In January 2009, the interviewer from the BBC Britain asked me if I thought I was a strict parent. I have never liked the word strict, because I have associated it with a parent who yells a lot, is stern looking and engages in power struggles. So, in response to the question, I said, “I wouldn’t use the word strict to describe me, but I would say I am firm.”
I shared my thoughts about the word strict with a wise friend of mine. She looked me in the eye and said, “You are wrong about people who are strict. A strict parent DOESN’T HAVE TO YELL.”
All of the sudden I wondered if the semantics of the word strict have been changed in recent years.
Strict isn’t what I thought it was. I looked the word up in my Webster’s 1828 Dictionary. It said:
“Exact, accurate, rigorously nice, governed or governing by exact rules; to observe the strictest rules of virtue and decorum. Not indulgent.”
I think it is pretty safe to say, I am probably one of the strictest parents I know. I have found that low tolerances make everyone happier and more industrious. Being strict makes me a fun person to be around. My children love my strictness, because then they know the exact road to success. This gives them direction, success and confidence.
At least I now know why I don’t feel the need to yell; “a strict parent doesn’t need to yell.” A strict parent has a system based on principles, which virtuously governs the home. This system keeps the parent calm. A good system of government = security for the parent.
It is also good to point out that if a parent finds himself anxious, frustrated or yelling, then he has probably forgotten to use his family government system during a specific incident. For some reason the parent gave up their strict principles and turned to an emotional type of parenting. A strict system keeps everyone secure, even the parent. Parents have to govern themselves for children to learn self-government too.
See more parenting posts and answers to questions on teachingselfgovernment.com