Living with strict parents (whether those of color or white parents) comes with many, many limitations. It sounds like a trite thing, but your life really changes when you’ve got strict parents. They’re usually well-intentioned and take great care of you but wow is it hard to see the positives when you’re in the heat of it!
In most friend groups, there’s at least one friend with the strict parents. Here are ten things you’ll relate to if that’s you:
1. Technology was a touchy subject, to say the least.
Your friends might have gotten the iPhone with full texting privileges as soon as it came out, but your parents waited it out as long as they could. And once you got that phone, boy, did they make sure to remind you they paid for it.
Texting or calling your friends late at night meant trouble, and God help you if your friend was a boy. They definitely checked your phone and probably read your texts too.
Privacy? What’s that? And this goes no matter what years you went to high school during- it went the same for whatever device was the hot new thing.
2. “Is it a need or a want?”
“I need a/to ______” was never a safe statement to say, because your parents knew exactly how to trip you up.
Of course you needed the new Lisa Frank t-shirts because everyone got them, but your parents were reluctant. What exactly makes such a product an obligatory purchase, they asked? What exactly makes attending this birthday party or social event a must? They chided you that what you really meant was that you wanted to have or go to such a thing. Wouldn’t it be fun to play Scrabble with the family? You need family.
3. Secret relationships are an enormous risk.
If you decide to put your neck out there and risk a secret relationship – which I never had the guts to do – you were in for a world of pain if you were EVER caught. Maybe you had to constantly delete texts with a SO and you had a photo vault for any cute pics. There was definitely an alibi for every date and cover-ups for any gifts or chocolate. If your parents saw you wearing any new jewelry, you better either hope you can pass it off as something you bought yourself or that they bury you in a cute outfit.
Your SO might have picked you up down the block, or maybe from a friend’s house (because there could be eyes everywhere). And if you were out with him/her, you probably picked remote restaurants. If you spotted a curious neighbor or friend of your mother’s, or God forbid your parents themselves, you felt your heart in your pelvis.
4. Hanging out was a complicated business.
It took days of planning, at least. Curfews weren’t suggestions, and they definitely were much earlier than those of your friends. Popular questions about your social events included, but were not limited to: “Who are you going with?” “Who are her parents?” “What do they work as?” “Does she have an older brother?” “Does she study hard?” Sleepovers took a long, long time to plan. Maybe you had to send a picture of who you were with to prove things.
Maybe your parents even took the extra step to contact the friend’s parents. Other kids might have thought it the end of the world if they were grounded. But you? You were used to it. It was a constant threat hanging over your head, that your parents could take something you cared about away or not let you go to so-and-so’s birthday party. Plans could get canceled at any time.
5. Talking back to your parents wasn’t even a question.
How did your friends do it, you wondered. If you had an opinion to share with your parents, you better damn well phrase it in a way that was respectful to them. And yelling at them? Not even in the question. As long as you lived under their roof, it was their rules.
“But Mama, I’m 16!” did nothing but maybe get you a whupping. “Why don’t you ask your parents to give you some space?” Ha ha ha. Ha. Ha.
6. Your space is their space.
Locked doors? Not unless you’re changing. Even if you got so mad, you better not have slammed that door, or you knew you had it coming. They might have argued that your room was technically their room, as they paid for the house, so they had a right to inspect it or clean it if they wanted. Spending time alone in there, to your strict parents, was a sign that you had drifted far, far from them.
7. Erase all. the. history.
Browsing, YouTube, old texts, chat logs…..you didn’t leave any evidence behind because your parents were probably sneaky enough to comb through it carefully. So sorry if you wanted that photo of Justin Timberlake’s dreamy abs, but delete that shit NOW.
There’s no time for memories when your livelihood is at stake.
8. A B stands for busted.
Not all strict parents are picky about As, but they all tend to overreact if yours ever slipped. They probably asked you “will you get a 100?” after every test you took. Maybe they asked you, “where’s the other 3%?” when you proudly showed off a 97.
[bctt tweet=”As long as you lived under their roof, it was their rules.” username=”wearethetempest”]
Even if everyone else failed the test, and you got the highest score, it was all up to your parents to decide if the number scrawled on your paper was acceptable or not.
9. You get close with your siblings really fast.
You end up spending a lot of time with them, a lot more time than your friends. And sometimes they become your only escapes within the household (because as much as you love your parents, you need someone who can relate so closely with the type of control you’ve grown up under).
So, as much as you fight and hate your brother or sister, you might have gone crazy without them.
10. No matter how hard your friends pretended to understand, they didn’t get it.
They always thought you were flaky or lazy or just didn’t care, because hanging out with you was a hassle (see above) and you had to put so much effort into every. little. thing. They thought “strict parents” was just a cliche idea, didn’t understand that you had to carefully monitor your speech and actions all the time. Impulsive plans couldn’t work, you couldn’t FaceTime late at night in case your parents heard through the wall, and your friends thought that they felt the burning consequences of the strictness. Little did they know what we went through, huh?
But the scariest thing of all? Sometimes, you caught yourself being a little too controlling or chiding a little kid, and you heard a sliver of your mother or father in your own voice. I guess that’s the perils of growing up in a controlling environment. You have weird relationships with authority figures. Yikes.