Am I a Strict Mother?

We all parent differently, perhaps in part to our own up bringing, our own life experiences and our own children.  My parenting is similar with both the girls but I know they have different needs in certain situations.

Pinky likes to stick to the rules.  She doesn’t like being told off, she won’t willingly break the rules.  Nursery has helped reinforce some of the rules, such as don’t speak with your mouth full, put your knife and fork together when you are finished a meal, pleases and thank you’s.   It has helped her see that it isn’t just me telling her she is doing something wrong or should do it differently and that these are actual simple manners and rules to follow.  Perky has never been to nursery but she copies her big sister in every way so these rules are mostly being followed anyway.  Perky is more prepared to break the rules but generally she knows what is expected of her.

But there is my point…. I have just used the phrase ‘what is expected of her’ whilst talking about a 20 month old.  So am I a strict Mother?

Do they follow the rules because I expect it and won’t accept it when they don’t?  Do I expect too much from them?

I expect them to ask nicely for things.  Not to moan at me unnecessarily and whinge to get their own way.  It simply wont wash with me.  I call them on it and tell them they can only have what they have asked for when they change their attitude.  This isn’t just limited to the house either.  If we are out and about I expect the same level of behaviour and I will (and have) walk out of somewhere if they can’t do what I expect of them.

They should always remember to say please and thank you.  They should sit and wait for everyone to finish their meals before getting down from the table, and then they should ask nicely if they can.   So, I know Perky can’t ask this yet so I ask her nicely instead.  ‘Everyone is finished now, would you like to get down from the table?’  this is always followed with a fervent nod.

They should not hit or bite anyone or anything under any circumstances.  This may seem like a silly one but I have seen some parents justify it as a ‘stage’ and take the incident no further.  No talking to the child explaining why that isn’t acceptable, nothing.  Each to their own, it is indeed a stage, some say it’s a childs way of testing boundaries and finding out what the rules really are.  So if this is the case, and it is boundary testing then it needs to be acknowledged more than ‘it’s just a phase’.  Surely it is better to try and understand why your child bites, is it curiosity? Is it anger?  Ignoring it will not make it go away.  I am a great believer in discipline or at least boundary setting and education from the start.  I think all adverse behaviour should be acknowledged and dealt with at all ages, not just when you deem your child to be old enough to understand the consequences of their actions.  Perhaps there is an underlying cause to their behaviour I hadn’t noticed.  Perhaps their molar teeth coming through that I haven’t seen.  Perhaps they are too cold or too hot and don’t know how to tell me.  Perhaps something has made them nervous and it was a simple expression of anxiety.

I also believe not all children can be taught about consequences the same way.  With my two different situations can require different types of education.  Pinky requires to simply be told that something will hurt her or someone else.  Perky is more of a ‘learn by observing’ sort of child so this can come with its own challenges.  Sometimes getting a little angry gets my point across (although rarely), sometimes pulling the disappointed card works, mostly a simple, calm conversation about why that behaviour isn’t acceptable is sufficient.  Whatever my approach is I will not ignore it.  I may well be very wrong but I think if you ignore something until you feel it is a more appropriate time to ‘cross that bridge’ the moment has probably passed and you are not providing a consistent expectation.  How can it be ok to bite Mummy one day but not the next?

When I became a Mother I had no idea what I was doing.  I still don’t.  I often wonder if I’m doing it right or wrong.  I am far from perfect, I simply do the best I can.  For me my best is to teach them how to be nice, good, polite little girls from the earliest opportunity.  So far that is exactly what they are.

If my methods make me a strict Mum then so be it.  What I do works for me at the moment.  I am happy to adapt as we go along and I appreciate that others are very likely going to take a different approach to it all together.  Every child is different after all.

Do you think you are strict? Or are you much more relaxed about things than me.  If so how do you do it? I need some tips.

This Mum's Life


  1. Love this post. It sounds like you are doing a brilliant job and your girls are very well behaved 🙂 I need to learn to be calmer in some situations and to discipline without shouting! xx #bigpinklink

  2. I often witness the same type of softly softly approach to parenting and wonder if I’m too strict. But I’m with you when it comes to teaching our kids what’s right and wrong.

    Gabriella went through a phase of biting (luckily only us!) when she was about 15-18 months and I knew I had to nip it in the bud. At the time I was working full-time so had to rely on our nanny (our French niece) to take the same approach as me. Our approach was this: get to her level, look her in the eye and say ‘no biting, it hurts. Say sorry’ (she knew the sign to say sorry even if she didn’t know the word at the time). At first she wouldn’t look us in the eye and refused to do the sign. We’d then repeat one more time to say sorry otherwise she’d go in her cot. We then had to follow through. I remember the first time it happened we had to go in 3 times to get her to say sorry as she wasn’t allowed out until she did. The moment she did, we gave a kiss and said well done. We don’t bite. The next time, she said sorry after our first request in the cot. The time after, we didn’t have to put her in. She stopped biting not long after that. While it may seem harsh and she was too young, I firmly believe they understand more than we give them credit for and want direction on what’s acceptable and what’s not. She’s now 2 and says please and thank you most of the time and says to get down from the table.

    Other things I’m teaching her include saying thank you to the people who run play groups when we leave and to say hello and goodbye in shops and cafés. To me these aren’t simply about being polite, it’s about knowing the basics of how to have meaningful connections with other people.

