Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best

Should parents be super strict? Guiding their child towards high academic achievement, only allowing certain pastimes that are beneficial, which of course the child has to excel at, traditionally this is a musical instrument. Or should they be laissez faire? Allowing their child to find the things they are good at, providing encouragement with just a little discipline.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
Yes because...

Setting clear boundaries and strict rules causes children less stress.

Children need to do know the ground rules and be clear of the boundaries. If you are vague and ambiguous when giving orders, strict about a matter one day but relaxed on the same matter a different day, the child will be confused and not know how to react, it will stress them out more to never be sure what is and is not OK than it is to be punished strictly a couple of times but to know exactly why.

Children need to have ground rules so that they can comply with them throughout their life. If they are unaware of deviant behaviour and they continue that behaviour due to lack of rules being enforced then they would be continuing with the negative behaviour which is not acceptable.

In the article 'Why Chinese Mothers are Superior' http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html there is an example where the father calls the child 'garbage' for insulting their mother. This is intended to show that disrespecting parents is offensive and was something you shouldn't do - a behaviour that makes you seem like a piece of garbage. The child is not actually treated like a piece of garbage, quite the opposite - they aren't allowed to behave in a way that would demean them so much.

No because...

A child also needs to learn that the world isn't black and white, that when they are old enough to have to make moral decisions of their own, they can't just fall back on behaving as their parents would or obeying a strict authority just because it is the easiest way.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
Yes because...

Children want to feel accomplished.

The article 'Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior' (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html) points out that Chinese mothers 'assume strength, not fragility'. Children want to know the joy of working towards something that is genuinely difficult and achieving it in the end after hours of dedicated practice. They are capable of picking themselves up when they fail and feel that this makes the victory greater, the same as adults. If you act as though they will be traumatised by feeling like a failure or being treated as such, the child will also think this way about themselves and never try and aim high. If everyone around them treats them as though they are emotionally fragile, they will assume this is how they are supposed to be and act neurotically. If you expect them to succeed at the highest level, they will assume this is the level that they are supposed to be working at and so will aim that high and eventually succeed.

No because...
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
Yes because...

Children need to experience hard-won success and might not find it on their own.

While children are capable of achieving high goals, they won't necessarily do so on their own. They are equally capable of becoming easily frustrated and feeling something isn't worth the bother, especially if they don't enjoy it. Many things aren't enjoyable if you're bad at them but are enjoyable if you're good at them.

'What Chinese parents understand is that nothing is fun until you're good at it. To get good at anything you have to work, and children on their own never want to work, which is why it is crucial to override their preferences. This often requires fortitude on the part of the parents because the child will resist; things are always hardest at the beginning, which is where Western parents tend to give up. But if done properly, the Chinese strategy produces a virtuous circle. Tenacious practice, practice, practice is crucial for excellence; rote repetition is underrated in America. Once a child starts to excel at something—whether it's math, piano, pitching or ballet—he or she gets praise, admiration and satisfaction. This builds confidence and makes the once not-fun activity fun. This in turn makes it easier for the parent to get the child to work even more.'

(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html)

Sometimes the child will find something they love enough to put in these hours of practice but quite often they don't. They might not be naturally drawn towards something or might not have access to the thing they're gifted at. It is important for children to have this experience so parents should make sure they do, even if it means making a child persevere with something against their will.

No because...

