Why firm parenting has encouraged me to be strict on myself


Having strict parents could be considered the most profound setback a teenager experiences throughout high school. Teenagers are not allowed to make irresponsible choices because their annoying parents and their annoying rules prohibit them from completing something immature with their friends.

How inconvenient, right?

While scrolling through Instagram, a specific text post constantly appears in my feed; it talks about how the way some high schoolers act makes the writer want to hug their mom and thank her for the way she raised them. I have liked and saved this text post multiple times—its accuracy is appalling. I am frequently astonished at the way my peers interact with each other, how they obviously do not follow the most basic, simple rule of taking into account what they say before they physically say it. No one seems to have a filter anymore or remotely care enough to obtain one.

I believe that these high schoolers act however they want to because of the ways in which their parents decided to raise them. Constantly receiving whatever they please, nonstop praise when not necessarily deserved, and no justifiable punishment for extreme misbehavior, I believe, are all effects of two dangerous causes: the “indulgent” and “permissive” styles of parenting.

The “indulgent” style of parenting creates a vicious cycle of a child’s need for constant praise; therefore, even as adults, children raised under this style constantly seek reassurance that their actions are correct and compliments for completing the tiniest of tasks. This style of parenting is toxic; it demonstrates children’s confidence completely deriving from an adult’s approval. Likewise, it restricts the teaching of children to be independent and realize for themselves when what they do is something satisfactory or not.

It is essential to children’s development that they do not receive praise for every A they get on a test and every time they make their bed—these should be considered expectations and consistently enforced at a young age. As age increases, in order to promote independence, rewards need to be more parsimonious. Children need to learn how to fail and how to deal with that emotion; it is necessary that they discover expectations for themselves and hold themselves to those intentions without a constant “Great job!” coming from a parent.

The “permissive” style of parenting encourages the availability of immense freedom to children parented under it; the parents’ goal is to appear as companions rather than authoritative figures. Parents show their love through implementing almost no rules, and mature behavior is not expected from kids—at all. The “permissive” style of parenting is extremely unhealthy for children because they do not learn how to self-regulate or enforce self-control in appropriate situations.

Likewise, increased freedom deprives children of experiencing how life actually works; strict, tightly-followed rules are implemented and expected to be thoroughly obeyed at schools and workplaces. Not to mention, self-control is hugely useful in these same environments; self-assessing worth ethic and defining whether or not it meets standards is a dire skill for a child to have. Therefore, when rules are never enforced at home, the one place where I believe rules must be utmost present, the possibility of children obtaining the skill of following rules and obeying adults is slim.  

Parents argue that our generation is a far cry from theirs, mostly, because of the internet. Parents engage in a stagnant battle with themselves to understand the complexity of the internet—who can blame them for not understanding the popular trends and “secret meanings” of emojis in which the internet has to offer? The unfortunate lack of knowledge that the majority of parents hold regarding social media is alarming; the collection of social media apps on today’s generations’ cellphones are clouded with content that most parents are thoroughly unaware of.

Meanwhile, parents do not understand the complexities to which the social media apps can be navigated, and no matter their attempts to limit children’s technology usage, children today are so tech-savvy that finding loopholes is utterly uncomplicated.

Parents’ lack of knowledge is another contributing factor of high schoolers’ immensely increased freedom. It is almost impossible for high schoolers’ actions online to be detected by their parents, and most times, deleting the disrespectful comment, text, or picture is the only punishment that is enabled. However, erasing the action does not teach the teenager to not do the action again; it teaches the teenager that only minimal punishment is enforced for being brutally rude online. High schoolers act as recklessly and inconsiderately as they do because they are aware of the low extremity of the punishment they will receive if caught.

I cannot recall a time when rules were not enforced at my house or when I was not punished for blatantly disobeying those rules. I also cannot remember a time when the exact rules were not implemented upon my older siblings—my younger sibling, however, rarely gets punished for actions that my older brother, sister, and I would all be grounded for. I am expected to get acceptable grades, obey my parents, respect my siblings, and be home by eleven. I am expected to respect the Toyota Corolla, Janet, and always respond to my parents’ texts.  

Pretty fair, right?

However, I would be completely lying if I argued that these rules have not prohibited my fun occasionally. At times, I would enjoy nothing more than to not have to chaotically rush at 10:55 to make it home by eleven, to scream at my sister and trash her closet as revenge for her lurking into mine when I was not home. At times, I would enjoy nothing more than to yell in rage at not being allowed to drive my parents’ cars when Lauren has the Corolla and to explode in anger over not being granted my own car.

But, I never do any of these things—except trash Lauren’s closet, which was only once.

Due to the strict parenting that has been enforced upon me for sixteen straight years, I have self-control. I have knowledge regarding what constitutes acceptable behavior and what does not. I am aware of skills I can utilize to control my anger because I was taught that not everything will be handed to me on a silver platter or go my way.

Likewise, I know what is acceptable because I hold myself accountable for how I react to situations unless I am extremely upset. Without strict parenting, without being taught how to properly act, I am positive that I would be a stranger to appropriate behavior.

Also, because of the rules and expectations my parents implemented upon me at a young age, I now expect those same things of myself—without receiving constant nagging from my parents. I get thoroughly disappointed when I do not get an A on a test, and I rack my brain for solutions in order to not perform poorly on the next one. I physically itch with anxiety when my GPA is less than a 4.0, and I expect my grades to be high enough A’s so that I can afford to do poorly on finals.

Just last week, my mom divulged into conversation with me regarding being alarmed that I received two C’s that week—a tremendously embarrassing record for me. She stated that she was surprised when she saw those grades in PowerSchool; she was aware that my classes were challenging for me at the moment. She did not notice the tears that formed in my eyes and the annoyance that I felt with myself regarding being as upset as I was over two grades.

Studies have shown that adolescents who are brought up firmly are more likely to develop positive attitudes and beliefs regarding their achievement. Likewise, as a result, children who are brought up democratically and sturdily are more likely to do better in school compared to children who have minuscule amounts of rules enforced at home. I believe I am an obvious example of a person who was brought up with strict rules and therefore cares about their own achievement; I am now harder on myself than my parents are.

I do not receive whatever I please, I rarely receive praise for accomplishments that I am proud of myself, and I receive justifiable punishment if I deserve it. Therefore, I do not always confess what I want to; I take into account the power of my words before releasing them. I give respect, because, honestly, I demand it. However, it has not always been like this. Support from my friends and parents throughout my teenage years has allowed me to mature immensely. I have been told many times that my age is deceiving since I act maturely.

Therefore, I am appreciative of my parents for enforcing their rules, which are annoying at times, onto me while I grow up. Through eventually transferring their rules onto myself, I was allowed to gain increased independence. Thank you, Mom and Dad, for having high expectations for me because I now obtain those same expectations for myself.

Finally, thank you for teaching me how to properly act and for keeping your patience as I learned right from wrong. Thank you for encouraging me to constantly showcase my best self and supporting my outrageous passions and dreams. Thank you for teaching me how to face consequences confidently and how to repair my own wrongdoings.