Academic achievement, enhanced safety, confidence, self-control, and maturity… these are some of the benefits of strict and authoritarian parenting. While many parents agree with this statement, sometimes this parenting style backfires and causes more harm than good to both parents and child. Parental sternness does control behavior - temporarily that is - and the young person is later left with unwanted souvenirs.
Parents form the first communal atom to which children relate. Having it based on intimidation and emotional blackmail, inflexible rules and conditional love, high control and low nurturance, is more than enough to cause severe trauma to a youngster. From there, things could go horribly wrong as the child experiences a lack of interpersonal skills at school, loses interest in keeping up with the parents once off to college, and finds difficulties in maintaining harmony in his own nuclear family. Trouble in paradise continues as the young adult fails to make good decisions on his own and defers for his parents to do so.
Poor to non-existent communication between strict parents and their children makes it very difficult for parents to monitor the influences in their child’s life, and for the child to confide in his parents when he encounters issues he cannot solve on his own. Because he becomes fully aware and avoidant of the punishments in store for him, he resorts to unsavory means, like confiding in strangers, hiding his peers, activities, opinions, and emotions from his parents, or simply shutting down verbally. Leading this sort of double life is also fueled by a perpetual feeling of being scrutinized, judged, and scolded on a daily basis.
Problems with authority
A child raised by authoritarian parents believes that one who inspires fear has the power, and one who has the power is always right. This conviction pushes him to extremes; it either makes him submissive, subservient, and passive, or abusive, aggressive, and rebellious. As he grows, he will either not question authority when he should, or will act disrespectfully because he does not view it as an abiding force, which risks to put a damper on his successful relationships, both personal and professional. Or he could simply and utterly hate authority, i.e. authority figures, common conventions, and the established order.
Rote learning, poor school performance, and academic shortcomings may very well result from forcing a child to do exceptionally in scholar institutions. Unless the child learns his lesson like a parrot, he will be unable to form a well-founded argument. And as long as his strict parents shame or degrade him for not performing well generally, there will still be a strong correlation between low grades and authoritarian parenting. So, unless the student stops associating between schooling and losing battles, learning and struggling, the learning process will not go past the passive memorization to enable an actual education.
Authoritarian upbringing leaves little room for autonomy, self-discipline, and self-regulation – traits that should be internalized at a young age based on reckoning and loving limits, rather than feeling wronged and manipulated. When such qualities are only applied on parents’ watch, they usually go up in smoke once supervision is out the door. Consequences are disturbing: irresponsibility, recklessness, and delinquency. They will be empowered by the impulsivity to break the rules, disgust of authority, and chronic rebellion – agents that will very soon become the norm of everyday conduct and the youngster’s compass in life.
Because nothing he thinks, says, or does is ever good enough, the child grows believing that he is never good enough, which can only induce an array of emotional instabilities: feelings of rejection and defeat, worthlessness and low self-esteem, inadequacy and anxiety, and even depression. Because these kids are trained by parents that nothing is fun unless you do it right, and nothing is done right unless done their way, the child grows unable to trust his own instincts and talents, as well as other people. Perhaps the most horrid part is having this idea that love and human warmth ought to be earned, not offered.
Children are complete human beings endowed with an identity, a personality, a character, and a savoir-faire inherited by the process of human evolution. What a child really needs to grow healthy and strong is the right type of guidance. Studies have shown that such support is best provided by the authoritative parenting style, one that sets limits but explains why while showing genuine affection... one that expects high responsiveness while showing appreciation when granted by the child. Parenting is not and will never be an easy task that comes with brief directions and an emergency kit. Nevertheless, one can always try to do better.