The Advantages of Strict Parents

by Kay Ireland

    In 2011, lawyer Amy Chua came under fire for releasing her parenting memoir, "Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother," which detailed her sometimes-extreme methods of strict parenting. While some critics speak out against a strict or authoritarian method of parenting, giving your child clear rules and expectations can also have its advantages. While you'll still need to incorporate your child's individual needs, a strict stance could be the right type of parenting for your family.

    Children thrive on routine and predictability, which is when strict parenting comes in handy. When your child understands not only the rules but also the consequences of broken rules, it's easier for him to understand boundaries and anticipate your reactions. A more permissive or less predictable style of parenting can leave your child guessing as to what is and isn't OK. Strict parenting allows your child to see life in shades of black and white, easily seeing the delineation between what's acceptable, notes psychologist Molly Castelloe in an article for Psychology Today.

    Strict parents often focus on the ability to succeed, which can turn out children who are dedicated to achievement. Of course, achievement and being excellent isn't everything, but if a strict parent urges practice and dedication to everything from grades to sports or playing a musical instrument, it can push children to excellence in general. A strict parent dedicated to excellence then yields children who understand the value of hard work and the confidence that comes from trying hard and reaping the benefits.

    The children often strict parents could have major benefits when it comes to overall self-control and mental health, according to a study by the Texas A&M College of Education and Human Development. When Jeffrey Liew, an associate professor of learning sciences in the Department of Educational Psychology at Texas A&M studied 100 traditional Chinese-American families -- known for their strict parenting practices -- he found that the style actually promoted autonomy, self-regulation and positive mental health benefits, rather than dependence.

    As your child gets older and leaves adolescence for the world of teen pressures, being strict and involved may keep your teen from risky behavior. Teens of strict parents are 38 percent less likely to binge drink, 39 percent less likely to smoke cigarettes and 43 percent less likely to use marijuana than children of neglectful parents, according to a study published in a 2012 issue of JAMA Pediatrics. Setting strict rules for your child now can help your teen make better decisions down the road.

    About the Author

    Kay Ireland specializes in health, fitness and lifestyle topics. She is a support worker in the neonatal intensive care and antepartum units of her local hospital and recently became a certified group fitness instructor.

    Photo Credits

    • Digital Vision/Digital Vision/Getty Images