Why Strict Parents Make Sneaky Children

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You're not teaching your kids morals. You're teaching them how to lie.

Your parents wouldn't let you dye your hair. They wouldn't let you use lipstick or anything other than mascara. Body glitter was out of the question. Your skirts had to hit your fingertips, or even your knees, and no way were you wearing those skater clothes from the mall. Or listening to that punk rock skater music. Car music meant Perry Como or maybe if you were lucky, classic rock.

No concerts. No dates until 16. No parties, even parties where you swore the parents were home and watching you for signs of imminent dancing or make-out sessions. School dances were the most you got, and no one went to school dances. Or if they did, they pre-gamed beforehand.

Mostly, you stayed home and did schoolwork so you could get into a good college so you could get a good job so you wouldn't end up like Mikey down the street, who lived with his parents at age 35. Growing up with strict parents suuuuuucked.


Except strict parents had the opposite effect that they intended. They cracked down on so many things that you got sick of it. You didn't take it seriously. What were they going to do, ground you? How was that different from your average Friday night? You'd watch DIY and pass out.

So sooner or later, you, like every other child of strict parents, decided it didn't matter if you listened or not. So you were going to be sneaky.

Strictly raised kids start small. They listen to modern rock stations on the radio at night. They buy a few CDs with their birthday money, or even ask for them for Christmas their parents don't know any better. Then they can talk about music with kids at school and not seem like such a dork. Nothing says loser more than, "My parents won't let me listen to that."

Next, you read some Pixar movie reviews and go with your gaggle of girlfriends to see Diehard 33 ⅓. When your parents pick you up  right around curfew because you timed it perfectly  you recite the plot of the Pixar movie word-for-word, plot-point for plot-point. Your girlfriend, the one who wears knee socks and glasses, echoes your every word. She's as desperate to get out as you are.

The Odyssey Online

Because for as desperately as your parents have clutched at you, you've wriggled to get loose. As hard as they've held you away from the things they think will corrupt, you've seen those things and thought, cool.

They didn't make you into a mini-adult. They didn't change you from the average teenager. They just locked you up. So you became sneaky.

When my mom thought I'd gone to see my boyfriend, we had actually smoked a ton of pot and went to a rock concert with his friends, where we did whip-its in the parking lot. I told my parents I was going to my friend Colleen's and we got in her car, drove around to the back end of the mall, and smoked pot. We said we were walking to the fair, and on the way back we stopped in the car and hotboxed it with some marijuana.

There was a definite pattern with lying and smoking pot going on. I came home stoned from nearly every social event I attended and no one ever noticed. They can sniff your breath for alcohol, but no one thinks the good girl might be tokin' oneMost girls do this with beer, but pot was easier to get.

I lied in all the stereotypical ways girls from strict homes lie. I snuck makeup to school and put it on in the bathroom, then took it off before the last bell. Everyone knew about it, but no one said a word. I wasn't the only girl doing it, either. I also wasn't the only girl rolling the waistband of her school skirt from a respectable, dorky knee-length to way, way, above finger-length.


I said I was going to the movies and ended up at parties where I made out with boys. We listened to all those CDs I wasn't allowed to listen to, or my parents didn't understand, and danced really, really, really close. I probably would have done all this stuff without strict parents.

My parents thought that their strictness would save me from all of it. They were wrong. They didn't teach me morals, they taught me how to lie. They didn't save all that rebellion for college when they wouldn't have to cope with it.

The kids of strict parents rebel regardless of their parents' protectiveness. They just do it behind their parents' backs. They learn to lie and to sneak, sometimes out their bedroom windows.

Teenagers will do just about anything to get drunk, smoke cigarettes, and make out in the company of other teenagers. They'll just pass out at a friend's house, smoke pot instead, and spray themselves down with cheap perfume. And lie. Because no one's sneakier than the child of strict parents.