Why does being too strict on children actually create rebellious children with behavioral problems and cause children to have shy personalities, be isolated, and have low self-esteem? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

While it is designed to create rule-following children, strict parenting, research suggests, actually backfires. This result occurs because children whose parents always dictate how their kids should act do not allow their children to develop their own internal mechanisms for self-control and good behavior. Kids learn to accept limits and boundaries when these limits are lovingly enforced, and strict parenting makes kids not want to follow limits and therefore become rebellious rule beakers. Children with strict parents can also become depressed, withdrawn, and shy because they absorb the idea from their parents that they are somehow bad or flawed, rather than feeling accepted. They also have low self-esteem, as they do not believe in their own power to regulate themselves and form warm relationships with others, including their parents. 


Burhans, Karen Klein, and Carol S. Dweck. “Helplessness in Early Childhood: The Role of Contingent Worth.” Child Development 66 (1995): 1719-38.

Chapman, Michael, and Carolyn Zahn-Waxler. “Young Children’s Compliance and Noncompliance in Parenting.” In Marc H. Bornstein, ed., Handbook of Parenting, vol. 4, Applied and Practical Parenting. Mahwah, NJ: Erlbaum, 1995.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial