It doesn't have to be one or the other. Being strict is not what we used to associate with that word. Thankfully, the days of beatings and emotional punishments (should) are over in most families. We are now much more aware of the impact these kinds of punishments have on the emotional wellbeing of our children.
However, this does not mean that we shouldn't be strict at all. There is a happy in between and this is the goal.
Setting boundaries and rules are necessary in order for children to learn right from wrong and understand why these are vital in our society. Instant gratification will eventually turn into rages and tantrums when the child doesn't get what they want immediately. Who likes a spoiled brat at their house, school or club of some kind?
We are first and foremost our children's parents and this comes with responsibility to discipline (latin = to teach) them and show them what it is to be a decent human being.
By staying calm and sticking to your rules most of the time, our kids learn and accept that this is how the world works. Bad behaviour has consequences and can be avoided.
We are not doing them any favours by allowing everything and not learning.
Loving equals caring, setting boundaries and showing without being walk over. Life will be much easier for all of us!!
Enjoy family life!