Long-Term Effects of Strict Parenting

A person's parenting style can have a long-lasting impact on a child’s emotional, social and psychological development, so it is important to adopt the most effective style for you and your child. In her review on parenting styles, published in JSTOR.org, a digital library of books and academic journals, Diana Baumrind, a clinical and developmental psychologist, argues that parenting styles can determine the kind of person a child will become in adulthood. Strict or authoritarian parenting, for instance, may have benefits, but it can have negative long-term effects on a child’s personality.

Authoritative vs. Authoritarian

Strict parenting can be beneficial if it is authoritative rather than authoritarian. Authoritative parenting entails balancing “warmth and communication with appropriate control and supervision,” according to Holly Shakya, a postdoctoral research fellow at the San Diego School of Medicine. She justifies her support of authoritative parenting by asserting that it “is not only associated with reduced substance abuse in our own children, but it is also associated with reduced substance abuse in our own children's friends.”


If you are too rigid and controlling, you may tend to judge your child’s behavior according to a strict code of conduct. According to Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist and author of “Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting,” being too strict can cause depression and loneliness in children, because a child may feel unwanted. A child may become insecure, as he may feel unworthy of acceptance and affection. The child may then develop low self-esteem, lack of confidence or an inferiority complex.


Although children can become overachievers in the process of trying to appease an authoritarian or strict parent, they may gradually develop a rebellious attitude in response. A child forced to take a certain subject in school, for example, may initially perform well but may eventually perform poorly intentionally. Children may also develop a dislike for activities you force them to do in obedience to your wishes.


Strict parenting can mold your child into being conservative in adulthood. Since everything is adult-centered and conditional, the child may never learn to think independently. Children may lack freedom of thought and independent choice because they prefer to follow orders and accept other people’s opinion. Strict parents may incorrectly interpret such passivity as obedience. Strict parenting, however, can create emotionally detached children.


Children of strict parents may consider their parents aggressive and may consequently develop physical or non-physical aggression behaviors. They may develop the view that a more aggressive person is “superior” and always gets what he wants. This idea may develop when they observe parents getting their way in the house by instilling fear.

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