How To Tell If Your Parenting Is Too Harsh

by Autumn Jones

Raising children is not for the frail. You have to be tough when you'd rather melt and find the strength to be patient when you're last good nerve has been spent. Striking that balance of firm and loving in your parenting style takes loads of trial and error, and it's possible for the scale to tip too far to one side or the other. Perhaps you have a feeling that you're strict tendencies are overshadowing your softer side, but you're not certain how to know if your parenting is too harsh. Although it may take time to see a strict home life affects kids, there are some hints along the way.

Having a harsh parenting style results in kids feeling like they don't have a lot of wiggle room to make mistakes, which can cause issues in both the present and future. According to the website for Psych Central, when it comes to authoritarian parenting, "These parents have high expectations and often overwhelm their children with strict rules and regulations." Without realizing it, parents may think they are doing their children a favor by raising them in this environment, but when things are too one-sided, you'll begin to notice warning signs in your child's behavior.

One of the most predominate behaviors children display when their parents are too harsh is signs of anxiety. Wanting to please their parents and worrying about making mistakes that will disappoint them can actually change the way a child's brain works. As Scientific American magazine reported, the part of the brain that helps prevent you from repeating mistakes is weakened by too much criticism. When children are overly fearful of messing up and struggling with making the same mistakes, you can tell that it's time to pull back on the strict nature of your parenting.

In addition to anxious feelings, kids can also show symptoms of depression when rules and expectations are too extreme. As Laura Markham, a clinical psychologist, told the website for The Bump, "being too strict can cause depression and loneliness in children, because a child may feel unwanted. A child may become insecure, as he may feel unworthy of acceptance and affection." If you notice any of these feelings in your child it may be linked to the being too harsh in your style.


When considering how strict parenting affects kids, it's crucial to look at how they behave in their school environment. According to CNN, studies show that kids who report coming from homes where parents were harsh tended to be more aggressive, make risky decisions, and had a higher potential for dropping out of high school. Asking your child's teacher about their behavior at school can give you insight into how your parenting is affecting them.

After realizing how harsh parenting may be influencing your child, you may want to change your approach. The good news is that it's never to late to balance out your method of parenting. Breaking the too harsh habit will take time, but if you stay committed, benefits will blossom for both you and your child.