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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 30, 2020

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

What Does Self-Conscious Mean? (And How to Stop Being It)

Have you ever walked into a room and felt like your nerves simply couldn’t handle it? Your heart beats fast, you start to sweat, and you feel like all eyes are on you (even if they’re really not). This is just one of the many ways that being self-conscious can rear its ugly head.

You may not even realize you’re self-conscious, and you may be wondering, “What does self-conscious mean?” That’s a good place to start.

This article will define self-consciousness, show how practically everyone has faced it at one point or another, and give you tips to avoid it.

What Does Self-Conscious Mean?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, self-conscious is defined as “conscious of one’s own acts or states as belonging to or originating in oneself.”[1]

Not so bad, right? There’s another definition, though — one that speaks more to what you’re going through: “feeling uncomfortably conscious of oneself as an object of the observation of others.” For those of us who regularly deal with extreme self-consciousness, that second definition sounds about right.

There are many different ways self-consciousness can spring up. You may feel self-conscious around people you know, like your family members or closest friends. You may feel self-conscious at work, even though you spend hours every week around your co-workers. Or you may feel self-conscious when out in public and surrounded by strangers. However, you probably don’t feel self-conscious when you’re home alone.

How to Stop Being Too Self-Conscious

When you’re in the throes of self-consciousness, it’s nearly impossible to remember how to stop feeling that way. That’s why it’s so important to prepare ahead of time, when you’re feeling ready to tackle the problem instead of succumbing to it.

Here are a variety of ways to feel better about yourself and stop thinking about how others see you.

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1. Ask Yourself, “So What?”

One way to banish negative, self-conscious thoughts is to do just that: banish them.

The next time you walk into a room and feel your face getting red, think to yourself, “So what?” How much does it really matter if people don’t like how you look or act? What’s the worst that could happen?

Most of the time, you’ll find that you don’t have a good answer to this question. Then, you can immediately start assigning such thoughts less importance. With self-awareness, you can acknowledge that your negative thoughts are present and realize that you don’t agree with them.[2] They’re just thoughts, after all.

2. Be Honest

A lie that self-consciousness might tell is that there’s one way to act or feel. Honestly, though, everyone else is just figuring life out as well. There isn’t a preferred way to show up to an event, gathering, or public place. What you can do is be honest with your feelings and thoughts.[3]

If you feel offended by something someone says, you don’t have to smile to be polite or laugh to fit in with the crowd. Instead, you can politely say why you disagree or excuse yourself and find a group of people who you relate to better. If you’re nervous, don’t overcompensate by trying to look relaxed and casual — it’ll be obvious you’re putting on a front. Instead, nothing is more endearing than saying, “I’m a little nervous!” to a room of people who probably feel the exact same way.

On the same note, if you don’t understand why someone wants you to do something, question it. You can do this at work, at home, or even with people you don’t know well. Nobody should force you to do something you don’t want to do.

Also, even if you’re willing to do what’s asked of you, there’s nothing wrong with asking for more clarification. People will realize that you’re not a person to be bossed around.

3. Understand Why You’re Struggling at Work

Being self-conscious at work can get in the way of your daily responsibilities, your relationships with co-workers, and even your career as a whole. If you’re facing some sort of conflict but you’re too nervous to speak up, you may be at the whim of what happens to you instead of taking some control.

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If you’re usually confident at work, you may be wondering where this new self-consciousness is coming from. It’s possible that you’re dealing with burnout.[4] Common signs are anxiety, fatigue and distraction, all of which can leave you feeling under-confident.

4. Succeed at Something

When you create success in your life, it’s easier to feel confident[5] and less self-conscious. If you feel self-conscious at work, finish the project that’s been looming over your head. If you feel self-conscious in the gym, complete an advanced workout class.

Exposing yourself to what you’re scared of and then succeeding at it in some way (even just by finishing it) can do wonders for your self-esteem. The more confidence you build, the more likely you are to have more success in the future, which will create a cycle of confidence-building.

5. Treat All of You — Not Just Your Self-Consciousness

Trying to solve your self-consciousness alone may not treat the root of the problem. Instead, take a well-rounded approach to lower your self-consciousness and build confidence in areas where you may struggle.

