The Benefits of Having Strict Parents

I haven't included a Cyanide and Happiness comic in a post for quite some time... ha.

It’s time to perform some damage control.

I admit to discussing my mom in a derogatory manner in posts like this one and hinting to her in my posts about child abuse. Although she is abusive, I don’t want people to presume that I’m an ungrateful little brat I don’t appreciate my parents. I really do.

There are the obvious things they do for me. My mom ventures out into the cruel world to provide me with sustenance, and my dad works grueling hours to pay for my expenses and future college tuition. They both buy me school supplies, the occasional book, and a variety of other material objects. Needless to say, I live a pretty nice life, and I am thankful for it.

What’s more important, at least to me, is how they raised me. By being strict and harsh, they’ve made me appreciate all the things others take for granted. They’ve given me the motivation to work harder in life.

Now, if you’ve been reading this blog for awhile, I know what you’re thinking: “but Thomas, your mom is so mean! You even said so yourself!” And, yes, that’s true.

There’s a fine line between strict and abusive – but it’s a clear one, too. When you’re around strict parents, you are careful to act respectfully and be on your best behavior. When you’re around abusive parents, you’re scared of what they’ll do, even if you haven’t done anything worthy of punishment. In my opinion, abusive parents are strict parents. Of course I don’t approve of abusive parents, but I do support strict parents.

A stern and exacting parenting method is good for children because they’ll be expected to succeed. Children who have parents that care a lot about their performance are more likely to exceed than those who have parents that don’t care. Like I stated earlier, kids with parents who have rigorous expectations are motivated to put in more effort as opposed to parents that let them do whatever they want. That way, they’ll also be more prepared for all the hurdles life has to offer, unlike the kids who grow up in a bubble of unearned affection and nonexistent reprimands. They’ll also be more courteous and respectful, which is always a plus.

Please excuse the messiness of this stream-of-consciousness post, I just wanted to make it clear that I do think parents should set standards for their kids. However, I do know how suffocating extremely strict parents can be, so, like many things in life, balance is essential.

What do you think of strict parents? What were your parents like, and how has it affected who you are and how you’ve matured?

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16 Comments

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16 responses to “The Benefits of Having Strict Parents

  1. I grew up in a strict family, and even though I hated it when I was a kid, I appreciate it now that I am older and responsible. It helped me be this person that I am today and I like this. However, on the other hand, I feel like I am living in an assigned vicinity and if I set a foot out, I’d be different or out of control–and that’s kind of scary. So, it doesn’t necessarily means it is nice to live with strict parents, but I believe it has a lot of benefits–and you’ll only realize that when you grow up. Otherwise, until you grow up, they are the enemies.

    But I wonder: Does your mom know you’ve a blog?

    • That’s true, a few years ago I absolutely detested my parents. Now I’ve come to appreciate them more. You’re such a deep and thoughtful person so if your parents contributed in shaping you to be that way I’m glad. (:

      No she does not. I don’t plan on telling her at any time in the near future. It would be way too risky due to the posts about child abuse I’ve written and the hints I’ve left regarding my sexuality.

  2. This is an absolute minefield of a topic Thomas! Love that you tackle it.

    I’ve read some of your posts about the type of upbringing you have had/are having as compared to a more ‘western’ approach and found them very interesting.

    ‘Expected to succeed’ is a loaded term. I have four kids, and I feel like I have high expectations of their behaviour. As a graduate and a teacher, I also have expectations about what they achieve in school. I expect them to do their best.

    And here’s where I think I may differ from the type of parents you’re talking about. My kids best may not necessarily be the same as them actually succeeding greatly in an academic sense. It’s not always a matter of simply putting more effort in.

    I also believe that stern parenting isn’t the only way to ensure children achieve success. Being exacting isn’t the only way to instil in a child that you believe education is important. You’re right when you say balance is essential!

    • Thank you for bringing up the points that “it’s not always a matter of simply putting more effort in” and that “being exacting isn’t the only way to instil in a child that you believe education is important”. Very well-said.

      I overlooked the fact that you can be a caring parent without necessarily being strict, which is a great thing to strive for (and something I wish my parents had been/ would be). Also, I agree that one who puts in their best may not do as well as others in terms of material success – but, it’s the amount of effort that’s important. And as long as they’re trying their hardest, I think that’s good enough.

      Balance has become a central theme to a lot of my posts lately… (:

  3. Merris

    people may think I’m somewhat a lunatic when I say that I want(wished)my parents to be stricter to me. from your previous posts in which you describe your mother, you might expect readers to feel some kind of pity or shock over how your mother treated you on account of your failures, i however felt jealousy and envy. this is probably because my parents never really had the heart to push me beyond my limit’ and would still have the heart to tolerate and be happy with a ‘c’ on my math test. as a result, i dont feel the ‘push factor’ or pressure coming from anyone. i only felt that kind of pressure(the pressure and panic you felt receiving a c on math) after i enter senior year of high school..well..i guess i’ll have to make do with what i got!

    • I know what you mean, some of my friends tell me similar things from time to time. Maybe your parents are hesitant to push you because they might think that you’ll take it the wrong way? I know a lady who told me that she’s afraid to push her son and daughter because she doesn’t want to end up like my mom (intensely disliked by her own sons.. which isn’t exactly true, but close).

      To be honest I don’t think you should blame your parents entirely. It’s good that you recognize that you don’t feel the pressure, now all you have to do is promise yourself that you’ll do better and strive to work harder. Instead of relying on your parents, you can use your own motivation to succeed.