Children do not need to experience hard-won success caused by pushy parenting. Children that are raised to be ambitious, determined, and overall hard-working human beings will be the most successful in life. However, a child's parents will not be their the kid's entire life, and they should learn instead to push themselves on their own. Children know their limits better than parents do, therefore it is clearly better to not cross such boundaries.
Many children enjoy certain activities not only because they are good at said activity. In order to become better, it does not simply just take hard work, but it also takes talent, dedication, and true passion. Over-working every child that ever lived to do an activity was not the key to success, I can assure you, but their excellence came from raw talent, not pushy parents. For example, take any physical activity. In this case, let's use ballet. One gets good at such a remarkable art as dance by practicing, obviously, but only the professionals have talent. This is why "Chinese parents" are so pushy with their children; because they push their kids far beyond their limits in order to completely make up for the lack of natural talent and true desire for the activity that that child really has. When was the last time you heard an Asian parent ask their child if they would rather play soccer, be a sculptor, or play in the Royal Philharmonic? This leaves the child with no choice of what their heart truly desires in life, and what their "calling" is, focusing instead on being completely well-rounded and good at everything. Life isn't fair, and perfection will always be impossible, but it is not until their child is in the orthopedist's office with 3 metatarsal stress fractures and a torn ACL that the idea to maybe stop working their child so hard even remotely crosses that parent's mind. Still, most of these parents just push, and leave their child to face having both knees replaced fast forward 30 years in order to make up for the damage that they will never be able to fully repair, all from this parenting style. Most of these parents are just living vicariously through their children, so they need them to excel in order to feel complete and alive. No matter what the child excels at then, it really isn't hard-won success: it is pushy parenting and when the child finally does succeed, it doesn't matter to them, because it was always the parent's unfulfilled dream.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
Yes because...

It is better for them in the long run

Though in school, children will want free reign and playtime, it is genuinely important they are guided towards education too as some children just won't go down that road themselves. Though this may seem unnecessary at such a young age, it is the opposite. The older a child is, the further down the road they are; whether that is the educational road or an alternative. It is hard to change their mind in the future, especially during their teenage years. Whilst they may seem crestfallen that while all their friends are on Xbox, they are studying or revising for an exam, it will pay off in the long run. On the exam results day, their palms will be sweating and they will be nervous but there is a much larger chance that they will ace everything - this is so much more satisfying than if they achieved a handful of Cs, and a few Bs and Ds like some others. They will feel proudness and a sense of achievement. They will carry on their journey down this road and end up with a good career and a good life. They won't regret it in the end.

No because...

However, saying this. Children receiving such a large amount of pressure at such a young age can be traumatising to them. Some Chinese parents can be overbearing and do not even give out much praise as in their opinion, an A is what is expected of the child and is not really deserving of any praise as it is not particularly significant. The child will try their hardest to impress their parents or attempt to reach the high goals their parents set for them and some will inevitably fail. This leads to low self-esteem, shame and disappointment. In this case, some may give up, some may be mentally affected and some may rebel. Giving up may lead the child to lead an adequate or even under-average, unsatisfying one, disappointing the parent further and severing any bonds between them. Being mentally affected does not necessarily imply that the child would be made mentally handicapped or insane, but that they may have a fear of failure induced by their childhood - this will affect them in nearly all aspects of their life and some may not be able to handle, and some (especially if they are teenagers) may even resort to self-harm. And the last option, rebellion. This may be alcohol, partying, sex, drugs - these are all ways for the child to vent and let out their frustrations on the world and their parents. This will only lead to a downwards spiral, and they will end up in a worse situation than they would have if the parents did not pressure them. Most of these are all possibilities that may occur when a parent does pressure their child too much. So in this case, it is not better in the long run.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

The child may genuinely be incapable of doing what you want them to.

As a child, before I was diagnosed with autism, the teachers in my school tried to make me do several things that were impossible for me - ignoring triggers for panic attacks, controlling involuntary behaviour and interacting socially at the same level as other children. It wasn't that I never tried - I actually couldn't avoid failing. I was punished and degraded for this and so I assumed everyone was hostile and I couldn't talk to people, full stop. I also could not (and still can't to this day) function in day-to-day life if deprived of computer games. This was attempted for several months and all it achieved was to do me lasting psychological damage and make me more fragile and hence more dependent on my computer. To the writer of the article, using a computer game was seen as a useless activity for a child but for me it was not, it was a necessary activity. Parents aren't magically completely empathic with their child, they often make mistakes. If a child is failing and you don't understand why and you just keep pushing them, you'll just break something, in the same was as you don't try and fix a machine by trying the same thing over and over when it doesn't work.

