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Are you a strict parent? These are the signs you need to loosen up

Sanjukta Sen | June, 20 2016

Making your 5-year-old put away her shoes is fine. Making her keep them lined up in the closet at all times! You might be too strict. You want to be firm with your child, but you do not want to be unreasonable either, which is what strict parents often are. When taken to the extreme, being too strict can lead to negative long-term effects for your child, including the encouragement of certain harmful behaviors like smoking. 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.
Here are 18 signs that indicate you may need to loosen up your parenting style:

You Never Let Your 9-Year-Old Pick Out Her Own Clothes
You Give Forever Punishments
You set the rules. No one may discuss the rules. No one may suggest a different rule or explain why that rule might not work. 
It's Your Way or the Highway. You may set the rules, but that doesn't mean kids shouldn't have options. 
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 behavior 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 has any fun.
Your Child Is Afraid to Show Her Report Card. If you punish your child for a lower grade that what you'd like to see, your child might hide the grade from you. It's better to be supportive to find out a solution.
Your Child Threatens to Run Away. Children who feel they are constantly criticized might fantasize 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,'" says well-known therapist.
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 own passions.
You're Cold to Your Child. It's important to be loving with your child. Strictness often leads to toughness. Discipline works better when you are warm with your child. "If you create a culture of acceptance and respect, your children will feel closer to you.

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