5 Signs Your Parents Raised You To Be Independent From The Beginning

In the modern day, raising girls to be independent goes without saying in many households. Although some remain uncomfortable claiming the term, the contemporary feminist movement has never been more ubiquitous: Celebrities debate its definition, feminist critiques of media abound on the Internet, and two of the current contenders for President of the United States openly proclaim their support for gender equality. Of course, there's still a long way to go before equality is truly reached, especially among traditionally marginalized groups, but it's safe to say that feminism is doing remarkably well considering what it's up against.

However, feminism wasn't always so mainstream. When Millennials were growing up in the 1980s and '90s, heterosexual, white male perspectives still had a stranglehold on mainstream media (aside from the many gloriously empowering pop anthems of the time), and many Americans shied away from explicitly using the term. Yet even if your parent(s) didn't outright align themselves with feminism, that doesn't mean you weren't raised to be an independent BAMF. Everyone's childhoods are different, but there are usually some common experiences out there — let's take a look at five signs your family raised you to be an independent, badass individual below.

1. You Were Expected To Get Things Done


Was the constant schedule of chores annoying AF? Of course — especially when you were supposed to fold everyone's clean clothes at the ungodly hour of 8 a.m. on a Saturday morning. However, being expected to do things for yourself certainly came in handy once you moved out and realized your roommate didn't know how to do laundry. Or load a dishwasher. Or cook anything but instant noodles.

2. Nobody Pressured You About Marriage


Although everyone faces a certain amount of pressure to settle down eventually, women experience a particular emphasis on their relationships. Men are allowed to have aspirations and plans of their own; in fact, perpetual bachelorhood isn't necessarily seen as a bad thing — just look at the media surrounding George Clooney before his marriage in 2014. In contrast, women are expected to form their life goals around future or current romantic partners. A single man in his 30s is treated wildly differently than a single woman of the same age.

But if your parents raised you to be independent, chances are you experience far less pressure to get married, and perhaps none at all. Unfortunately, the holidays most likely remain a gauntlet of interrogations by well-meaning extended family.

3. You Were Taught To Prioritize Yourself


There's nothing wrong with taking care of yourself; at the risk of sounding cliche, nobody is going to look after you better than, well, you. However, women are consistently expected to put others before themselves, whether it's setting aside their career in favor of their partner's or simply allowing others to speak before themselves. In such a culture, self-care is harder than it sounds — it's a good thing your parents taught you one of the fundamentals of independence: Prioritize yourself.

4. Your Parents Encouraged Empowering Media


Cinderella is all well and good, but she's not exactly the best role model for an independent lady. If your parents were trying to teach you to think for yourself, they probably gently directed you away from books and movies where women occupied traditional, passive gender roles and toward more empowering shows like The Powerpuff Girls and Mulan. That being said, part of encouraging independence is letting you do your own thing, so if you insisted on being allowed to watch old-school Disney, they probably relented.

5. Your Interests Were Valued


Perhaps most importantly, independence is about self-reliance — you don't need other people's validation to know your own worth. However, that kind of ironclad self-esteem doesn't come easily, especially in a culture that devalues women and their interests, and it's an enormous help to have had the support of your parents in your childhood. They might not have understood your obsession with '80s anime or Lisa Frank notebooks, but they taught you that your interests were perfectly valid — and that likely translated into self-confidence later on.

Images: Jon Ottosson; Giphy (5)