Yes because...

This doesn't mean a parent shouldn't be strict in the child's upbringing in other matters. They need to be well informed about their child's condition, use their common sense, stop doing something immediately if they feel they are actually hurting a child.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

A child needs to develop a personality.

If you force a child to practise something that isn't their real interest in life, you are making changes to their personality that you don't have the right to change. Some people are artistic, some are scientific, some excel physically. Children might not want to practise the same thing you want to, or even something you find useful (they may see a use for the talent that you haven't thought of). Nobody can decide who a person is except themselves, even their parents. Parents already pretty much have power over life and death over their children when they are young and constantly condition them to behave a certain way by everything they say and do. The child needs some way in which they can decide who they are.

Yes because...

Specialised interests don't equal a personality. All musicians aren't the same. Personalities are complex and resilient and always develop regardless of life experiences, except for cases of extreme trauma or abuse. A parent can trim off a child's bad habits without damaging the root of a personality.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

A child needs to play.

A child who is constantly expected to practise and perform well isn't being given chance to be a child - to play, be light-hearted and innocent, do things just for fun and think in imaginative ways rather than learning practical skills all the time. They will grow up an overly serious adult.

Yes because...

Play is an attitude. not a specific activity. You can work hard at games -ask any dedicated World of Warcraft player - and similarly, child can be practicing really hard at what they do but still be thinking of it as play.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

Specialisations shouldn't develop before all the basic skills are taught.

You don't start building before you've laid the foundations. A child at school is still learning about the basics of everything they need to know in life just to survive. They need to concentrate on learning it all, not in specialising in any of it. The curriculum only really starts to specialise at GCSE, where children are actually expected to narrow down what they learn and choose for themselves from a list of subjects. They aren't supposed to specialise in one area until University. To expect a child to hyper-specialise in an area means they can't concentrate on all the other vital things they need to learn.

Yes because...
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

You aren't setting up a good relationship with your child from the start.

If all the time you spend with your children is to push them into studying and admonish them for mistakes, your child will see you as another teacher. In the example in the same article http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748704111504576059713528698754.html, the mother is angry at the father because the child reacts more positively to the father while the mother does the real hard work. If your child has positive experiences associated with both their parents as well as experiences of them expecting them to work hard, being proud when they do and disappointed when they fail, they will understand that their parents are people who look after them, who mean them well and can always be trusted to talk to or turn to in an emergency. A child at a young age can't be expected to just understand that a very strict parent still loves them without it being demonstrated to them.

Yes because...

it is good to let your child know that there is time to play and time to be serious, by setting this grounds it will not only help them to excel but also understand the meaning of management. When there is someone in charge, then and only then can there be work done, without discipline a child wont know the value of time or even being proud of their success. Although a child at such young age will not be expected to understand this value, we should not forgo that this is the time to develop this values in them, praise when you need to scold when you have to and who else but the parents them self should be the best people to teach. "charity begins at home".

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

No because a child needs to be a kid and treated like one.. especially at that age

No because a child needs to be a kid and treated like one.. especially at that age

Yes because...

Strict parenting does not mean they are not being treated as if they are kids, simply that they are kids in need of disipline rather than kids in need of freedom.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

Chidren are not their parent's "property"

Just because a mother gives birth to a child, and the parents financially support the child does not mean that they would try to control all aspects of the child's life. It should be remembered that while it the responsibility of the parents to care for their children, it does not mean that they treat their children like subordinates who must do as the boss (in this case the parents) say. However, it is true that children are in turn responsible towards their parents and should be grateful to their parents for all they have done for the sake of the child, it does not mean that the children would feel bound to abide by their parents rigid rules at all times.

