What is Harsh Parenting

Parenting can be hard. There are so many decisions to make and different ways to do things. It’s no wonder parents sometimes feel like they’re doing it wrong. One question often arises is whether or not to be a harsh parent. Do some people think this is the only way to get kids to behave but is it really? Let’s take a look at what harsh parenting is and how it can affect kids.

What is Harsh Parenting?

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Harsh parenting is defined as coercive acts and negative emotional expressions directed towards children by parents. This can include verbal aggression, such as yelling, and physical aggression, such as hitting. Harsh parenting also includes engaging in intimidating behaviors like verbal or physical threats as a means of punishment. This can be highly detrimental to a child’s emotional development and lead to problems like anxiety and depression later in life. Many people believe that parenting requires a firm hand, but there is a big difference between being strict and being harsh.

The Difference Between Strict Parenting and Harsh Parenting

How strict is too strict? This is a debated issue since parenting styles, and cultural differences have different definitions of being strict. Some say that harsh and strict parenting is the same, while others say that you can be strict but still gentle. Let’s go with the latter. Being a strict parent means that you set the expectations about your rules and the children understand the consequences of their shortcomings. In most Asian households, strict means being consistent with rules, discipline, roles, responsibilities, and rewards. This means that although there is very little room for negotiation in rules and consequences, the same goes for rewards. If it were agreed that the child would get a new game if he got top grades, then the child would get the game. If it were decided that he would not get the newly released game if he got a low grade, he wouldn’t get it. In the eyes of Europeans and Americans, this may already be harsh.

Let’s define strict parenting not as a discipline method or a factor of authoritarian parenting but rather as a parenting method. Think of it as strict compliance with the rules that the parent and the child have agreed to, like the constitution. Let’s also define “harsh” as an abusive discipline that involves aggressive language, physical punishment, psychological abuse, and irrational rules.

How Does Harsh Parenting Affect A Child?

How does harsh parenting affect a child? Harsh parenting can negatively impact a child in several ways. Poor academic outcomes are one possible consequence, as children who are subjected to harsh discipline may have difficulty concentrating and keeping up with their peers. Additionally, boys raised in a punitive environment are more likely to engage in juvenile delinquency, while girls may be more likely to participate in early sexual activity. In either case, these behaviors can lead to severe problems later in life.

Harsh parenting behaviors have a negative impact on parent-child relationships. Harsh parenting can lead to trust issues, communication problems, and a lack of emotional closeness between parents and their children. In some cases, harsh parenting can even lead to estrangement.

Harsh or authoritarian parenting can lead to an increased risk of anxiety problems and depression in children. This is because these parenting styles tend to be high in conflict and criticism and low in warmth and support. Children raised in this environment often have difficulty forming attachments and trusting others. As a result, they may have difficulty regulating their emotions and develop social or behavioral problems.

How to be Strict But Not Harsh

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Here are a few tricks to be strict but not harsh:

Short and concise instructions.

As a parent, you want to do everything you can to help your child succeed. That includes giving them clear and concise instructions. Too much explanation can confuse the child and make it harder for them to follow the rules. If the conversation goes on too long, the rules tend to become vague rather than clear. Keep your instructions short and to the point to help your child understand what they need to do. This will also help you be more strict without becoming harsh. By being clear and concise, you can set firm limits while still maintaining a supportive and nurturing relationship with your child.

Poker face.

It is said that children learn best from what they see rather than what they’re told. So when disciplining your child, it’s important to set a good example by keeping a poker face. This doesn’t mean you have to be cold or unfeeling, but it does mean not letting your emotions get the better of you. If you show anger, disappointment, or hurt when delivering discipline, it will only serve to upset your child and make them more resistant to change. Instead, have a calm and serious conversation with them afterward about why their behavior was wrong and how they can do better next time. Let them experience their actions’ natural consequences without adding additional emotional turmoil. You can be a strict parent without being harsh by staying calm and collected.

Stick to the agreed consequences.

When setting rules and expectations, include punishment and have the children decide the consequence. If the rules are broken or expectations are unmet, do not add any consequence. This will let them know that you mean what you say, and they will be more likely to behave. Additionally, it is important to be consistent with your punishments. If you only follow through sometimes, they will learn that they can get away with breaking the rules sometimes. However, if you are always consistent, they will eventually learn that breaking the rules has consequences that they don’t want to deal with.

Be open to admitting you were wrong or too quick to deliver the consequence.

No one is perfect, and that includes parents. We all make mistakes, and effective parenting requires being able to admit when we’re wrong. If you find that you’ve been too quick to deliver a consequence, own up to it and apologize. This will help your child see that you’re fair and willing to listen to their side of the story. It’s also important to be open to the possibility that you may have misjudged the situation. If, after investigating, you find that your child is not guilty, let them know that you’re sorry for jumping to conclusions and offer equivalent compensation. Taking these steps will help you become a strict parent without becoming harsh.

Believe it or not, it is possible to be strict without becoming a harsh parent. It would be hard, but you can do it with the help of many available sources. Have you tried any of these techniques? Let us know in the comments below!



I'm a Mom of two daughters, Freya and Ava. I love to share insights on how parents can be better parents. I write about topics that are relevant to me as a parent: things like parenting style, relationship, marriage, and balancing work and family.

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