“Benefits of controlling parents”- 29 January 2017

We had a sort of ‘military rule’ at home. The music from the radio would start blaring at 5.30 am sharp and it made it difficult for us to sleep further. This was the practice even on Sunday and all holidays till today! My father was a stickler for time. We were taught to get up and get ready in ten minutes flat. Food was to be consumed, whatever mother put on our plates, with no fuss, and was to be cleaned up totally with no left-overs. Even today we feel guilty leaving food on our plate. Mother controlled other forms of behaviour such as speech, friends, dress and treatment of servants and the poor. The values, attitudes and behaviour were all taken care of meticulously by both parents who maintained a united front. Academics was given utmost importance and even if one mark was cut it was evaluated. You were supposed to achieve 100 percent in maths -zero error was the norm. They set high standards of achievement, value and proper behaviour. Till today the habits are deep rooted and refuse to budge!

Shiv’s parents were very strict. He was made to practice violin daily as his father sat with him correcting and appreciating his notes. He learnt to enjoy his music and also his academics and could balance his life well. So was the case with Preeti and her love for dancing. Her mother took keen interest in her dance practice and her systematic progress in it. She also graduated in medicine and enjoyed both the fields equally. She leads a wholesome life with a good practice as well with talent in music and dance.

The stories of celebrities clearly demonstrate this aspect. Most celebrities would tell us of how strict their parents were in disciplining them, training them and pushing their talents to the limits. This pushing of their limits kept them on their toes and lead to their continuous improvement. They were clearly denied certain liberties and encouraged to stay focused on the goal. The film ‘dangal’ beautifully highlights the message of ‘no pain no gain’. The apparent ‘atrocities’ of the strict father who imposes controls on his daughters, who rebel, cry out, and winch in pain, but eventually reap the benefits of the strictness and begin to enjoy their success.

Parents, who are strict, controlling with a purpose, nurture healthy children. Children need clarity of thought and clarity of behaviour by parents in bringing them up. This means many things and one of them is -purpose and a goal.  A higher goal and its pursuit is a terrific way to bring up children. However, not many parents are able to define ‘the goal’ early on. The few who are able to do it and pursue it make achievers of their kids early on. I remember a couple who disputed over this point of setting clear goals early in life. The mother was the one who pushed her kids into the game seriously and father felt that she was ‘spoiling the best years of the kids’ by not allowing them to enjoy their childhood in the streets with friends. A big debatable point we have here but if we desire kids to become super stars early on then the mother is right. If we are ready to allow them their natural growth and flow of creativity then they might become achievers but later in life. The process of achievement gets delayed and may or may not happen depending upon the intervening variables.

The second important aspect is -consistency. There has to be a systematic thought behind the discipline- what to enforce and what not to enforce. When parents are inconsistent with their disciplining behaviour it leaves the child confused as to what is right and what is wrong and what do his /her parents want. Consistency comes when parents think out their expectations from their children and conduct themselves accordingly. It’s a devotion and dedication to their child’s welfare and future. Parents with mood swings and erratic behaviour can do harm and damage to the child.

One more aspect is setting limits to the child’s behaviour. They explain and teach the limits in behaviour and also explain the consequences of behaviour to the child. They do not say ‘do as I say because I say it’ but this is the reason why you should do this. Also preparing the child for the consequences of their behaviour will make them aware of the ensuing punishment to their transgression. If parents sometimes allow an action and sometimes ban it the child does not learn the logic and the rationale behind action. The connection between ‘action and reaction’ should be clear to the child. This will consequently lead to development of proper thought and action. It will lead to independent thinking as well as independent action and behaviour. Thinking individuals make their own decisions, they are more in control of their behaviour, feel confident of their selves and face the world with assertion and firmness.


Strictness does not mean aggression, coercion, violence and lack of fun and humour. Strictness does not mean that parents are not friendly and communicative with their children. Strictness does not mean depriving children of wholesome development. In fact it can mean just the opposite. Controlling with consistency, clarity of goals and compassion makes achievers of children.

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