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In the movie "The Sound of Music" the father, who was also a captain, was very strict with his children. He would always give them all kinds of commands and always used a whistle.

What's the best way to describe the way he was treating them?

  1. He was treating them like in the army.
  2. He was treating them like an officer treats his soldiers.
  3. He was treating them like in the military.
  4. He was treating them like soldiers.
  5. <Your option?>
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3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Maybe something like: He ran a regimented household, showing little affection for his children.

Regimented is defined as: strictly controlled; organized according to a strict, sometimes oppressive pattern. The word has a military sense to it, but is not exclusively a military term.

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I like regimented (that'd be my top choice; +1), but I'm not sure I agree with "showing little affection." It's been awhile since I've seen the movie, but it seems like the character treated his children the way he did, not because he was unaffectionate, but because, as a widowed military officer, that was the only way he seemed to know how to express his affection. I might suggest "He ran a regimented household, instilling a strict, military discipline into his children." –  J.R. Jun 7 '12 at 12:13
    
@J.R., Point taken, but it took Maria to help him "show" the children affection. Up to her arrival, he did not express affection for the children at all. –  JLG Jun 7 '12 at 13:21
    
Thanks. I guess I remember more of his softer side, post-Maria. :^) –  J.R. Jun 7 '12 at 15:46

I like your second example. Here is my suggestion:

He was treating them like subordinates.

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