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Strict father model

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Title: Strict father model  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Nurturant parent model, Parenting, Parenting styles, Blanket training, The Tree of Life (film)
Collection: Fatherhood, Parenting, Political Science
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Strict father model

The strict father model of parenting is one which values strict discipline, particularly by the father, in parenting.

Ideas involved in this model include:

  • That children learn through reward and punishment, as in operant conditioning.
  • That children become more self-reliant and more self-disciplined by having strict parents.
  • That the parent, particularly the father, is meant to mete out rewards for good behavior as well as punish bad behavior.

This model of child-rearing would involve allowing children to cry themselves to sleep as picking up a child when it should be sleeping might foster dependence on the parents and is not a display of discipline. In his book Dare to Discipline, James Dobson advocates the strict father model. However, some researchers have linked authoritarian childrearing with children who withdraw, lack spontaneity, and have lesser evidence of conscience.[1]

The strict father model is discussed by Moral Politics, Don't Think of an Elephant, The Political Mind, and Whose Freedom?. In these books, the strict father model is contrasted with the nurturant parent model. Lakoff argues that if the metaphor of nation as family and government as parent is used, then conservative politics correspond to the strict father model. For example, conservatives think that adults should not look to the government for assistance, lest they become dependent.


  1. ^ Maccoby, E. E.; Martin, J. A. (1983), "Socialization in the context of the family: Parent-child interaction", in Mussen, Paul. H., Handbook of Child Psychology 4, Wiley,  
  • The Nation as Family. Rockridge Institute. Refer to chapter 4.
  • Two Worldviews - A History, Two Ideal Family Models and The Role of Empathy
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