Let's start with the basic misassumption that plagues this kind of argument. There is NO conflict between love and strict discipline. Parents who impose strict rules love their children and want them to do well. They just want different things.
How you approach Parenting is based on what you want for your child.
If you want your child to be obedient and behave respectfully, then you'll prioritise that. This means stricter rules, tighter discipline, and more serious punishment. The good points of this are that your child will understand what is and isn't acceptable, and may be better able to cope with strict, failure-intolerant, societies. However, they'll obviously also be less able to adapt to change, and will always be looking for the "acceptable" answer, and unwilling to take the initiative in case they get things wrong. In many modern businesses like scientist and engineer, you might as well stamp "disposable peon" on their head.
If you want your child to be more creative and to work on their own initiative then you'll prioritise that. You'll encourage them to explore boundaries and teach them to assess the value that underpins any rule, so they can judge whether it's worth breaking in a particular case. At the same time, you make sure they understand their limits, and what's acceptable and not acceptable, in a .
Finally, the one thing that's repeatedly been found to make children feel insecure, behave poorly, and do worse, is inconsistency and lack of any structure. While it may seem like allowing them to do whatever they like encourages creativity, the message you're actually sending is "I don't care what you do". When a child knows they've been "bad" and their parent doesn't react, it creates a feedback loop of worse and worse behaviour to find the limits. Alternatively, when they move from this ruleless environment into a world that's full of rules, they often can't cope, and act out in response. And then when
Now, every child and parent is different, so there are no hard and fast "betters" but there are some rules that you can generally rely on, regardless of the parenting style.
- Consistency is Key. No matter what parenting style you adopt, if you start switching how you behave erratically, then your child won't know what to think. Don't yell at them for spilling the soup one day and cuddle them for smashing a window the next.
- Don't trap yourself. If you give your child a whipping for spilling their soup, what is your plan when they beat another child up, or steal a car? Because you've left yourself nowhere to go that you won't end up in jail for. Make the punishment appropriate to the crime. Obviously, this also applies in reverse; if you don't get angry about them deliberately breaking things, what do you stop them doing?
- Explain yourself. You don't have to justify every decision, but if you are angry with them, they need to know why, or they're obviously going to do them again.
- Judge your own temper. Kids are exhausting, life is exhausting, and you are human. At some point you're going to lose your temper. This is what timeouts are for. When you feel you're about to lose it, your child gets a timeout. When they're tantruming, they get a timeout. Timeout continues till you're calm. This is NOT a punishment. This is you breaking up the situation and giving you both time to calm down. The key thing here is to spot when you're about to lose it and timeout before you do.