A child is a separate human being with different emotions and different states of mind and parents should consider that. Even though parents may adhere to strict parenting for the welfare of the child, the child should not be suffocated with excessive strictness and should be allowed enough space to grow on their own. A child is a different entity from the parents and should be respected and treated as such.

Yes because...

Parent should control their children, it is the duty of parents to teach their child the values and responsibility that they need to be a part of society. But it does not mean that they should be treated like subordinates, a parent is a pillar of strength a person who the child can fall back to when in need of advice and support, answers to questions they don't know and mentor of society. They are our responsibility and not an object that should be evaluated, God gave them to us and we should care for them. Like an animal who shows love to their children we should also do the same for aren't we a higher species?

If you can hire guards to take care of your property, so should you do so to provide the same for your children when it comes to safety, Your Child is yours and yours alone to keep, for till they can think and decide for them self, it is your responsibility to teach them and mold them to what you see fit. For in the end what we want for every child, what every parent whats for them is just to give them the best. So that they can fit in to Society and live Independently.

Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

Kids with overly strict parents are under a lot of pressure.

People who want something from someone tend to pressure them.
Parents want their kids to do well in school, life, ect.
Thus, kids with overly strict parents are under a lot of pressure.

When kids have overly strict parents it leads them to be under a great deal of pressure. Pressure to do well in school, not act out, be mature, and overall be the best. In countries like China and Korea, there is not much room for learning from your mistakes, or trying things on your own. The parents do not want failure, and do not want their children to do anything that would bring them shame. This happens all over the world, not just in these places. For example, in some households kids need to be virtuous all the time. Their parents impose guilt and control them if they do not act accordingly. Trying to please your parents in school is already a lot as is, but imagine constantly being held up to an impossible standard? I don’t think its wrong to want your children to be well rounded and successful people, however holding them to impossibly high standards is harmful no matter how well intentioned you claim to be.

Yes because...
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

Strict parenting leads to overweight children

Kids with overly strict parents tend to be overweight.
Current research has shown that kids who are raised by very strict parents are five times more likely to be obese than kids who are raised by more democratic parents.

One reason may be, that children with strict parents do not learn how to properly control their eating habits because they are not used to making decisions for themselves, whereas children with democratic parents learn how to make healthy choices. For example, a strict parent might tell their child to finish all of their dinner without listening to the child’s complaints that he or she is full. Thus, kids learn to ignore their bodies’ signals and they develop overeating habits. Another similarity of strict parents and overweight in children may be that food is a means of control for the child. Food may be the one thing their parents don’t have control over, and the child overeats because it makes them feel like they have control.

Yes because...
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

Kids with strict parents are more likely to rebel.

Research has shown that teens act aggressively towards authority.
Teens and young adults see overly strict parents as authority.
Thus, kids with strict parents are more likely to rebel.

Studies show that children raised with a strict parenting style tend to be more angry and rebellious as teenagers and young adults. Its not unusual for a parent to tell a kid to do something, and they do the exact opposite, because they, “felt” like it. If parents constantly set rules and boundaries for their child, there is going to come a time when the kid has had enough. They will begin to break the rules, and feel powerful doing it. Teens especially, do not adhere to rules and consequences. They are at the age of discovering their identities, finding independence, hormonal changes and peer pressure, all of which lead to acting out against mom and dad. Trying to control every aspect of their life is not what’s best for them, because in the long run they wont appreciate it, and in turn, will go against everything they were taught just because they want control.

Yes because...
Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best
No because...

Kids deserve some freedom.

I think that kids with strict parents are most likely to go into different "modes" when the parents are strict to them, kind of like depression or feeling like their not loved because their parents don't let them do anything. The parents on the other hand think that their doing a good thing for their child and that it would help them go far in life and become successful. But kids do need freedom and if their parents are overprotective and strict, than that kid is most likely to go into depression or have suicidal thoughts.

Yes because...


Spare the Rod, Spoil the Child? Strict Parenting Works Best

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