Moms and Dads

Growing Up With Strict Parents

Were your parents strict, or do you consider yourself to be a strict parent? If your answer is yes, then you’ll probably relate to this story…

Have you ever been terrified of opening up to your parents? Growing up with strict parents, it feels as if there’s never a perfect time to share your stories? These feelings of unease were something that I was used to.

As the youngest and the only girl in my family, my parents were always protective of me. When I was in high school, I’d always get bombarded with questions every time I wanted to go out. “And where are you going again?” “Who are you going with? Have I met them?” and “Ask your dad because I’m not allowing you” were just the usual interrogations I’d get and made fun of for. As a teen, I was sad because it felt like I was missing out on a lot of things.

Growing up with strict parents - family photo

I went to an all-girls school from nursery to high school; whenever there were soirees hosted by my classmates, my parents would allow me to attend with gentle reminders like: “Go and make friends, but no boyfriend muna ok?!” or “Don’t wear shorts, wear jeans instead”. Of course, dating was out of the question since academics was my priority.

But now that I’m older, I realize how privileged I am to have parents who have been so caring and protective of me. I’m glad my parents’ rules were such a big part of my life. They helped me grow and achieve my dreams. To this day, I live with the principles they’ve taught me.

Here are a few things I’ve learned growing up with strict parents:

That it’s important to put yourself first

My parents always taught me that to prioritize my self-worth over everything. Because of this, I know how I should be treated and how much respect I deserve. It also taught me the importance of setting boundaries and having a good sense of judgement.

My parents taught me and my brother to think about our health too, especially eating well and the importance of good sleep. From a young age, we were taught to sleep and wake up early, a habit I’ve kept til today!

That we should think first before making decisions

Growing up, I was never impulsive because I knew how much trouble I could get into if I made the wrong choices. This instilled a sense of practicality in me, especially when it comes to money. It’s never been more useful than now, during the pandemic, where the temptation of online shopping is so real. Although I love browsing, I always make sure to double check and see if it’s really worth it to hit that purchase button.

My parents’ attitude towards money also influenced me to invest in more worthwhile things, like life insurance and practical items that I can use for work.

That curfews aren’t all that bad

Growing up with strict parents - with my cousins
Last hoorah with my cousins before the lockdown

I used to hate this rule. I had to be home before midnight — just before the party started. But looking back, it taught me to manage my time wisely. I was able to go to a party and make it home before curfew—talk about great time management skills! This has served me well into adulthood, especially at work.

That being in a relationship isn’t a priority

It’s not that my parents never allowed me to date, in fact I’ve introduced someone to them before. They told me to prioritize my studies and career, and the rest will follow, which made sense because I was really young and still had a lot to learn in life. I remember what my mom told me, the first time I opened up about this guy I liked, “How can you be in a relationship if you can’t even take care of yourself? You have to be responsible first.” and that made sense to me.

That I should dress like a lady

Strict Parents - hanging out with friends
Celebrating my high school friend’s birthday

Studying in an exclusive Catholic all girls-school for 12 years, I am trained to dress up simple and conservatively. Of course, when there are small gatherings with my classmates and other friends, I feel like dressing up too, but wait — mini-skirts, short shorts? I don’t know her. Even on family occasions, my parents always make sure I dress up appropriately.

That nothing worth having comes easy

If you want to be successful in life, you have to work hard and get through all to the struggles first. My dad always told me that life has a lot in store for me — and I  have to overcome all those challenges in order to learn and grow. There will be times you’ll feel like giving up but you should always choose to be strong. Stay positive!

To my parents, thank you for loving me unconditionally. There might be times where I feel I don’t understand your rules but now I know why you set those for me. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without your support and I will always be grateful for that.

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