What traits must a strict mother cultivate? This is an important question and one I feel is often overlooked. The answer can obviously be varied and is certainly subjective. As a strict mum, I strive for the 10 characteristics detailed below. Again, these are just my take and I would love to hear from others as well.
Role model: A strict mother should set high standards for herself and lead by example. She must carry herself elegantly, show good temperament and mannerisms. She needs to discipline herself before disciplining and setting expectations for her child. A strict mother must succeed in becoming her child’s ideal. Her child must look up to her and strive to be like her. Her child must admire everything about her, even her strictness. All this helps provide a healthy setting wherein the child can understand and appreciate the much needed role of a strict mother.
Confidence: A strict mother should have a deep-rooted philosophy on why strict parenting is essential. This can’t be a superficial reasoning like ‘I am strict because it works’ or ‘I am strict because it’s effective’. It needs to be more profound, so as to convince her that strictness is essential to motherhood. Once this connection is made, the mother becomes a firm believer and starts feeling confident about her parenting approach, which then brings out the very best in her when dealing strictly with her child. The child sees this confidence, evident in the mother’s attitude, and discerns that strictness is a permanent state associated with Mommy and not some fleeting phase of emotion that comes and goes. This realisation makes a powerful and profound impact on the child.
Clarity: Communication is extremely important. All rules and expectations must be relayed clearly to the child. Similarly, the consequences for breaking rules and failing expectations must also be explained. The mother must ensure she has left no gaps in the child’s understanding of her rules, expectations and consequences. Instructions must be precise and clear. When dealing with a child’s infraction, the broken rule or failed expectation, along with the associated consequences, must be articulated to the child.
Consistency: A strict mother should always deal with her child in a stern manner. Under no circumstances can she make an exception. If she ever overlooks a mistake or becomes lenient, therein the child senses a weak point and starts thinking: “If Mommy can let go once, then she can let go again.” There must be consequences for every single mistake and failure. Such consistency will make it clear to the child that failing Mommy always means trouble and the only way to stay out of trouble is to never fail Mommy.
Dominance: Part of being strict is being dominant. Mommy should be the boss and take full charge of her child. This means the mother is the one managing the child’s schedule and daily routine, the mother is the one with the authority to grant or deny the child’s asks, and the mother is the one looking after all the needs of the child. There is no proxy for the mother. All requests have to go through the mother and all permissions have to be granted by the mother.
Demanding: A strict mother should be exacting. She should push hard and bring out the very best in her child. She should set high standards and ensure her child meets them. It is an absolute must for the child to have good behaviour and good grades. In addition, the strict mother should also demand from her child instant obedience and complete honesty.
Loving: Love is as essential to motherhood as strictness. A mother should shower her child with love. She should give her child a pat on the back whenever the child has done well. She needs to hug and kiss her child frequently, especially after having dealt with the child strictly, as it helps reinforce the mother-child bond. Being a strict mother means not just loving the child, but also instilling fear in the child. The crux of strict motherhood lies in achieving a proper balance of this fear and love in the child’s heart. Neither love nor fear should subsume the other; both must coexist in a healthy equilibrium.
Respectful: Just as a strict mother demands respect from her child, she should also always treat her child with respect. She should never embarrass or humiliate her child, either in public and private. She should never hurt the confidence of her child. She should never use derogatory language or treat her child condescendingly. There are absolutely no exceptions to these rules, even when dealing with the child’s mistakes and failures. However, when correcting the child, the mother can, and should, emphasise how the child let her down and how disappointed she is with her child. Again, this should be done in a way that does not negatively hurt the child’s psyche.
Severe: A big part of being strict is obviously being unyielding and harsh. A strict mother should never fall into the trap of her child’s pleadings for forgiveness. She must strengthen her soft side and develop immunity against her child’s cries. She needs to be punitive and thoroughly punish her child as and when required. Punishments must be corporal. A strict mother will have to pick her implements and apply it on her child. The beatings have to be hard and should hurt, for that is their purpose. The child should dread a punishment from Mommy.
Watchful: A strict mother should keep a keen eye on her child and diligently monitor the child’s whereabouts. Children are often good at being secretive and sneaky. A strict mother should outsmart her child and suppress such instincts. She must make her child realise that nothing can remain hidden from Mommy forever. Mommy will figure out all naughty and sneaky behaviour sooner or later, and then she will deal with each and every one of these faults strictly. Such watchful behaviour will teach the child to behave and stick to the rules, even in the absence of the strict mother.