    1. Oh I’m glad it’s not just me! Our littlest is hitting at the moment, a very new thing and luckily just me and Hubby. I’m taking a very similar approach as you. She is getting gist now… I should learn the sign for sorry though I think that would help.

  3. I think you’re doing great! I know for a fact i’m a strict mum in this way, but the reason why is evident when you look at my kids! My eldest is 4 in two weeks. He doesn’t tantrum, if I say no I can expect no more than a little whinging and then acceptance, he is polite, responds immediately to instructions and is incredibly well behaved in public. I know I am incredibly lucky to have such a well-behaved boy but also know for a fact if I didn’t have such high expectations of him his behaviour would not be at the standard it is now. I should also add he is a happy and playful child who still gets treats and presents and to do the things he likes, I’m not so strict he is deprived lol. x #sharingthebloglove

  4. I swear it is minute to minute over here. Am I too strict? Did I just fly off the DAMN handle? Are they getting away with murder?

    Who knows…. really WHO KNOWS.

    Motherhood is a real catch22

  5. N told me yesterday I was strict, but I don’t think I’m overly so. I’m definitely more relaxed than my mum was with me. But like you I do expect pleases and thank yous and polite behaviour at the table. I will let some things go, but you need to be consistent, that’s the important things. #sharingthebloglove

  6. In our family, I’m not the strict one – my husband is, and I know he feels like he needs to be because we have two boys. But it sounds to me like you’re not being particularly strict, you’re just being a good parent. That’s our responsibility! #SharetheBlogLove

    1. Well thank you for saying thats very kind. I think I am the over all strict one in our house. Hubby is a little more wrapped around their fingers. Thank you for reading x

  7. It sounds like you’re doing a great job – both your girls sound fantastically well behaved at a young age. I have to admit that Max can be very whiney – his speech has been very slow and a lot of the time he still finds it hard to communicate what he wants, so I have tended to make allowances for that. But we’re definitely starting to correct it when it happens and to show him that whining doesn’t get you what you want. Apart from the whining, I think we’re lucky to have a pretty well behaved boy who says thank you, and bye bye to people with a bit of prompting. I do think it’s so important to teach your kids appropriate manners – it shows them how to behave out in the world and gives a good foundation for life. Thanks for joining us again at #SharingtheBlogLove

  8. I hadn’t really thought about if I am a strict mum or not. But I parent very similar to you, I expect manners, not to get down from the table at dinner and not to hit or bite. I too have left places when they don’t listen or misbehave. Does this make me strict? I don’t really see it as that, I see it as me trying to bring up well behaved children and teaching them right from wrong. For me manners is so important and you need to teach these from the start. Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove x

    1. Perhaps you are right, it is more a matter of standards rather than strictness. I hope I am not too strict but I have heard people accused of this before and I consider then far more relaxed in their parenting style than me, it got me thinking. Thank you for reading x

  9. Sounds like your doing a great job . I think the same about myself and my daughter is not yet one . I let her explore things but she knows the things she shouldn’t touch and turns around a smiles at me !! Little monkey #sharingthebloglove

  10. Love this! So thought-provoking and beautifully written. I’ve just reached the conclusion that I’m probably a strict mother, very often. I always want my son to eat without having his clothes dirty? How could I want this from a kid?! And why do I tell him to stop screaming when he’s just excited about something? 🙂 xx #SharingtheBlogLove

  11. Sounds like your children have beautiful manners and standards of behaviour. I think it’s important they are given boundaries from an early age. I don’t think I’m strict and in some ways I think I will need to stand my ground in future #SharingTheBlogLove

  12. You’re not a strict Mom, just a good one. They need support and structure and are happier with it I’m sure. I have witnessed unruly kids and I genuinely do not they enjoy behaving that way, they are just craving attention. Keep up the good work mama! #SharingTheBlogLove

  13. If you’re a strict mum, then so am I! We have lots of fun as a family and I we do all the silly play, but the kids know what we expect of them. They know what the rules are. We try to be as consistent as possible in reinforcing them so that they are clear about what is and isn’t acceptable. I think starting early is important too because that’s when they’re learning. It builds the foundation. But it also goes hand-in-hand with finding out WHY they’re misbehaving (curiosity, testing the boundaries, needing attention, feeling sad, etc) #SharingTheBlogLove

  14. We all want our kids to behave well and adhere to values that are important to us. In a recent q&a for a tag post both my teens said they thought I was strict but ultimately I don’t mind that because it is important to me that they know the difference between right and wrong and how to conduct themselves properly. #SharingTheBlogLove

  15. I don’t think you sound overly strict, just like an excellent mum to me! We are big on please and thank you and had a horrid time with biting where we really struggled, but thankfully she is coming out of that phase now. I struggled to know ‘why’ she was doing it but it seemed to be either if she was being silly which I assumed was tiredness, or if I wasn’t paying her enough attention, e.g. on my phone (terrible I know, but usually reading blogs!) But I’m relieved ti see another comment from someone else who also took our approach i.e. saying no, biting hurts, say sorry. We also put her firmly down away from us or in her cot. #SharingtheBlogLove

  16. It’s interesting that children need to learn about consequences in different ways. I know that I will be a disciplinary, I think it’s so important for them later in life when it comes to school and coping with criticism or structure later in life. #sharingthebloglove

  17. I think I need to stand my ground a little more. While mines been brought up with manners and knows what’s right and wrong we’re recently going through a very testing time where his tantrums and defiance have been overwhelming! If only parenting came with a guide book!! #sharingthebloglove

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