What Are The Signs That You Are Too Strict With Your Child?

A lot of parents worry about being too strict with their child

Do you ever wonder if you’re a little too strict with your child? Do you worry that your expectations may be too high? Do you question whether the consequences you give your child are a bit too harsh? 

Making your 5-year-old put away their shoes is OK. Making them keep the shoes lined up in the closet at all times? You might be too strict. 

You want to be firm with your child, but you don’t want to be unreasonable either, which is what strict parents often are. 

When taken to the extreme, being too strict can lead to adverse long-term effects for your child, including encouraging certain harmful behaviours like smoking and drinking alcohol.

Placing unrealistic demands on your child sets your child up for failure and frustrates you, so it’s best to find that sweet spot between a controlling and relaxed approach.

However, there are some signs that you might be a little bit too tough on your kids. Here are a few signs that you may be too strict with your child.

What Is Strict Parenting?

Strict parenting involves rigid enforcement of rules and restrictions on a child’s behaviour, choices, activities, and even their everyday routine.

It is characterised by high expectations and has severe punishments due to failing the set standards and rules.

However, the word ‘strict’ is subjective as there is no formal manual for parenting. Parents following the same style as you do will not consider you to be strict. But other parents may.

My Baby Nursery has a wide range of baby nursery cot bedding and manchester to give your baby the perfect night’s sleep.

Signs That You Are a Strict Parent

You may not always be aware that you are too strict in the name of protecting your child. So, look out for these signs of an authoritarian parent:

strict (2)

You Have a Zero-Tolerance Policy

While it’s essential to have clear rules, it’s equally important to recognise that there are always exceptions to the authorities. 

Rather than taking an authoritarian stance on everything, show a willingness to evaluate your child’s behaviour in the circumstance.​

Your Child Lies a Lot

While it’s normal for kids to stretch the truth sometimes, research is detailed that harsh discipline turns kids into good liars. 

If you’re too strict, your child is likely to lie to avoid punishment.

Your Child Has More Restrictions Than Other Kids

There’s nothing wrong with having different rules than the other parents. 

But, if you’re always the strictest parent in the crowd, it could be a sign that your expectations are a bit too high.

You Have Little Patience for Silliness

Most kids love ridiculous jokes and silly games. 

And while those jokes can get old fast, and silly behaviour can slow you down, it’s important to savour the moment and have fun sometimes.

You Struggle With Other People’s Lack of Discipline

Strict parents often have difficulty tolerating everything, from how a teacher runs a classroom to the way Grandma handles behaviour problems

It’s OK for kids to be exposed to adults with different rules and different types of discipline.

You Have a Long List of Rules

Rules are good, but too many practices can be harmful. 

Keep your rules simple and only include the most important ones that you want your child to remember. Post your list of household rules in a place where you can refer to it as needed.

Your Child Has Little Time for Fun

Many children with strict parents run from activity to activity with little downtime. While some structure is essential, it’s also critical for kids to have free Time.

You Don’t Allow for Natural Consequences.

Strict parents often go to great lengths to avoid letting a child make a mistake. 

But kids are often capable of learning from their mistakes when they face natural consequences.

You Nag a Lot

Nagging prevents kids from taking responsibility for their behaviour. 

If you find yourself nagging your child about everything from when to do their homework to practising playing the piano, they won’t learn to do those things on their own.

You Constantly Hand Out Directions

If you’re always saying things like, “Sit up straight,” “Quit dragging your feet,” and “Don’t slurp your drink,” your child will tune you out. 

Save your instructions for the most critical issues so your voice will be heard.

You Don’t Offer Choices.

Rather than ask, “Would you rather put your clothes away first or make your bed?” strict parents often bark orders. 

Giving kids a little freedom, especially when both choices are good ones, can go a long way to gaining compliance.

You Don’t Let Kids Do Things Their Way.

Sometimes strict parents insist children do everything a certain way. They insist on making the bed the “right way” or playing with the dollhouse “appropriately.” 

While there are times that kids need adult instruction, it’s essential to allow for flexibility and creativity.

