Questions: How strict is too strict? Finding the happy medium!

So, here's a question for anyone who reads this: How strict is too strict? Where is that fine line?

I have 2 kids that are growing up rather quickly. A son who is 13 and a daughter who is 10 and this question has been on my mind a lot lately. We are rather strict on our kids but I also feel that their are times that kids will be kids so where is that fine line.

Girls have become a new interest for K and thus raising several questions. He has asked to do several things with her, like movies, swimming and just hanging out. Our answer has always been yes when in a group and under our supervision or someone that we know and trust. Is that too strict? Or not? I was young not too long ago and remember what it was like to want to do something and being told no. We tried to figure out a way to get around the no! I now know that my parents had my best interest at heart. I know that K is a great kid, but in the same sense my parent's probably thought the same things about me and yet I still made mistakes. So where would you draw the line?

Next, Mik, well the questions from her have been rather simple yet but along the road of growing up. When can I start shaving? Why can't I wear bigger earrings? What's wrong with a little makeup? So far, I keep dodging the first and the third rather well, but the second, well I decided it was a battle where we could meet a happy medium. So instead of buying the big colorful earrings with crystals and flash, we found some medium dangle silver earrings. For her, they are a little big but she likes them and only wears them like once every other week. Is that wrong? I know that some people probably think so but it could be a lot worse. Again, where would you draw the line?

So since I seem to be one of the first of the majority of my friends to have kids going through this, I am curious as to what everyone thinks. Chime in with your thoughts? This is a completely open forum. My disclaimer is take what you agree with and leave what you don't. Only you know what is best for your kids with God's guidance. Opinions and advice are always good to get ideas though. Give me your thoughts!


  1. My parents usually went the way of REALLY strict but mom had some creative rules that I totally respected at the time and still think are genius. One in particular was that we could do whatever we wanted with our hair as long as we kept it clean, brushed and out of our eyes. It gave us guidelines and freedom all in one. I want to try to develop rules for my kids that have the same feel.

    As for K hanging out with girls? I'm all for locking them in the basement until the hormones pass.

  2. COMMUNICATION! Of course, K WILL make mistakes, like the rest of us, but he is a good kid.. I think that if you continue to show him that you trust him, he'll continue to show you that he respects you (and is trustworthy). Sure, it's not all "talk", there need to be some clear guidelines, but communicate through them, I say. I think your rules so far are good for him.

  3. Michelle you will find what works best for you and your kids.

    I like to think I was not an overly strict parent, having come from very strict parents I didn't want to be that way. We kept the communication open with the boys. The boys always knew where we stood on certain issues & we always talked about consequenses of things that could happen if they .......and have told them not to put themselves in a position to get into trouble.

    If you are overly strict they may sneak around. I have always told my kids I will trust them til they give me a reason not to.....

    You will find what works for you.

  4. Michelle-I found myself asking the same question this weekend about where to draw lines and what rules are worth making. Part of what I learned at the parenting conference was to make as few rules as you can.
    When you do make rules, there are two types: moral/biblical issues and "house rules." Determining house rules seems to be a matter of prayer and questioning your motivation-is it to look good in front of other kids/parents (image control) ? Is it bc you simply find the behavior annoying or weird? Is it because you're scared of something and not willing to trust God (fear-based parenting)? I've definitely found myself doing all of these.
    Those are all usually bad reasons to make a house rule and good opportunities to give freedom within the boundaries of moral/biblical rules (what's actually wrong or right). Anyway, I hope that makes some sense...I have NO experience with older kids so I'm just passing on what I've been told! You're asking tough questions but God can supply answers!!

  5. I think the root of all rules, no matter how strict or not strict is consistency. For instance, if K wants to hang with his girl and you're OK with him doing it while supervised or with a group, (which I think is fine), then stick with that. You can't make an exception one time and expect that he's going to accept no for an answer in the future. Your job is to make the decisions before he asks about them. (And on the by and by, there will be plenty of time for him to hang out with girls alone and the like... no reason to feel pressured to let that happen now... he's only in 7th grade).

    In that same vein, make your rules non-negotiable when it comes to what happens when they get broken. You find out that K was hanging with the girl alone when he told you there would be a group? Consequences need to happen, obviously... and then you reevaluate your standards.

    With Mik, you've already been doing a great job with consistency with her. She doesn't even bother asking to wear questionable clothes anymore, (right?), and when you say something like that's not ok, she understands. She's got the consistency rolling.

    In the same line, the issue of respect is HUGE. Your kids need to show respect to you as a parent and respect your rules. You need to respect your kids' feelings and opinions and allow them to express what they want without making them feel bad or stupid for asking.

    And by the way, my parents were quite strict and I didn't sneak behind their backs. The reasoning was that I was aware of the consequences and I respected my parents enough to not want to disappoint them.

    All kids are going to make mistakes. You can't prevent that. But you can have a game plan in place in the event of that happening and keep loving on your kids as much as I know you already do.

  6. Wow, Jen. Can I retract that statement? I said it because I have seen kids rebel and sneak around. Not all kids will do that. We all have our own ways of raising our kids. I am very proud of the way we raised our boys and am very proud of how they have turned out. Did we make mistakes in raising them......yes. We live and learn as parents too. I don't think we were too strict, but if you ask them they might say we were compared to their friends.

    I know I made mistakes as a kid and I have seen my kids make mistakes. I have seen the hurt in their eyes when they know they have disappointed us. I know they respect us, but they are kids and they will make mistakes. We worked through the mistakes made as a family.

    You and Michelle are great moms doing an incredible job in raising your kids. The advise you posted is great! Being a parent is a learning experience......and I'm still learning.


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