or face harsh punishment is just going to make them dread meal time and resent you.  And a kid resenting their parent is a kid who doesn’t RESPECT their parent.

Though as someone who ISN’T a parent (and who hopes NEVER to be a parent) I’m biased.  I am just going by what I’ve seen comparing people with well behaved kids vs people with horrible little beasts.  There seems to be some consistency between the groups.


Check out The Llama’s response and post your own in the comments!  If you’re a parent, do you think my assessment is fair or do you think I’m way off?


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