By Emery Hanel (12th Grade)
A recently published psychological study reveals that a strict parenting style is more likely to cultivate an environment in which a child will regularly lie. This is a consequence of the fact that they feel unsafe being honest with their parents. Philippa Perry, renowned author and psychotherapist, confirms that too strict of parental guidance has a negative impact on children’s integrity. Perry attests that such authoritarian parenting enables a child’s willingness and ability to lie.
Moreover, too strict of parenting has been proven to have severe ramifications on the mental and emotional health of a child. Research indicates that children of authoritarian parents are at risk of the developing low self-esteem, psychological issues such as depression, anxiety, and an inability to control anger. These children are also more likely to bully their peers.
Authoritarian-type parenting teaches children to use fear is a source of power over others. It can also do the exact opposite: teach children to always be submissive. This encourages children to never stray from routine and be afraid to experience the new. These children are more likely to be irresponsible and lack accountability when they are adults.
While parents may think they are teaching their child to be obedient, they are actually conditioning their child to never think on their own behalf. These children have a poor sense of intuition as they rely on their parent’s rules to dictate the choices they make, and these children are more likely to struggle with independence and decision-making later in life.
Likewise, children raised in strict households often struggle to define themselves and create a sense of character. Because free-thinking is limited in strict households, these children never have the opportunity to challenge themselves by discovering their own opinions on the world– they merely regurgitate what their parents believe. This breeds an intolerance of others, relating to the idea that these children are more likely to be bullies than their counterparts with more lenient parents. Children with strict parents also tend to see the world as more “black and white”, “good and bad”, and “right and wrong”, rather than for what it really is: a place of diverse perspectives in all the facets of life.
One of the most notable deterrents keeping parents from being more lenient with their children is the belief that by allowing children more freedom, children will make bad choices. However, studies overwhelmingly reveal the exact opposite: children who are disciplined and monitored more harshly are more likely to be rebellious.
The Journal of Developmental Psychology claimed that allowing children to express how they feel–especially in a situation where they disagree with their parents–incites “more complex thought and language development”. Children raised in households with more permissive parents are more likely to have better communication skills than their counterparts raised in households with authoritarian parents. Likewise, they are more likely to have a stronger, healthier relationship with their parents, reach out to leaders and authority figures, and have higher self-esteem.
Children who feel safe being honest with their parents are less likely to develop psychological issues such as depression and anxiety. Children with permissive parents are likely to mature and eliminate dependency on others faster than children with authoritarian parents.
Emery Hanel is a senior at Jesuit High School who enjoys reading, writing, and playing lacrosse.