Even professional counselors are embracing this holistic type of treatment[6] because they feel that the health of the mind and body are inextricably linked. This approach combines physical, spiritual, and psychological components. Common activities and treatments include meditation, yoga, massage, and healthy changes to diet and exercise.

If much of this is new to you, it will pay to give it a try. You never know how it will impact you.

If you’re feeling self-conscious about how your body looks, a massage that makes you feel great could boost your confidence. If you try a new workout, you could have something exciting to talk about the next time you’re in a group setting.

Putting yourself in a new situation and learning that you can get through it with grace can give you the confidence to get through all sorts of events and nerve-wracking moments.

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6. Make the Changes That Are Within Your Control

Let’s say you walk into a room and you’re self-conscious about how you look. However, you may have put a lot of time and effort into your outfit. Even though it may stand out, this is how you have chosen to express yourself.

You have to work on your internal confidence, not your external appearance. There’s nothing to change other than your outlook.

On the other hand, maybe there’s something that you don’t like about yourself that you can change. For example, maybe you hate how a birthmark on your face looks or have varicose veins that you think are unsightly. If you can do something about these things, do it! There’s nothing wrong with changing your appearance (or skills, education, etc.) if it’s going to make you more confident.

You don’t have to accept your current situation for acceptance’s sake. There’s no award for putting up with something you hate. Confidence is also required to make changes that are scary, even if they’re for the better. Plus, it may be an easier fix than you thought. For example, treating varicose veins doesn’t have to involve surgery — sometimes simple compression stockings will take care of the problem.[7]

7. Realize That Everyone Has Awkward Moments

Everyone has said something awkward to someone else and lived to tell the tale. We’ve all forgotten somebody’s name or said, “You too!” when the concession stand girl says to enjoy our movie. Not only are these things uber-common, but they’re not nearly as embarrassing as you feel they are.

Think about how you react when someone else does something awkward. Do you think, “Wow, that person’s such a loser!” or do you think, “What a relief, I’m not the only one who does that.” Chances are good that’s the same reaction others have to you when you stumble.

Remember, self-consciousness is a state of mind that you have control over. You don’t have to feel this way. Do what you need to in order to build your confidence, put your self-consciousness in perspective, and start exercising your “I feel awesome about myself” muscle. It’ll get easier with time.

When Is Being Self-Conscious a Good Thing?

Self-consciousness can sometimes be a good thing[8], but you have to take the awkwardness and nerves out of it.

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In this case, “self-aware” is a much better term. Knowing how you come off to people is an excellent trait; you’ll be able to read a room and understand how what you do and say affects others. These are fantastic skills for people work and personal relationships.

Self-awareness helps you dress appropriately for the occasion, tells you that you’re talking too loud or not loud enough, and guides a conversation so you don’t offend or bore anyone.

It’s not about being someone you’re not — that can actually have adverse effects, just like self-consciousness. Instead, it’s about turning up certain aspects of yourself to perform well in the situation.

Final Thoughts

When you’re self-conscious, you’re constantly battling with yourself in an effort to control how other people view you. You try to change yourself to suit what you think other people want to see.

The truth, though, is that you can’t actually control how other people view you — and you may not even be correct about how they view you in the first place.

Being confident doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it happens in small steps as you slowly build your confidence and say “no” to your self-consciousness. It also requires accepting that you’re going to feel self-conscious sometimes, and that’s okay.

Sometimes worrying that there is a problem can be more stressful than the problem itself. Feeling bad for feeling self-conscious can be more troublesome than simply feeling it and getting on with the day.

Forgive yourself for being human and make the small changes that will lead to better confidence in the future.

More Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

Featured photo credit: Cata via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Merriam-Webster: Self-conscious
[2] Bustle: 7 Tips On How To Stop Feeling Self-Conscious
[3] Marc and Angel: 10 Things to Remember When You Feel Unsure of Yourself
[4] Bostitch: How to Protect Small Businesses From Burnout
[5] Psychology Today: Self-conscious? Get Over It
[6] Wake Forest University: Embracing Holistic Medicine
[7] Center for Vein Restoration: What Causes Venous Ulcers, and How Are They Treated?
[8] Scientific American: The Pros and Cons of Being Self-Aware

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