Here’s a question for you. Did you have strict parents when you were growing up? If so, how did you react to their parenting as a child? Does it influence you now?
Personally speaking, my parents were very strict, and at the time, I didn’t appreciate it. Now I’m an adult, there are certain things I appreciate, know, and do because of my strict upbringing.
If you were raised in a strict household with stern disciplinarians, you’ll understand the following things too.
10 Things You’ll Understand If You Had Strict Parents
1. You took risks when you were a teenager
One study from Maryland, Washington, shows that particularly strict parents (this included verbal and physical abuse) could encourage negative, risky behaviour. For example, girls became more sexually promiscuous and boys engaged in criminal activity.
“If you’re in this harsh or unstable environment, you’re kind of set up to look for immediate rewards instead of focusing on the long-term outcomes,” Rochelle Hentges, lead author, University of Pittsburgh
I hitched around France with my best friend when I was 17 years old with just a hundred pounds in my pocket. I was fearless in those days and took unnecessary risks because I had no freedom at home.
2. You are a good liar
Growing up as a teenager having to live with strict rules means you quickly become a proficient liar.
I remember the first lie I told my mother. She had sent me to the corner shop to buy 5lbs of potatoes. Because she was so strict we didn’t get an allowance, and sweets were out of the question. So I cleverly bought 4lbs of potatoes and spent the rest on candy for myself.
Canadian psychologist Victoria Talwar believes that children with strict parents can lie more effectively because they fear the repercussions of telling the truth. So a strict upbringing not only encourages dishonesty but actually increases a child’s ability to lie.
3. Your friends are as important to you as your family
Children from strict parenting backgrounds formed closer relationships with their peers than their parents. If your parents are strict and cold towards you, you are less likely to form a close attachment to them.
However, growing up, children need to find acceptance and validation somewhere, so they turn to their friends instead.
“When you have this type of parenting, from a very early age you are basically kind of getting this message that you are not loved, and you’re getting this rejection message, so it would make sense to try and find that acceptance elsewhere,” Rochelle Hentges, lead author, University of Pittsburgh
As you grow up, you rely on your friends more and more. They become the family structure you never had at home. Now you are an adult, your friends are on an equal footing with your family members.
4. You dress conservatively
Strict parents like to control their children, from what they eat, what they watch on TV, what they read to what they wear. So it’s likely they bought your clothes for you.
When you are a toddler or small child, it doesn’t matter so much. But clothes to a teenager are a form of self-expression. In school, everyone wants to fit in and we do that by wearing the same clothes.
I remember having several ‘Carrie’ moments in my teens, thanks to my parents choosing what I could wear. I went to a school disco wearing flares (it was the 70s!) and everyone else had skinny jeans on. I got undressed for a swimming lesson and saw how out of place my polka dot two-piece bikini looked, as my classmates dis-robed into their standard-issue navy blue swimsuits.
Their laughter still rings in my head today. So whenever I see something a little outrageous that I’d love to buy, I am instantly transported back to those awkward teenage years.
5. You are mature and financially independent
There are some benefits to having strict parents. When I was younger, I had to earn my own pocket money by getting a paper round. Our holidays were paid for by the whole family pitching in and working in the evenings, and when I got my first job, half my wages went into the household fund.
Working for other people at a young age also makes you responsible. You learn to think on your feet, you are interacting with adults in the outside world. You have to rely on yourself and come up with solutions. You learn how to budget, you know what things cost, and appreciate the experience of saving up yourself.
6. You’re not a fussy eater
Perhaps it was the generation, perhaps it was down to my strict mother, but when I was a child, when my dinner arrived, I was expected to eat it.
If I didn’t like it, that was fine, but my mother wouldn’t cook anything else. There was never a choice. You ate what you were given. We never questioned what we were having. No one ever asked us what we wanted.
Nowadays, I see my friends cooking several different meals for their children because so-and-so won’t eat such-and-such. I will at least try something. If I genuinely don’t like it, then I won’t eat it.
7. You understand delayed gratification
Delayed gratification is postponing an immediate reward for a later and greater reward. Studies show that the ability to delay gratification is an essential factor to success. It helps with motivation, higher intelligence, and social responsibility.
Living with strict parents means that you go without a lot of the time. You are not allowed to participate in the same activities as your friends. You don’t get the same presents as your friends. You have tighter curfews and less freedom. As a result, you have to learn to wait for the pleasurable things in life.
8. You like to shock people
In my house, swearing was most definitely not allowed. Even the mildest of swear words that a vicar might utter in a sermon was deemed the bile of Satan by my mother.
When I approached the age of 13 years, I used this as a weapon, and today I still like the look of shock on people’s faces. It reminds me of breaking through the strict parenting veneer. They were always so stiff and stuffy; I just wanted a reaction of some kind.
One study highlights the effects of strict parenting. It shows that for some children, firm parenting, such as yelling and punishment, simply results in them acting out more and rebelling.
“For some children, strict parenting will work. I know I have a child who will go straight back to doing the right thing when my wife raises her voice. The other one, though, will blow up.” Lead author – Assaf Oshri, University of Georgia
9. You respect education
I was lucky enough to go to an all-girls grammar school. However, because my parents chose this school, I spent the first two years rebelling against the teachers, the classes, the whole system.
Only when a teacher sat me down and explained that this amazing education was for my benefit and no one else’s, did I realise what an idiot I had been. Now I go out of my way to help kids avoid making the same mistakes I made.
10. You appreciate law and order
As someone that grew up with strict parents, I was used to curfews and closely monitored boundaries. At the time, this was monumentally painful and embarrassing, especially in front of my friends. Now I understand that this meant my parents cared about my well-being.
For instance, I recall coming home late one night and my dad went berserk. I had never seen him so mad and probably never since. I’m in my 50s now and can only imagine what was going through his head.
When I was young, I went through a punk stage of calling for anarchy on the streets, but what does that mean? I have watched The Purge and I’m not a fan.
Did you grow up with strict parents? Can you relate to any of the above points I’ve mentioned, or have you got some of your own? Why not let me know?
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