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"Do it one more time, and I'll hit you."

"If you don't listen to me, I'll spank you." 

"Why are you so stupid?"


It all sounds too familiar, isn't it? I'm sure most of us in Asia had experienced it one too many times when we were young. Those statements hit close to home.

Strict parenting, also known as fear-based parenting, uses threatening statements, negative remarks and physical punishment to discipline children. This parenting style, sad to say, is the most popular and widely used method in Asia. And because it has been known to be the most effective way to teach children, strict parenting style has been passed down from generations to generations.  

Since it is the most widely used method, and if everyone is doing it, why is it wrong? What kind of negative effect will it have on children? 

1. Low Self-Esteem - Eventually Leading to Depression and Anxiety


Strict parents tend to hover over their kids, controlling everything they do. They place instructions and demands on children, and do not empathise and listen to what their children needs. Children growing under strict parents suffer from low self-esteem (lack of self-worth and self-identity) as well as confidence issues. This will affect their relationship with friends and colleagues as they struggle with self-doubts and insecurities, eventually leading them to depression and anxiety. 

2. Lack of Self-Control

When strict parents take control of a child's life, the child loses the opportunity to learn how to self-control and self-regulate (manage one's emotions). With the lack of control over his/her own life, children will learn to be overly dependent over parent's instructions and resist in taking responsibility for their own actions. Children are not motivated to behave. They feel like they have to, not because they want to.   

3. Poor Anger Management

Children learn what they see and experience, especially from parents. If parents use force and violence to cope with anger, children will learn that too. Children will think that is the right and the only way to cope with their emotions. Hence they will follow suit. If you hit, they will hit too. And some parents start to wonder why their children engage in physical violence towards their friends in school? Now you know why. 

4. Power Struggle = Bully

When a child experiences low locus of control and feels powerless at home, guess where they will seek this power? In school, by bullying other children. Children with insecurities and poor self-control do not know how to regulate their emotions outside of the home. They also tend to exert their power on weaker students to feel in control. Sounds familiar? Children are doing exactly what their parents are doing to them at home - bullying in school. 

5. Poor Parent-Child Relationship

With constant control and punishment, strict parents undermine their relationship with children. Lack of love, kindness and empathy in parents will not nurture loving relationships. Parents can argue that they are doing all this out of love for their child and that they are doing it at their child's best interest. But does your child feel the same way, that you love them? 

Strict parenting and punishment is not the way to nurture good kids. In fact, is the total opposite. Don't be the parent that brings out the worst in them, but be the one that brings out the best in them. 

Find out how to discipline with kindness and respect here.​​

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