While we’ve delved into the debate about “living room parents” and “bedroom parents,” there is still an untouched group of parents that are now suddenly blowing up on TikTok: non-strict parents.
Kids are setting up their phones and interviewing their non-strict parents on camera, asking them hypothetical questions and taking their opinions on “what-if” kind of situations where a kid would most definitely get in trouble if their parents weren’t so laid back.
The answers from some of these parents are wild, but also make so much sense when it comes to being a present, understanding parent who wants to really connect with their child.
What is a non-strict parent?
TikTok user @dajianaruffo rattled off a list of hypothetical scenarios for her to answer in a TikTok video now seen by over 1 million people, showing viewers just how laid back some parents can be.
“What would you do if I scratched your car?” she asks her mom.
“I’d make you pay for it,” she replies. Pretty standard parent answer there.
“What would you do if I threw a party but you were out of town?” the daughter asks.
“I’d be mad that I wasn’t invited,” the mom answers.
Her mom also wouldn’t really care if she skipped class, came home at 2 a.m. (just don’t wake her up!), or had a boy sleepover (again, just don’t wake her up).
When asked how she’d respond if her daughter got a C for a grade, her mom replied, “I’d be so happy.”
And that’s on knowing your kids and setting realistic expectations for them.
Non-strict parents vs. strict parents TikTok trend
Several TikTok kids have gotten in on the non-strict parent trend, asking their own moms and dads hypotheticals just to see how they would respond or react in situations that most strict parents would probably flip over.
In another viral video from the non-strict parent trend, TikTok user Abby Moxon, asks her “non-strict dad” hypothetical questions.
“Okay, what if I snuck out and went to a party and you found out the next morning?” Abby asks.
“We would talk about it, but it’d be fine,” he responds. Note how he doesn’t immediately jump to groundings, punishments, and phones being taken away. Instead, he opts for communication and connection.
When she asks what he’d do if she “cussed him out in a fight,” he said he’d tell her he didn’t like the way she was talking to him and he’d cuss her out himself. Period.
Strict parents TikTok trend
To get the other side of this TikTok trend, some kids opted to be very brave and interview their strict parents, asking the same questions about C’s on tests, sneaking out, and using cuss words.
One user asked her mom what would happen if she got a bad grade in a class.
Her mom’s response: “You won’t.”
So, which is the “better” way to raise kids? Being chill and laid back or running a tight ship?
Does strict parenting work?
According to Aha! Parenting, founded by therapist Dr. Laura Markham, strict parenting actually deprives kids of the opportunity to learn self-discipline and responsibility because those are put into place for them.
“Harsh limits may temporarily control behavior, but they don’t help a child learn to self-regulate,” the site reads.
“Instead, harsh limits trigger a resistance to taking responsibility for themselves. There is no internal tool more valuable for kids than self-discipline, but it develops from the internalization of loving limits. No one likes to be controlled, so it’s not surprising that kids reject limits that aren’t empathic. They see the ‘locus of control’ outside of themselves, rather than WANTING to behave.”
Recent research showed that strict parenting may actually lead kids to act out more, testing those boundaries and feeling the need to rebel. This is due to the stressful environment they are accustomed to, leading to the need to get that stress out in unproductive ways.
Seems like some open and honest communication and realistic boundaries might the way to a healthy and loving relationship with those often deemed “tough” teenage years — and there might be a lot we can learn from “un-strict” parents.