You Praise Outcome Instead of Effort

Strict parents usually don’t offer a lot of praise. They reserve their affirmations for perfection rather than effort. 

If you only praise your child for getting 100 on a test or scoring the most goals in the game, your child may think your love is conditional on high achievement.

You Make Outrageous Threats

While most parents are guilty of making an over-the-top treat once in a while, strict parents make outrageous threats regularly. 

They often say things like, “Clean up your room right now, or I’m throwing all your toys in the trash!” 

Avoid making threats that you aren’t prepared to follow through with, and make sure consequences are about disciplining, not punishing, your child.

You Never Let Your Child Pick Out Their Clothes

If a parent treats a child younger than they are, more youthful than they act or out of sync with the child’s history of behaviour and trustworthiness, then they are likely to be too strict.

You Give Forever Punishments

Children need to have a set limit on discipline for it to be effective.

You Give Orders With No Feedback

You set the rules. No one may discuss the rules. No one may suggest a different direction or explain why that rule might not work. Parents who do not allow dialogue and conversation are too strict.

It’s Your Way or the Highway

You may set the rules, but your kid should also have options. Parents who do not allow choice in any decision are being too strict.

The Consequences Are Too Big

Being grounded the whole summer for missing one curfew is probably too strict. The punishment will be more effective if it fits the crime. 

The Consequence Is Not Linked to the Behavior

If your child broke a window, a three-month restriction is not necessarily effective. A better consequence would be to have him pay for the window with his allowance.

There’s an Absence of Fun at Home

Strict parents typically discipline all the Time, never praising or laughing with their child.

You Never Let Your Child Go Anywhere With Other Children

Fear of missing out can drive anxiety in children. Blocking kids from activities with their peers can add to these worries and delay social development.

You Don’t Set Realistic Expectations.

Setting limits is fine, but they should be in line with the age and behaviour of your child.

Your Child Always Wants to Play at a Friend’s House — Not at Home

With all the rules and maybe even criticism at your house, no one can have any fun. It’s no wonder they’d rather play elsewhere.

Your Child Is Afraid to Show Their Report Card

If you punish your child for a lower grade than you’d like to see, your child might hide the status from you. It’s better to be supportive to work through the problem and find a solution.

Looking for bedding manchester for the baby nursery? Look no further! My Baby Nursery has you covered.

Your Child Threatens to Run Away

Children who feel they are constantly criticised might fantasise about living elsewhere. When children do run away, they often do so as a way to resist parental authority.

You Never Engage in Healthy Self-Disclosure With Your Child

Parents often feel like they cannot share a part of their past for fear their children will use it against them.

You Make Your Child Play the Same Sport You Did

It’s good to encourage your child to be active, but he needs to like the sport or hobby to want to continue with it.

You’re a Constant Nag

You want to strive for a good relationship with your child, not one in which you constantly nag or remind. If that’s all you do, you might be setting too many rules or be too involved in her daily life.

Your Child Withdraws from You

Strict parents may set up an environment where kids don’t feel comfortable coming to them about problems they might be having.

Your Child Has No Downtime

If you schedule every minute of your child’s day with chores and activities, you are probably too strict. Children need some time to themselves to pursue their passions.

You’re Cold to Your Child

It’s essential to be loving with your child. Strictness often leads to toughness. Discipline works better when you’re warm with your child. If you create a culture of acceptance and respect, your children will feel closer to you.

You Make Too Many Rules.

It’s a sign that you are too strict for everyone’s good if you set so many rules that you can’t possibly enforce them all. Instead, she says, set fewer rules and be consistent in reinforcing them. Follow-through is important.

Your Threats Are Over the Top.

Saying ‘I am going to destroy all your toys’ or ‘throw you out of the house won’t work. If your kid says ‘fine,’ all you can do is back down. What you have done is made an empty threat and taught your child to misbehave. Think carefully about consequences before you spell them out.

Your Rules Overstep Your Parental Boundaries.

Parents can and should set rules about how a child does in school, how she treats other people and safety issues. But regulations on personal matters — for example, what instrument the child should take up — may not be appropriate.

