Living Under the Reign of Strict Parents

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“I wish I could be able to talk to my parents more about what’s going on in my life or what I want out of my future,” Mary (whose name has been changed) recounts what it’s like living under strict parents. “Besides constantly getting yelled at for not having a clean room or maybe if my grade drops a bit (no Cs). I’m also not allowed to go out, and if I do go out, it’s constant phone calls and texts of my mom accusing me to be somewhere I’m not or doing something I’m not doing.

Online British newspaper, The Independent, explains parents who are overly controlling of their children are causing their children to have lifelong psychological damage. They also explain researchers have found that people whose parents intruded on their privacy in childhood were more likely to receive low scores in surveys of happiness and general well being carried out in their teens, their 30s, their 40s, and even their 60s. People who have reported their parents being more lenient, caring, and responsive to their needs tended to be happier in adulthood.

“[People with more lenient parents] are just able to do what they want and like have fun with their friends without worrying about anything. I also feel like people with less strict parents are more outgoing, and I feel as if my parents somehow made me more shy and quiet and struggle with socializing because of it,” Mary explains.

Mary then acknowledges the distrust in her relationship with her parents stems from her older sister often getting in trouble for doing drugs, drinking, and partying in high school. She also mentions her older sister almost getting pregnant at seventeen, she describes her mom being paranoid that she’ll go down the same path as her older sister and thinking Mary is irresponsible and immature.

Living under strict parents can be very frustrating, and it often feels like they only enforce an abundance of rules just to assert their authority.

Senior Jonah Elias breaks down his relationship with his parents as “very distant.” Elias recalls an incident where he got in trouble for moving his father’s sunglasses.“I mean, I learn to get through [having strict parents], it’s actually not after you learn how to cut corners,” said Elias. He goes on to say that his youngest sibling “gets treated like a baby,”  his oldest sibling gets complete liberty in his life, and Elias being in the middle describes his life as being either being babied or being treated as an adult.

Living under strict parents can feel restraining, frustrating, and can even be harmful to one’s mental health. Plus, those who are living with strict parents can feel pressured to always be perfect just so they won’t get yelled. This is exactly what Susan (whose name has also been changed) depicts as living with her strict parents. “My friends are always asking me why I lie to my parents so often, but I never know how to explain it to them, you know?” Susan said. “I don’t know how to get them to understand that every little thing gets me in trouble. I get super embarrassed when I’m hanging out with them and my mom calls me yelling at me because there’s a pair of socks on the floor in my room.”

Meanwhile, Mary explains how she believes strict parents enforce too many rules as a way to assert their authority. Mary says, “Especially double standards, like my brother,15, goes out daily with his friends and I’m not really allowed to go out ever. And I’ve heard of people getting their backpacks searched, or my friend gets her text messages checked (like the receipts from the company of all her texts and even call minutes) and I don’t know it’s so unnecessary and an invasion of privacy.”