Crippling Parenting!

People that were raised by extremely strict parents, how has that affected you as an adult? Asking this question and even just asking myself, the answers will switch on lights for you about your adult life. This post focusses on how strict parenting can have a negative impact into adulthood.

How did being raised by strict parents impact your life? Research shows that most people think strict parenting produces better-behaved kids. However, research studies on discipline consistently show that strict, or authoritarian, child-raising actually produces kids with lower self-esteem who behave worse than other kids and therefore get punished more!

What strict parents do to you? They demonstrate more defiant behavior, hyperactivity, aggression, and antisocial behavior. They also have more emotional problems and show fewer prosocial behaviours. A University of Georgia study found that children whose parents are strict are more likely to act out. Now, some might have been raised in an extremely strict environment and turned out to be functional adults, and that is ok.

There are 4 different parenting styles to choose from when raising children, and there’s no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ way that works for everyone across the board. Parenting often means finding the techniques that work for our children’s unique personalities, and for our own, individual lives. After looking in to the different parenting options, there appears to be a series of disadvantages when it comes to strict parenting. When a child is raised by a strict parent, the focus is typically put on how they can make the parent happy enough to ‘not be in trouble,’ rather than working towards cultivating a happy, healthy home environment centered on the child’s needs.

Many parents believe that strict parenting will result in more parental control, more respect from their child, and a solid foundation of respect. However, Parenting for brain has identified some ways in which strict parenting proves to be a disadvantage for children. Let’s look at some of these disadvantages:

Can lead to child obesity.

Can lead to childhood lying.

Increases risk of depression for kids with severely strict parents.

— Interferes with motivation & creativity.

— Can cause anger issues.

Creates issues with confidence & decision-making.

Breeds bullies.

— You’re always guilt-ridden and apologetic.

You lack confidence and are self-critical.

— You do not invest in Self-care.

— You have a hard time trusting people.

You find it difficult to handle criticism and failure. Does that sound like you? Maybe not but let’s look into some more effects.

Studies show some adults actually struggle with anything new, they struggle with change, this stems from being told you weren’t allowed to, or you simply couldn’t. Always second guessing yourself because you were made to believe you must follow the rules, and you are constantly feeling inferior. Do you struggle to process and express your emotions? Are you the type to shy away from conflict? Do you shut down when conflict arises? Do you let things slide to simply avoid conflict? These scenarios has led to them feeling anxious in such situations. Some find that they are anti-social, they find socializing extremely hard. They feel they always need some kind of permission from someone to do certain things. Some find it hard to articulate themselves and are also passive-aggressive.

Here are some individual adult thoughts, can you relate?

  1. Male

I found it difficult to stand up for myself. It took me years to understand that my opinion matters. I became a people pleaser because I lived to be a good child. I behaved out of fear and not respect. It made me timid and I got bullied.

  • Female

An enormous amount of therapy, self-correcting and anxiety. It wasn’t even about strict, it was control and I don’t think I was very liked or wanted. It created real trauma for me. I am so conscious not to treat my son like that.

  • Female

Major social anxiety. Too introverted, shy and awkward. Unable to take risks. Don’t trust easily. Struggle to make friends. No friends to hang out with. I feel suffocated. I have a temper due to a lot of stuff I bottle up.

  • Male

I hide my problems from people, I have trouble making choices because I’m scared of picking wrong and making people upset, I don’t tell people about my interests in fear of looking dumb, and I say “-if that’s okay” non-stop in case people are lying about being cool with things.

  • Male

I’m a liar. I don’t tell people what I’m going through. I’m too kind & helpful to a point where I come out as a bit pathetic because I know how being unkind to feels like.

How to Break the Cycle? Start by creating new patterns as an adult. Read books to learn about the different patterns that lead to positive relationship outcomes and those that lead to negative relationship outcomes. One key thing to remember is to learn about healthy ways to manage conflict and better ways to connect with your partner emotionally. No one likes fighting, but you may dread it less if you can argue more constructively. Journaling, Journal and increase your self-awareness of your thoughts, feelings, and behaviours in your relationship. Compare what you are noticing with the ways your parents interacted with you and interacted with each other. If you notice that something was missing in your relationship with your parents, reflect on whether you are seeking to find it in your current relationship. Work on trying out new ways of being in your current relationship. Ask more in-depth questions, turning toward your partner when they make attempts to connect with you, and expressing yourself assertively when you feel hurt. After all, trying new things is never a bad idea, especially if you’ve been together for a while. Last but not least, if you continue to find it difficult to break these patterns, therapy may be necessary. A therapist can help you identify these patterns and explore the roadblocks to implementing new, positive ones.

 How does parenting affect adulthood? We can conclude that parenting plays a significant role in the development of adult achievement, both cognitive ability and socioeconomic achievement. Moderate levels of warmth, low levels of strictness and high parental expectation are associated with high adult achievement.

A growing body of research suggests that good parenting skills and a supportive home learning environment are positively associated with children’s early achievements and wellbeing. Hence interventions to improve the quality of home and family life can increase social mobility.

Tune in next time as we explore gentle parenting.


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