Example Of Expository Essay: Explain Why Parents Are Sometimes Strict Essay

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Family, Parents, Children, Psychology, Ethics, Culture, Immigrant, Migration

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/09/28


Parental strictness has been examined across a range of elements. While it is true that all generations and peoples have experienced parenthood, different eras and cultures may represent a variety of styles. Basic ethical beliefs dictate that the reasons parents are sometimes strict may include many elements. One study from the 1960s by Stanford University social psychology researchers Roberts and Cooper provides an overview of patterns of parental styles, including commentary upon strictness. The rest of this expository essay paper focuses upon a mention of possible contrasts of strictness between various cultural groups, a specified primary source case of immigrant parents’ strictness, a discussion of a mental health report on strictness, followed by a concluding narration of explaining why parents are sometimes strict. Overall this evaluation and investigation seeks to reasonably expound upon the idea of the reasons why parents may behave in a strict fashion towards their children. Furthermore during the course of this paper, since ethical is defined as consistent with agreed upon principles of correct moral conduct, over strictness which is inappropriate shall be considered.
Over the ages parents have been known to use a strict authoritarian, or disciplinary style with their children. Imagine a parent slapping a rosy-cheeked five-year-old across his or her face for spilling orange juice at the breakfast table. This represents an extreme example of over strict and harshly inappropriate behavior, which is actually considered as child abuse and punishable by law. The main point of this expository essay looks at trying to explain why parents are sometimes strict, while remaining within ethical confines of correct moral conduct. Parents may display strict behavior towards their children for a number of reasons. Some key reasons indicate that they may fear failure as parents, a concern over grades and academic performance, or feeling protective over their children’s social exposure. The bottom line for reasons why parents exhibit strict behavior sometimes is due to a variety of causes, that may involve an era of the times, cultural influences, or simply personal preferences.
Mixed assessments claim that modern times have changed the measures of ethical codes with which parents adhere to certain levels of being strict. In other words, some people believe that in past times such as during the 1960s, parents were more strict than today. To evaluate the truth or falsehood of this kind of assumption, I turned to Stanford University social psychology researchers for answers. Mary R. Roberts and Leslie M. Cooper (1967) looking at patterns of child-rearing, state that “no single study” is definitive, but based their investigation upon a number of parental interviews to discover something about parents’ disciplinary methods and habits (p. 257). After applying a method of approximately 100 parents, evenly split by gender (male and female, mothers and fathers) they found that stereotypes are not always reliable. In other words, Roberts et al. (1967) found even if fathers’ were perceived to be stricter than mothers, males were not necessarily less nurturing. While levels of strictness were statistically noted, perhaps a better indicator of helping to explain why parents are sometimes strict points to culture.
Obviously, in the United States there are many different ethnic cultures of origin and traditions. Can differences in culture account for how strict a parent is? Within the rubric of moral conduct, McMurtry (2014) examined white and black American cultural differences in theories of parenting styles. Their usage of Baumrind’s approach found that black parents acted strictly with authority, but that they added much “communication and warmth” with less rejection as compared to white parents (“McMurtry Dissertation, Section A”). In terms of strictness Dr. McMurtry discovered there were contrasts between black American parents, and their white counterparts. The age groups of parents studied fell within the younger range between 18-25 years old, and from the racially influenced lens black parents were shown to be stricter than the white American parents. The observation based in a humanities, and social-psychological view. Perhaps the black parents were stricter is due to fear of their children failing academically, or not being able to adequately prepare for future professions. In either case, immigrant parents seem to have unique standards of parental strictness.
As I began to read the article about how strict immigrant parents are, I remembered to keep in mind that not all immigrant cultures are the same. So I had to pick one for the purpose of inclusion in this essay, which resulted in perusal of an article about Asian parents’ strictness called ‘Immigrant Parents and Education: When Being Strict Becomes a Hindrance.’ Reasons why some Asian immigrant parents’ from Vietnam, for example, include a strong desire for their children to – according to Sakata (2011) – enroll in a “top-level college” (“Immigrant Parents”). One student when interviewed confessed that her mother is very “strict” and refused to give her permission to attend volleyball tryouts, or other extra-curricular activities even though Christina Pham had received straight-As on her report card.
The principal from the Garden Grove Unified School District, in Orange County California, Dr. Mark Nguyen commented that this kind of strict parent behavior is typical. He said the parents can take being strict too far, and ignore a “child’s passions” which can impede their communication and sometimes encourage rebellious behavior (“Immigrant Parents”). I think kids can continue getting excellent grades and have fun too, in sports or other interests, because exploring their freedom does not mean they are turning against the Vietnam culture valued by family members. The parents probably feel they need to be strict as an ethical principle, to help guide their children to never be lazy and accomplish a way to be able to financially and emotionally support their own children once they grow up. It is quite difficult to put all the reasons why parents are sometimes strict, because everybody is different. In general, I think the main ideas to explain parents’ being strict revolves around love, protection, a little bit of fear, worry over grades, and wanting to succeed in their parental duties. However, this is not easy to balance. From reading about Christina Pham’s strict mother, Tuyet, I understand how badly she wants her daughter to be prosperous in life – but mental health is important too.
Speaking of mental health, recent research in this area showed that when parents use strict behavior to punish children going overboard can impact mental health. Villnes (2014) reports that there is a difference between countries, like the U.S. and China. For example, the Chinese style is to act controlling (which they consider love), while studies reflected if American parents behaved with strict authoritarian ways it would make for bad mental health. Culture is the key. In exploring this I learned that a China survey, writes Villnes (2014), that even in China which has a stricter culture, the children tended to “experience depression” and psychological “behavior problems” (“Kids’ Mental Health Impacted”). Nobody can say for sure how strict a parent should be, but it seems to me the style should fit the family and be sensitive to the personality of each child.
In conclusion, I feel parents are sometimes strict because they truly care about their children’s academic excellence, their protection, and deeply love them. It is not easy being strict for parents because most parents do not wish to hurt their child’s feelings, and it is important to strike a balance. Fifty years ago parents may have been stricter in some cases. But no matter which country or era parents represent, and as long as they temper authority without being abusive I truly understand the many reasons parents are sometimes strict is because they want to maintain morality and love.


McMurtry, S.L. (2014). Parenting style differences in black American and white American
young adults [Abstract]. (Order No. AAI3576746). Available from PsycINFO. (1611624952; 2014-99171-019). Retrieved from http://search.proquest.com/docview/1611624952?accountid=10640
Roberts, M.R., & Cooper, L.M. (1967). Patterns of parental discipline. Journal Of Social
Psychology, 71(Second Half), 257-266.
Sakata, J. (2011, August 21). Immigrant parents and education: When being strict becomes
a hindrance. New America Media. Retrieved from http://newamericamedia.org/2011/08/immigrant-parents-and-education-when-being-strict-becomes-a-hindrance.php
Villnes, Z. (2014, September 27). Kids’ mental health impacted by strict, ‘Tiger Mom’
parenting. Good Therapy.org. Retrieved from http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/kids-mental-health-impacted-by-strict-tiger-mom-parenting-092714

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