We Were Strict Parents

We Were Strict Parents

We were strict parents. Many told us we were too strict. We disciplined them diligently when they were young. They needed little discipline after the age of five. We were careful who they hung out with. We were careful what TV shows and movies they saw. We had a curfew even through high school. I think it was 10:00 pm. We didn’t allow our children to date before 18 years of age. They could hang out with friends in a group but not alone. Dating was for the purpose of finding a spouse, not to make out with and use.

They have never complained that we were too strict. After they turned 18, we let them have full independence. Yes, we loosened up a lot in high school but we still had some boundaries while they were under our roof. They never seemed to mind obeying us. We taught them when they were young to obey us and this lasted through high school. Once they were 18, however, we let them live by their own convictions and choose how they wanted to live their lives. They all made good decisions, thankfully.

I believe this is the best way to raise children but you can’t be micromanaging your children once they become adults. If they are living under your roof and doing things you disapprove of doing, then kick them out. You can definitely have standards (biblical ones) that must be followed while in your home, but let’s take the issue of what a couple can do before marriage. Some parents are firm in teaching their children to not kiss before marriage. We weren’t firm about this but we made sure that our children knew that you don’t date to fool around with the other person. You date for the purposes of marriage. Our children did this. Once they found someone they thought they wanted to marry, the couple set up their own boundaries. It’s called trusting your children and letting them become adults.

We weren’t as strict as the Duggars but the point isn’t how strict one can be with their children. Yes, set boundaries you feel are appropriate but the most important thing you can do for your children is to make sure you discipline them diligently when they are young. Make sure they are taught to obey you. Give them a ton of love and affection. Then steep them in God’s Word. Read the Bible to them often. Have them memorize many verses. Hide God’s Word deeply in their hearts. Let them see the joy of the Lord in you. Smile at them often. Laugh together. Live by faith rather than by fear. This, in my opinion, is how parents teach their children to have soft hearts towards the Lord and rids them of hard, rebellious hearts.

Rules won’t do this. Rules without working with the minds and hearts won’t work. As you discipline their flesh, you are teaching them self-control. As you discipline their minds, you are teaching them how to renew their minds with the truth of God’s Word and think right. Both of these are the most important elements in raising godly offspring. How long they wear their dresses or if they can wear pants and all of the other decisions parents must make with their children don’t come close to the power of disciplining and training them in the ways of the Lord.

Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.
Ephesians 6:4

27 thoughts on “We Were Strict Parents

  1. My parents weren’t strict per se, but they made it clear what values to live by and embrace. Luckily I also wasn’t a rebellious personality and respected them intrinsically as wise mentors. Sad so many kids dismiss their parents for the damaging ideas of society. Even sadder are the parents who embrace it too and brainwash a generation!

  2. You were wonderful parents, my parents were very similar.

    They raised 18 of us and it was great. Have nothing but fond memories.

    That said, in today’s age, a new threat has emerged.

    My parents never owned a television, never let us watch movies, or listen to popular music, and I’m glad they didn’t.

    The new threat is cell phones. No child under 18 should have a cell phone. 90% of 14 year olds have viewed porn, and that is the fault of apathetic and negligent parents.

    It’s just like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, leading children to their destruction. When a child sees porn, that will be with them for the rest of their life. It’s simply not worth it to expose a child to that risk.

  3. This is so good. My dad was very strict with us. I, of course, couldn’t understand and sometimes went against his rules (for shame on me!) Now after having raised my own children, I am so thankful! He passed away 8 years ago and I wish I could have thanked him for being strict with me.

    We have been strict with our girls. They are now adults with one married. We have also taught you are dating to find your mate. No fooling around. We still have two daughters left at home. We don’t hold the leash too close, but they still have rules to abide by since they still live under our roof. They are pretty obedient. Being strict is not a bad thing. Just don’t let it get too far where they start to hate you for it. With godly wisdom and council there will be blessings.

  4. Lori, I love your page and your teachings. Thanks for helping young women like myself have a better understanding of biblical womanhood! I appreciate you so much.

    In regards to this article – I have a few questions. What about someone like myself? I am 20 yrs old. My 26 year old brother and I still live at home, because our parents have always made it clear that they want us at home. We both support the family – my brother has a good job, and I stay at home and do the housework. However, my father micromanages everything my brother and I do – almost to the point of being unhealthy. He also has little patience and a bad temper. What should I do? What would you do in my situation? I want to honor and obey my parents. I love them very much. But 4 adults in 1 home with differing opinions can be difficult. I hope you will reply to this. Thank you!

  5. It is good once the children are old enough to explain why some things are not welcome in the home. For instance, a TV show that is mostly just funny, but also has a very casual attitude toward premarital sex (or whatever reason you don’t allow it), or a sports team that has so many obligations it interferes with attending church. Once they’re on their own, they can make their own choices, but it’s good to explain that some media/activities can have a bad influence, or that God must have priority over a sport (or music group), even though it isn’t forbidden it must be in it’s place. It’s helpful too to ask them to think about books they choose. It’s easy to think since it’s a book, it’s fine, but there are a lot of books – especially romance – with parts that are basically porn for women. Warn them that they won’t just forget about inappropriate images or stories – even if it’s only a little part of a show or book, once they’ve partaken in that, it will be in them and Satan will pull that memory up to tempt them. If they know how things can influence their thinking it will help them make wise choices when they’re responsible for themselves.

  6. Perhaps you should consider going to cosmetology school or something of like that. It will limit your time in the home and cut down on the frustration/fussing.

  7. “Proverbs 29:17 English Standard Version (ESV) 17 Discipline your son, and he will give you rest;  he will give delight to your heart.” I’m sure it applies to girls as well. You did a great job with your children. 16 is the average age for dating over here but 18 would be better.

