Out of all the attributes I assumed I’d acquire as a parent, “strict” was never one of them. Being an admitted “man-child”, I’d imagined my foray into parenthood to teeter closer to facilitator than a stone-hearted overseer. Yet, upon observing the parenting techniques of others, I’ve grown to recognize my sterner approach. As I traverse the razor-thin line between attentive and “helicopter parent”. I’ve found myself in the “buzzkill” grey area in which my son and I currently reside. My name is Miguel and (apparently) I’m a “strict” dad.
The Drag of Being a Strict Dad
The term “strict” can encompass all manner of rigidity and vigilance. But what it ultimately suggests is a key “no fuck-around” sensibility. For as much as I may struggle with what constitutes as “strictness”, exactly. I’ve witnessed my share of instances which demonstrated what a lack of warranted restrictions could lead to. Although, many parents strive to be viewed as a “friend” through the eyes of their kids. I’m happy to forego friendship for the instilling of civil conduct and common sense practices.
Nothing makes me feel as crotchety than my gut reaction to my son proclaiming, “Well, (_)’s parents allow them to do it.” Without fail, the response of “Do I look like (_)’s dad?”, roles off my tongue so readily I wonder if the rebuttal had always been there, awaiting its moment. As I was raised in an era where kids weren’t privy to the leniencies modern children take for granted i.e.; “time outs”, the allowance of tantrums, personal space protection, etc., I find it difficult, at times, to adjust to these current standards of fatherhood (call me “old-fashioned”).
As much as I’d like to afford my son the freedom to make unlimited mistakes and carve out his own identity. I can’t help but set parameters for him to operate within. This, admittedly, is a contentious undertaking. As we all know how much kids “crave” boundaries. But if I don’t attempt to manage his demeanor, I shudder to think who may.
There Are Rules For a Reason
Rules are a big thing in our house. My wife and I put great effort into employing a fair system for all parties involved. However, let’s face it, most guidelines are rigged in our favor. We feel that it’s necessary for Miles to earn his privileges as opposed to skating by on entitlement. Neither of us was brought up by families who doled out rewards “just because”. So, we feel the same should apply to our son. We’ve hosted many play dates and have viewed, first hand, the manner of behavior some kids are taught to as acceptable. Quite frankly, seeing this only fuels our notion of being on the right path. Because, raising children who lack accountability for their actions, are dormant disasters awaiting their fallout come puberty. We’re strict now, to curtail the bullshit later.
Punishment for his transgressions is immediately administered and fitting to the violation committed. But are always done with love, paired with both a lesson and a candid discussion on why such steps needed to be taken. So far, no long-term trauma has been detected and our Lil’ man is normally bettered by the experience. Or so we like to tell ourselves.
The Benefits of Discipline
I frequently hear the argument that being a “strict parent” only stokes the rebelliousness in our children. For that point and I offer this simple retort – Children are prone to rebel regardless. Those who run an unrestrained household have just as much chance of revolt. The difference being is, that when kids are taught order and consequence, they are given a greater glimpse into how the real world operates. That societies aren’t sustainable if all within it “did as they pleased, how they pleased.” I’d hope that by providing Miles with basic discipline, he will then be able to approach life unobscured by a false sense of self-service. That what he does and how he chooses to do so, affects others. For, as is often uttered by my Grandmother, “Those who don’t learn, must feel.”