While my parents weren’t the strictest ones out there, (they’d look like hippies next to Mrs. Kim) I think it’s safe to say they were pretty friggin’ strict when I was growing up. And even though I kind of hated it as a kid, I’m truly grateful for it as an adult. Because there’s actually a lot of awesome things about growing up with strict parents.
My parents homeschooled my siblings and I from K-12, so they sort of had to be strict. It was their job to play the role of parent, teacher, and principal to the three of us every day, while still managing to provide for all of us. Plus, they raised us to be super Protestant, which meant church was attended three times a week, and my version of "teenage rebellion” was sneakily buying and rocking out to Beatles CD’s (which my dad ended up finding and confiscating) on my way to and from work. Also, dating wasn’t an option until we were 17, music lessons were required, and we read all the freaking time — whether we wanted to or not. Oh, and chores. We did so many chores.
But now that I'm older, I know how privileged I was to have parents who cared as much as mine did. I’m glad structure and rules were such a big part of me and my siblings’ lives because I feel like it’s really helped us to succeed as adults. But it’s taken me a few years away from home to fully realize just how much I benefited from growing up with strict parents. If your parents were strict too, you know what I'm talking about. Here are nine actually awesome things about growing up with strict parents.
1. You Learn Self-Discipline At An Early Age
I've probably benefited more from this side effect of growing up with strict parents than I have from any other item on this list. The self-discipline my parents instilled in me as a kid, and encouraged throughout my time at home, is the only thing that kept me from completely losing it during my last semester of college. It's the only way I've been able to build up my freelance work, and it's the only reason I haven't allowed my recent heartbreak to keep me from getting said work done.
I definitely complained about it as a kid, but I'm so glad my parents taught me to make my own deadlines and meet them regardless of what's going on my life. Self-discipline is really hard sometimes, and it's a skill that takes lots of practice.
2. You're Probably Good With Money
If you had strict parents, then you probably weren't one of those kids who got a weekly allowance. And when your parents did give you spending money, you knew it had to last you a while. As an adult, I feel bad for having been annoyed by this. I can't even imagine how hard it was for my parents to provide for three kids and themselves with one blue-collar income, but I'm so happy they did it. Their sacrifice and hard work taught me the value of money, and how to be responsible with it.
I managed to graduate college with less than $5,000 in debt because of how well they passed down their philosophy on spending. Plus, they taught me how to budget for life's boring essentials (like bills and car tires) while saving for the things I really care about (like travel and Sephora).
3. You Learn How To Take Care Of Yourself
Strict parents teach their kids to take care of their mind, body, and spirit just as much as their studies and finances. Don't get me wrong, my parents didn't put my siblings and I on diets and rigid exercise regimens or anything, but they did teach us about eating healthy and they pushed us to get outside and exercise on a daily basis. They wanted us to learn how to live a healthy lifestyle early on, and we did.
I know I wouldn't be as fit as I am now without the upbringing I had, because exercise kind of sucks sometimes, and donuts are amazing.
4. You (Usually) Think Things Through
I'm an over-thinker by nature. It's just an unfortunate part of my personality. But I know growing up with strict parents amplified that character trait of mine. And, you know what? I'm perfectly okay with that. Over-thinking is super annoying, and it can be detrimental, but it's also kept me from being irresponsible and acting rashly on more than one occasion. I can't tell you how many times I've followed my parent's lead and thought major decisions through instead of acting impulsively like I wanted to. Their mantra, "don't be hasty" has kept me from making some pretty big mistakes regarding relationships, moves, and big purchases.
5. You Probably Have Fantastic Posture
Strict parents don't tolerate bad posture. Period. And thank goodness for that, because not only is bad posture hard on your body, it can actually hurt your self-confidence.
6. Procrastinating Is Really Hard For You
Again, I think part of this is just how I'm wired, but being raised by strict parents makes you realize that procrastinating is way more stressful than it's worth. I'm not saying I've never procrastinated, but I don't do it often. And it's largely because my parents taught me how to budget my time.
7. You’ll Always Be Motivated To Please Your Parents
If you can't tell by now, I think my parents are pretty great. Do we see eye to eye on everything? Hell, no. I'm a super liberal, agnostic, and they're both relatively conservative Christians. But I do care about making them happy and proud. It's a big part of why I try to keep my chin up and get stuff done even though lately I haven't really felt like it. And honestly, I don't think my desire to please them will ever go away. Even when I'm 50.
8. ... But You Care More About Living Honestly
As much as I care about pleasing my parents, I care more about living my life openly and honestly. I know they don't approve of every aspect of my lifestyle, but part of growing up with strict parents is learning to be honest — no matter what. So that's how I try to live my life, and I think they can respect that.