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8 Things Only People With Strict Parents Would Understand

8 Things Only People With Strict Parents Would Understand

If you grew up in a home where your parents ruled the roost with an iron fist, you may look back at it with a mixture of indignation and respect. Strict parents are usually authoritarian and show little warmth and affection, which is probably the one thing you wanted from them most of all.

Maybe your strict parents would be surprised and a little uneasy about research published in the University of New Hampshire, which claims that authoritarian parenting often results in delinquent behavior such as stealing and substance abuse.

Looking back on your own childhood, you see both the negative and positive effects of strict parenting. The question is, will you do it differently when you raise your own children?

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Here are 10 things your strict parents may have done.

1. They always regarded sleepovers with deep suspicion

As soon as the word sleepover was mentioned, all sorts of scary scenarios used to play out in their minds. If your parents were overly strict, this was a definite no-no. Even less strict parents made endless phone calls to your friends’ parents about the arrangements to be made. These parents had to be vetted. Even though you know they had your safety in mind as their top priority, you despised having to tell your best friend that you were forbidden to attend a totally harmless sleepover.

2. They thought academic success was very important

One of the great advantages of strict parents is that they wanted you to do your best and be successful in life. They pushed you hard, made sure that your homework was always done, and forbade you from taking shortcuts. These principles have stood you in good stead, because you know that hard work pays handsome dividends and that you now have enough self-discipline to meet life’s stiffest challenges.

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In fact, it seems that Asian and Chinese children do better academically due to an authoritarian style of parenting. They also scored higher on self-esteem than their American counterparts. It looks as if insistence on homework being done can be beneficial.

3. They constantly criticized you

Strict parents tend to be harsh with their criticism. As a youngster, you probably had to put up with complaints about your room, your untidiness, your laziness, your lack of character, your sloppiness, and your wastefulness. This also usually extended to cover your hair, clothes, friends, and tastes in music. Rather than encouraging you improve yourself, however, it only encouraged you to hide things from your parents. The clothes you had dared to buy in the mall were always carefully hidden, and you swore your parents would never, ever find your hidden stash of forbidden video games and movies. Strict parents want their kids to be well-mannered, but you always thought they went too far!

4. They set very clear limits and boundaries

One good thing about your authoritarian parents was that you always knew the difference between right and wrong. You learned about the values of honesty, thrift, and hard work. You were lectured about self-control. This was a great advantage when it came to resisting peer pressure at school and avoiding risky behavior in college. Because your parents always made sure you faced the consequences of your actions, you grew up understanding the risks of impulsive behavior.

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5. They gave you practically no freedom at all

You were driven everywhere – to school, to movies, and even to parties (the ones they let you attend, anyway). Your friends envied your attentive parents, but you would have preferred to bike or walk everywhere if given the chance. If your parents actually let you have a cell phone, they called you at all times of the day wanting to know where you were and what time you would be back. My brother hated these questions and always replied, “At half past!” You became adept at erasing your phone history and were extra careful about hiding your tracks, constructing stories that wouldn’t backfire and establishing alibis everywhere you went. It was exhausting.

6. They rarely intervened to help you or defend you

There was no helicopter parenting in your house. It was unthinkable that your mom would rush to your defense when you had a problem with your teacher, or storm into the coach’s office when you didn’t make the swimming team. Autonomy was your only choice, and that meant solving your own problems, often completely alone. There was no way to ask your parents for help because they would only blame you, punish you, and criticize you all the more. This was somewhat of a blessing, however, because you are now completely independent, and you never play the blame-game at work because you were never entitled as a child.

7. They ruined your fun with a very tight curfew

When you were finally allowed to go to parties or hang out with friends, your parents imposed a very tight curfew that often made you miss out on the best part of the evening. Getting garbled, second-hand versions from your buddies the next day wasn’t much consolation, either. You often wondered why curfews mattered so much, because bad things can happen to you at anytime, even in the afternoon!

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8. They taught you the value of money

Doing chores, sometimes earning a little money from them, was an important part of your upbringing because it taught you the value of money. Because of your parents’ emphasis on hard work and earning money, you knew how to save up for an important event and learned the basics of budgeting and financial management. You never counted on waiting around for gifts, and if a toy broke, there was no rushing out to buy a new one.

There are moderate approaches to everything in life, and that includes parenting. Kids who were brought up by overly permissive parents tend to be slackers, because they were never expected to work hard. They were overprotected and have none of the skills that help people survive in the adult world. Kids who had strict parents, on the other hand, had little freedom, were constantly watched and criticized, and were rarely encouraged or praised. The best solution is to adopt an authoritative parenting attitude where clear limits are set, but allows parents to love, support, encourage, discuss, and help out without being too protective.

Featured photo credit: homework/Bjorn Bulthuis via flickr.com

More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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