You’re Depriving Them of This

We all know those strict parents. We might even be a little jealous of them. Their house seems so orderly. Their kids are so polite, so obedient, so respectful. They do what they’re told. They go along. They aren’t difficult. Your kids listen to their coach? They listen to you as their teacher for homeschool? My kids would laugh in my face!

Maybe you’ve even seen some of these parents in the comments section on Daily Dad’s Instagram. The nonchalance with which they talk about the control they have over their kids, the power they seem to wield about the decisions of the family, the take it or leave it-ness which seems to exist there. You’ve heard of Tiger Moms, and the intentionality with which they’ve designed their children’s lives and future…and at some level, it seems to work, their kids do get into Harvard and ace the SATs.

And look, to each their own. If this works for them, so be it. But we’ve talked a lot here recently about the costs of this control. That in the process of raising an obedient, deferential child ultimately ends in an adult who goes out in the world where people slightly less loving than their parents may exploit this habit of submission. There is a great couple of sentences in Arthur T. Vanderbilt II’s book on his family’s history, specifically a rather domineering mother named Alva Vanderbilt and her daughter Consuelo Vanderbilt. “For all the training Alva provided her daughter,” Vanderbilt II writes, “she unwittingly neglected to teach Consuelo the most important skill of all: how to think for herself. Alva so dominated Consuelo that she grew into a shy, submissive, withdrawn, overly sensitive young lady, very much frightened of the world.”

Alva believed that she always knew better. She insisted that her daughter listen and defer to her wishes. Should we be surprised that adult Consuelo was not good at making decisions for herself? That she did not know what she wanted or even believe that she was qualified to make these decisions? Of course not! She had never learned otherwise.

You have to ask yourself, as you consider how to run your home, whether the behavior you’re expecting now will suit them well later. You’re not going to have children forever. Someday, they will be adults. Are you raising them to be that? Are you nurturing the independence and confidence required to be that? Or are you prioritizing peace and quiet and respect…at the cost of courage and clarity and a sense of self?

Sign Up to get our FREE email.
One piece of timeless parenting advice, delivered daily.

Sign Up to get our eBook

“20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday”



Recent Posts



We’re going to tackle all the big themes of our time and of all time: Grit. Resilience. Curiosity. Compassion. Character. Unconditional love. Finding purpose. Dealing with stress. Masculinity. Female empowerment. Loss. Stillness. Truthfulness. Initiative. Creativity. Passion. Family. Fun.

Join Daily Dad now and tap into a community of dads all over the world dedicated to becoming the very best dad they can be. you’ll get a daily meditation on the above themes and more.