Don’t be Afraid to be Strict!

We all know how difficult it is to be consistent when it comes to strict parenting. As tempting it is to use the ‘choosing my battles’ card, we need to hold steadfast, dear parents, with our disciplining. In her article entitled “Why Parents Today Aren’t Strict Enough”, Nicola Kraus, co-author of the bestselling book Nanny Diaries, shares why it’s important for parents to not give up on disciplining their children.

“Undisciplined toddlers become obnoxious children who grow into spoiled teenagers and entitled adults. And at some point on your life’s journey you have met one of each of these. And I bet you wished that somebody had put that person in their place,” she wrote.

When you feel like you need a why-am-I-doing-this-again boost, Kraus recommends three key points to remember about discipline.

1 “Discipline is part of creating an integrated functional adult.”

As Kraus points out, “Children aren’t damaged by discipline, they’re damaged by cruelty.” Don’t look at rewards or punishment as detrimental to your child’s whole being. You also have to be clear why you want them to be near you while swimming in at the beach, or why you need to them to hold on to you in a public place. If the kids know why you are doing this, then you wouldn’t have a hard time making them follow your rules. Moral of the Story… Don’t just say “No” to them. Explain why you are doing what you are doing, why it is important, and the consequences if said rules are broken.

2 “Don’t reward any behavior you don’t want to see again.”

It’s simple. If you reward bad behavior, the kid will only repeat it to get what he wants. He thinks it worked the first time, so it might work again. If you think that your toddler is using diversion tactics as a means to not go to bed early, then nip it in the bud and say you’re not entertaining his antics.

3 “Creativity actually flourishes within boundaries.”

Once you’ve set boundaries, you need to let your kids be kids and have fun. “Once an artist knows what the structure is they can let their imagination soar. The same is true of children. They crave boundaries. They repeat unwanted behavior, like tantrums and violence, because they’re escalating it, waiting for someone to care enough to tell them no,” Kraus writes. Children will soon understand that the rules are there to keep them safe and secure—and that can only help them be the best persons they can be.

I think there is a pervasive thought in today’s parenting, where parents don’t want to be perceived as a Tiger Mom or Helicopter parent. What many don’t understand is that there are ways to be consistent and have high expectations of your child without being extreme about it.

You want your kids to grow up as respectful, polite, and hardworking citizens. Just go back to the discipline basics: communicate to your child your non-negotiables and be loving and firm in following through your rules. And last but not least… don’t be afraid to be strict.