I’ve over wondered if I’m guilty of too strict parenting. Now that my girls are grown (20 and 23), I look back on their childhoods and I realize I spent way too much time worrying what other people thought, making sure my kids weren’t “bothering” anyone else, and tending to the rules.
When you’re in the middle of raising your children, it seems like that magic number 18 is so far away. People tell you that it goes by in the blink of an eye, but you don’t think it really does. You have however many more years to raise your child. However, it is true that suddenly your child is graduating from high school and you wonder where all the time went.
Signs of Too Strict Parenting
If you are a strict dad or strict mom with strict rules for your children, your children may suffer from this. Some signs you might be too strict:
- You are constantly correcting your children.
- They miss out on opportunities because you’re worried about them being out of your eyesight.
- About 90 times a day you say, “Don’t,” “Stop,” or “Seriously?”
- Your children clam up when you talk to them or ignore you completely.
The honest truth is that if you are a strict parent you probably realize that you are. You can tell by the other parents around you that you stand out a bit and are a bit more uptight than they are.
Harsh Parenting Effects
One thing I’ve figured out now that my girls are grown is that I’m a nag. I have nagged my kids about anything and everything. Now, that nagging came from good intentions. I wanted my children to excel in life, to be happy, healthy, have good careers and be good people. However, because I nagged them all the time, they got to where they tuned me out and didn’t listen to me about anything.
How to Combat Overly Strict Parenting
I saw the movie War Room and it fired me up. I realized what was lacking in my life as a Christian woman and that was the amount of time I was (or rather wasn’t) spending in prayer. So, for the last year, I have been in daily prayer over my children. I pray for them nearly ever day and sometimes for an hour or more. Sometimes God will lay one daughter on my heart more than the other, so I’ll spend the majority of time praying for that one. Sometimes something has occurred and thus I pray more for that one. Other times, I spend equal time on my girls in prayer.
As I began this new task of being a prayer warrior for my children, I came to a realization. There is one goal for me as a parent. That is that I want my family to wind up together forever in eternity one day. Everything else is fleeting.
While I’m still not perfect about the nagging, because there are things I worry about, it does help. There are many small things that I don’t say anything about these days. I ask myself:
- Is this such an important issue to me that I need to say something?
- Is what they are doing taking them away from the end goal – of winding up all together in eternity after this life?
- Where is their relationship with God?
Those are some powerful questions, but if you can start applying this at least some of the time to your interactions with your children, I believe they will be more likely to listen when it is something important. If your children are still young, then you obviously have to also think about their safety, the morals you are instilling, and basic teaching concepts for life. The older your children are, the easier it is to take a step back and focus on correcting in the areas that are most important to you.
To end, take heart if you’ve been a strict parent. If you didn’t care so much, you wouldn’t bother. However, it is never too late to change and improve your parenting style, so if you feel you are a little too strict, start asking the tough questions about just what is most important to you as a parent and what your end goal is with your child. Once you have the answer to that, the rest should become clearer.