      Love that last sentence – we all should “make do with what [we’ve] got”. (:

  4. Well said Thomas. Whilst it’s true that it’s a parents job to teach young children values and encourage a good attitude to learning, at some point it becomes your own responsibility. My own parents never pushed to achieve academic success – I did it because I wanted to, and I still believe that internal motivation is the strongest kind when it comes to your own achievements.

    My eldest son is now at college, and I have to say that I’ve never pushed him. I’ve never needed to. My second son, however, is going to need a bit of external motivation because he’s…how can I put it? Slightly lacking in motivation of his own :) I may well have to be exacting, but first, I’m going to use that tried and tested method of parenting – bribery :P

    • Good for you – intrinsic motivation is much stronger than external motivation in the long run. Once the outside motivators are removed… well, one can hope that the person will have attained the desire to succeed through their own willpower at that point.

      I’ve never been bribed before, I’m curious as to how that works. (; Good luck with your second son, if he’s inherited even a little bit of your personality I’m sure he’ll be just fine. :)

  5. Ah yes I agree…..strict parents are a GOOD thing…like seriously. I’m an 18 year old girl….off at college…and I mean my parents, are amazing…and I love how they raised me…they were definitely strict at times, but just for my own good, even though I didn’t really think that back then…. parents are almost ALWAYS on your side, and they really do know more than you do, and they really have ‘been there’ and ‘done that’. And I see kids all the time around here at college who have less stricter parents and their attitudes towards things are definitely different, more ‘unruly’. So yeah, super grateful for having ‘strict’ parents who knew what they were doing….and yeah. haha. :) They definitely set my life on the right path, and now it’s up to me to continue going on that good path. :)

    • Very true! I think college is a pivotal point in one’s life – one can either decide to study hard and succeed or play hard and… not succeed. One’s parenting is a prominent factor in that regard, which you’ve exemplified through your great upbringing and refusal to succumb to petty temptations like those “unruly” kids.

      Though I have to point out that it can work in the opposite direction too. I know people who were sheltered and not allowed to do anything throughout high school and as a result went all out in college. I feel like a broken record, but once again, it’s all about balance. (:

  6. My parents aren’t totally strict but somewhere in the middle or close,methinks.Well when I was younger I thought them unfair. I wouldn’t be allowed to visit friends, go out biking or running and the usual.I wouldn’t be allowed to leave the house at all except to my cousins or some relative.Though,they wouldn’t kill me if I didn’t finish my homework.I would get hit when I didn’t listen to them or when I get into some trouble.But they’ve stopped doing that now, thankfully. They encourage me to push harder to get better grades, and usually give me a guilt trip telling me how lucky I am to get the education I’m receiving, I’ve never doubted them.

    But now at seventeen, I understand why the need for all the restrictions, they were trying to protect me and now they’re somewhat more lenient. Communication is also very important, my father and I are closer and he would explain to me why he had done things the way he did and we’re now more on level footing.I came to realize that them being strict was absolutely essential for me to be the person who I am today and boy, am I grateful! They trust that I know how important it is that I must push myself to do better academically, but I feel that I still need that push …

    • It’s good that you’ve realized how they have helped you! I agree that communication is helpful, and I can tell that you’ve been raised well from what you’ve told me in other comments. At this point you don’t have to be entirely self-motivated, it’s natural for one to need that push to make progress.

      Thanks for reading and commenting, as always. (:

    • Edward Alvarado

      My parents were strict, but now they are just lenient. In the past they were strict but now they aren’t. Yes, its good that once you have a strict parent you learn to push yourself. However, since they haven’t been strict for a long while I’m struggling to get it together. Since, I didn’t have that push I now have to create it on my own. I wish my parents pushed me more academically then just saying “you’ll do fine, no problem.” Strict parents are the best parents and when they don’t enforce your morality changes. Schools today have many indiscipline children or my school at least.

      • I see what you mean, it’s necessary for parents to provide that push to instill that sense of morality in their children. Hopefully though once the child reaches adulthood he or she will have developed a strong enough sense of right or wrong to make it on his or her own. I agree that kids can be undisciplined nowadays and that there are lax parents out there. Thank you for reading and commenting!

  7. Julie

    Having a strict dad is one of the reasons I struggle with anxiety and depression.
    There is a very thin line between strict and abusive.
    I believe that my father was strict and sometimes used abusive methods to control my behavior.
    Balance is the key to everthing. I believe that the best parents are neither strict nor permissive. They set high standards for their kids on one hand, they are flexible when needed on the other hand. They set clear boundaries and stick to them but they try to leave some breathing space. They are firm with their children but also friendly and kind.
    My father was none of what I have described. I was very much afraid of him. I’m still afraid of many many things today.
    But it’s true that I’m a very responsible and motivated human being. So I suppose my authoritarian father has played a part in that. Parents leave their mark on us children. They can influence us for better and worse. There is no black and white. I believe that most parents help you succeed in one aspect of your life and ruin some other aspects of your life. That’s my opinion.

    • I agree that there is no black and white, in parenting and in life. Parents that are absolutely remiss risk having children who are undisciplined or rude, while those who are authoritarian can scar their children forever with their abusiveness and arbitrary punishments. I feel the same way in that at times I deal with depression (which was much worse when I was younger) because of my abusive mom. I think authoritative parents are the best as, like you said, they set clear boundaries and explain what they expect of their children, but are also loving and compassionate. I don’t think there’s such a thing as a perfect parent, just like there’s no such a thing as a perfect person. But I do think that some parents are better parents than others and utilizing an authoritative parenting style contributes to that. Thank you for reading, commenting, and sharing your perspective!

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