--Original published at Ashley's Psyche
The statement “I wish my parents were like that!” seems to be a familiar statement to most generations of children. Every child wishes that they could have a cool parent who lets them stay up late at night and eat sugary snacks whenever they want, but is that really the best way to raise a happy and healthy child?
In my eyes, I believe that the “best” way to parent a child is to maintain a supportive balance of being strict, but also lenient. Growing up with fairly strict parents, especially my father who was not raised in America, I did sometimes wish that my parents would let me do more things on my own or spend more time with my friends; however I still realize the importance of the strict treatment I received.
Due to the fact that my parents were strict, I developed a heavy sense of responsibility very early on in life. I knew the expectations that my parents held and pushed myself to meet them by making sure that I did my chores when asked, completed the schoolwork that I was supposed to, and did not do anything that would likely get me in trouble. I believe that in this sense, being strict with a child would allow them to develop this same sense of responsibility and gain the knowledge that in the “real world,” you cannot just do whatever you want whenever you want.
Nevertheless, I believe that it is also important to balance strict parenting with a sense of leniency. I commonly feel that I am not as independent as I could have been due to my constant need of permission from my parents that I had as a child. Independence plays an important role in decision making and problem solving, causing it to be a crucial trait for children to have. In order to instill this sense of independence in children, I believe that parents should still have rules set for their children, but allow them to make some decisions on their own, whether they are right or wrong.
But overall, whether a parent is strict, lenient, or balances both of these traits, it is most important that a parent is supportive of his or her child during growth. Showing your child any type of support during their early years will help them establish a healthy form of self-confidence that will benefit them later in life. For example, this type of support can be shown by using encouraging words with a child if he or she wants to give up on a task, or by praising a child for completing a task that he or she may have had difficulty completing. No matter what form the support may come in, I believe that it will ensure that the child will grow up to be happy, healthy, and a productive member of society.