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Restrictions Make Rebels?

Parents are selfless creatures – they want the best and only the best for their children. At the same time, they are no superhumans. Their actions stem from their own experiences – if they grew up with distant or negligent parents, they want to course correct and pay more attention to their own children.

But life is fluid, ever-evolving – new trends and new ways. Some of our old definitions may not ring true for our children.

Let us go over some of the common parenting styles identified by researchers.

  • Authoritarian: Parents expect children to obey their demands without question or explanation and mistakes are severely punished.

  • Authoritative: Like the authoritarian style, parents expect a lot from their children but with feedback and support. They are more nurturing and forgiving.

  • Permissive: Under this style, parents make very few demands of their children. They prioritise building a friendship and allow children to make their own decisions.

  • Uninvolved: Parents are usually detached from their children. They are indifferent, unresponsive, dismissive, and sometimes even physically or emotionally abusive.

Parenting is often driven by some universal motives such as respecting elders, doing well in school, having a good peer group, being aware of values and discipline, etc. But sometimes, you might not realise that you’re pressuring your kids by imposing high levels of control, harsh discipline, and limited autonomy – eventually restricting their individuality. Such parenting approaches may contribute to feelings of resentment, low self-esteem, and a lack of trust between parents and children.

This can potentially increase the likelihood of rebellious behaviour as a means to assert autonomy or challenge parental authority. After all, you tend to do more of what you are not allowed to do! In fact, one research by the Art Of Living suggests that over 60% of young children agreed that overly strict family rules were one of the major factors in their rebellious attitude.

Rebellion can take any form.

  • Indulgence in wrong behaviour and unacceptable acts: Children might go on breaking rules such as curfew violations, engaging in forbidden activities (substance abuse, reckless driving, etc.), or arguing, talking back, or refusing to comply with parental directives.

  • Detachment from parents and replacement with negative influence: Feeling distant from their parents, rebellious kids withdraw from family interactions, isolate themselves, or seek solace outside the home environment. Children end up seeking validation and acceptance from their peers who may themselves be dealing with parental problems of their own.

  • Bad academic results: Children may demonstrate a decline in academic performance or exhibit behavioural problems at school.

  • Increased anxiety and depression: Harsh parenting styles can further impact the mental health of children leading to depression and anger management problems, especially if they grow up with parents who yell, shout, or verbally humiliate them.

So, always know that your child will eventually live and learn. Hence, let us go over what you can do to make your child feel more confident, safe, and loved.

  • Don’t overly criticise but also praise: Boost their growth by boosting their confidence

  • Don’t micromanage: Let them be when it comes to their eating habits or their interactions with the outside world. Let them be mindful decision-makers.

  • Mentor, but don’t hand-hold: Consider talking with your child about solutions to their problems without attempting to solve them yourself completely.

  • Set rules, not ultimatums: Instead of telling your child that it’s your way or the highway, try setting house rules with their input and enforce them consistently

  • Give credence to your child’s feelings and keep the communication open and honest: Be all ears to their feelings and opinions too, regardless of age and experience

Lastly, acknowledge their individuality. After all, you don't want to be the kind of parents who would do anything for their kids except let them be themselves!

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This is very insightful! Well done. In the journey of raising our kids, the learning never stops.

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