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Too Strict? -- Or Not Strict Enough?
Tanya Altmann, MD, FAAP posted:
Moms and Dads often worry that if they are too strict, their children won't like them. The other end of the dilemma is that if parents aren't strict enough, their children may get into trouble.

How do you decide rules and boundaries? Is there a middle ground?

Children need to learn that there are consequences, what is right and wrong, to respect others, and the importance of working hard to achieve their goals. We want our children to feel safe and secure, and to encourage them to be the best they can be. To achieve these goals for our children, parents make boundaries, enforce consistent rules and apply consequences.

I've never met a parent who didn't want the best for their child. But keep in mind that we must try not to overdo it. If you're too strict, you run the risk that your child may resent your rules and completely rebel. On the other hand, parents who don't make rules, bend the rules, or attempt to be their child's best friend, are not creating appropriate boundaries.

Consider involving your child in the rulemaking process. Spell out clear and reasonable guidelines. If your child comes home with an unacceptable grade, try to resist the temptation to immediately ground him for a month. First, discuss the exam and what he thought about his grade, and what he thinks would help him improve.

Limiting a child's afterschool activities and television or computer screen time may be a solution, but a new approach to studying may also help the issue. What's important is that you discuss it together and come up with a plan that will help you both achieve your long term goals.

The most important thing to remember? Tell your child every day that you love them -- even when you ground them!

Do you think your rules and boundaries for your child are too strict, not strict enough, or just right? Share your feelings about this common dilemma faced by parents with others in the community.
Momof2QtBoys responded:
I have been told I am too nice to my kids, but I dont' think that I am. I discipline them when they need it. I have had strangers come up to me in public places and tell me how well behaved my boys are and how they actually have manners. So, when I hear comments like that I think I am doing a pretty ok job. In the end it is my job to raise to independent men who respect themselves and enjoy life.

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