    Effective discipline: a healthy approach. Paediatr Child Health. 2004;9(1):43-52. doi:10.1093/pch/9.1.43 “Without discipline, children lack the tools necessary to navigate relationships and challenges in life such as self-discipline, respect for others, and the ability to cooperate with peers.” “ In fact, failure to discipline children often results in kids who are unhappy, angry, and even resentful. To those around him, a child who is not disciplined will be unpleasant company, and a child without discipline may find it difficult to make friends.”

  8. Is he allowing you guys to date? As long as your under his roof you are under his authority yes you’re an adult but still should honor his decisions. Kinda reminds me of the duggar family. Ideally you would stay home and prepare for marriage, I’m hoping he is at least allowing you to have suitors pursue you.

  9. When it comes to books, this one couple told me that their children weren’t allowed to read fiction books. Which I thought was brilliant! Especially when Philippians tells us “whatsoever things are true…. think on these things”. That would be my suggestion.

  10. Ranch Wife
    Thank you so much for these articles! They’re very helpful, and opened my eyes on a lot of things. It’s good to know I’m not the only one too.

  11. While some fiction reading should be avoided, this is extreme and I don’t recommend taking this approach, especially with young readers. Fiction books aren’t lying, they’re telling a story that isn’t based on an actual occurrence. Quality literature and theater has many fictional stories.

  12. I love the idea! Their children loved reading, and were very smart. They would read about true history (which is SO rich in entertainment itself!), Christians and their lives and Ministries, and of course the Holy Scriptures (There probably was more genres they read, but I didn’t ask that much). One example I can give of my own experience; there was one time I was reading a fiction book of this kid who was beginning to doubt if God existed, and I remember I was going to pray for him only to be reminded that he wasn’t real, and neither was the situation. Simply put, I was spending my time thinking about something that wasn’t true, and the Scriptures say to do the opposite.

    I gotta say, I respect your opinions, but I stand by what I wrote whole-heartedly.

  13. From listening to your videos and reading past posts, it sounds like you dealt with several ongoing health issues in addition to Ken traveling for work frequently when your children were young.

    It’s a testament to your commitment to motherhood during their early years and beyond with the challenges you faced, yet your children were obedient and now walking with the Lord-what a blessing!

  14. This is quite extreme, like cloistering children. There’s a quote from G.K. Chesterton that I liked, it goes something like “Fairy tales do not tell children dragons exist. They already know dragons exist. They tell children that dragons can be killed.” The “dragons” this is referring to, of course, are just obstacles and challenges everyone will face. Even a fiction book can show children how someone persevered and overcame a challenge, whether external or an internal character trait. It also does it in an enjoyable way, and there’s nothing wrong with reading something you enjoy. Everything in it’s place. For instance, in the example you gave of the story about the boy who was doubting God’s existence. There really wasn’t anything wrong in thinking about that book – it’s a situation that does happen in real life. A more helpful reaction would be to think about how that story applies to real life – why did he start doubt? What did he do to regain his faith, or if he didn’t, what could he have done? Those are lessons a child could apply to their own life.

  15. I said it was a suggestion, not a new commanent. I also said I respect your opinion, meaning I respect parents who allow their children to read fiction books. You’re reacting quite alarmingly and it’s not at all necessary. These children had friends, and most of the time they played outside, rode horses, played with their dog, etc, and because they don’t read fiction they’re cloistered!? I beg to differ. There are certainly biographies and other non-fiction books that can teach children valuable life lessons, AND are entertaining; it’s not just fiction. In closing, I believe the Scriptures when they say think on things that are true, it’s honestly just that simple. This will be my last response, God bless, Sister. 🙂

  16. You are very welcome! I’m so glad they were helpful. They also sell a CD called Honor Thy Father and Mother which is similar to the articles.

  17. Mara certainly has a right to parent and rule over her children any way she feels convicted.
    Before starting my family, I taught school and earned a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education.
    To the parents of young children who are reading this discussion, I encourage you to not utilize this practice with your own children. Denying a whole genre of literature over misinterpreted scripture is unnecessary and disappointing from an educational perspective. When teaching young children to read, parents and teachers are encouraged to allow them to choose books based on their interests in addition to assigned readings. Education is more than just disseminating knowledge, it’s fostering a love of life-learning as well. I can’t imagine the result of limiting my four children to nonfiction books as they were early readers.
    As they grow, it’s crucial to review their reading material, though, and some fiction books for teens and adults should be avoided.

  18. Sadly, these days, a cell phone is a necessity for most kids. My 16 year old son is working full-time and needs one for work purposes. Both my teenage girls are required by their high schools to have laptops – most of their schoolwork is done on a laptop. And they both have cell phones – in the society we live in, it’s needed to keep them safe. I’m juggling 3 kids across 3 different schools, as well as my 16 year old working different shifts, and the business hubby and I have… keeping in contact with each other and arranging rides etc. is all done via text.

    All of them have been taught cyber-safety at school and the schools have also run courses on how to keep our kids safe on the internet.

    I grew up in the 80s. We had no TV, no radio, no computer. I would love to be able to raise my kids the same way, but the reality is, life is very different now. We just have to find different ways to protect our kids.

  19. This was a very good read, dear. I completely agree with your way here. As parents, we need to always find the right balance between giving space and being strict.

  20. Kevin-
    As of a month ago, I do have a wonderful godly young man in my life. He seems like the answer to my prayers.
    However, my father is being extremely critical of this young man. To the point of being unreasonable. He makes extremely unkind, unnecessary comments about this young man to me behind his back.
    I have done what I can to honor my father in this relationship and do what he says. Yet it never seems good enough.
    I do want my father involved, but not completely controlling and micromanaging this.
    What should I do? I just want to do what’s right, but I feel completely exhausted from all the pressure.

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