Parents and kids don’t always agree about which issues are personal and which are related to safety or morals. 

For instance, music with violent or demeaning lyrics may strike parents as something to set rules about. 

But teens may say it’s just their taste. Because boundaries are not always clearly defined, it’s essential to discuss and weigh both sides when deciding what to do.

strict (3)

Your Love Is Conditional (or Your Words Make it Sound That Way).

You should see things like, “I always love you, but I expect you to behave in this way,” or, “I know you can do better.'” But be cautious; don’t say, “You are garbage if you don’t behave in this way.” When you do, you are attacking your child’s core.

You Don’t Watch Your Words.

It’s not just how you say it; it’s what you say. Even if your tone is measured, your words matter; calm voices can say mean things. Content is more important than the way it is said.”

You Don’t Put in the Time.

When you ask your children to do something difficult, don’t just order them to do it. Work alongside them instead. Good parenting is about putting the Time in.

You Are Always the Cop, Nag, Monitor, or Reminder.

If these are the mainstays of your relationship to excluding other things that one could and should do as a parent, you may be too strict.

Your Child Leaves You Out.

If your child talks to you less and less about the things that matter, this could be a sign that you are too strict. You can win the battle but lose the war. You can get your kids to do things that you like them to do, but they are not opening up to you about the things that make them anxious or uneasy.

Your Children Don’t Bring Their Friends Over.

Kids want rules, and all kids will gravitate to a house with rules. But if you spend your Time reminding children about the rules, criticising your child in front of other kids, and asking too many probing questions, your kids may stop bringing their friends by. 

If children ask for return play dates and other kids talk to you and approach you, you have made your house a home that kids want to be in.

Your Child Is Seen and Not Heard.

In the 21st century — with kids tweeting and Facebooking everything — they expect to be heard; you’re too strict if you don’t give your kids an opportunity each day to state their opinion. 

You don’t have to agree with them or do what they are saying. But it would help if you allowed them the Time to say it.

Your Child Is All Work and No Play.

Kids need comfort time and downtime to synthesise what they have learned. 

If they are filled with skills, knowledge, and information that they can’t use and are just learning for the sake of learning, their brains end up like sponges absorbing things, but they have no idea what it all means.

You Are the Only One.

Find out what other parents are doing. When no other parents are doing the same thing as you — such as not allowing your children to go online even with parental supervision — you may be too strict.

You Forbid Anything.

“You don’t encourage something, but you also allow it. Say, ‘I’d rather you didn’t do this for these reasons. But if you choose to do it anyway, I may keep a closer watch on you because of my concerns.

The Rules Are the Rules, No Questions Asked.

You have to have rules in place. There have to be clear, consistent rules because it helps with predictability and expectations. 

But there also needs to be some wiggle room in particular situations. For example, if your child has a midnight curfew, but the designated driver is drunk, your child needs to feel comfortable phoning home to ask for leniency and a ride, she says.

If You Are Authoritarian, Not Authoritative.

There’s a difference. Authoritative parents set clear expectations and can be hard on their kids. 

But they do it out of warmth and concern for a child’s betterment, whereas authoritarian parents say, “It’s my way or the highway.” 

Authoritarian parents are controlling and not warm. An authoritative parent is age-appropriately holding and also friendly.

You Are as Cold as Ice.

Nobody cares if parents are authoritarian as long as they are warm. The problem is “when you are tough and cold.”

The Focus Is Always on Learning

Strict parents often turn every activity into a mandatory lesson of some kind. 

Kids can’t colour a picture without being quizzed on their colours, or they can’t play with a dollhouse unless they’re constantly reminded of proper furniture placement. 

The play itself allows imagination and creativity and can be a great escape from the typical structure and routine.


Your intention of being a strict parent could be good. 

You may want to discipline your children to streamline their life, give them a structure and make them disciplined and successful. 

But what if you could do that all without being very strict? Explore ways to treat a middle path where you are neither too tough nor too lenient.

Check out our range of baby nursery bedding manchester to ensure a good night’s rest for your bub.

Scroll to Top