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Health & Parenting

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16 Signs You're Too Strict With Your Kids

If this sounds like you, it may be time to change your discipline style.

4. Your love is conditional (or your words make it sound that way).

Darling says you should s things like, "I always love you, but I expect you to behave in this way," or, "I know you can do better.'" But she cautions, "Don’t say, ‘You are garbage if you don’t behave in this way.'" When you do, you are attacking your child’s core.

5. You don’t watch your words.

It’s not just how you say it; it's what you say. Even if your tone is measured, your words matter. "Calm voices can say mean things," Darling says. "Content is more important than the way it is said."

6. You don’t put in the time.

When you ask your children to do something difficult, don't just order them to do it. Work alongside them instead. "Good parenting is about putting the time in," Darling says.

7. You are always the cop, nag, monitor, or reminder.

"If these are the mainstays of your relationship to the exclusion of other things that one could and should do as a parent, you may be too strict," psychologist Ron Taffel, author of Childhood Unbound, says.

8. Your child leaves you out.

"If your child talks to you less and less about the things that matter, this could be a sign that you are too strict," Taffel says. "You can win the battle, but lose the war. You can get your kids to do things that you like them to do, but they are not opening up to you about the things that make them anxious or uneasy."

9. Your children don’t bring their friends over.

"Kids want rules, and all kids will gravitate to a house with rules," Taffel says. "But if you spend your time reminding children about the rules, criticizing your child in front of other kids, and asking too many probing questions, your kids may stop bringing their friends by. If children do ask for return play dates, and other kids talk to you and approach you, you have made your house a home that kids want to be in."

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