10 Things Only Kids Who Grew Up With Strict Parents Will Understand

If you never had to change out of your outfit the second you got to school in the morning, then you don't know the struggle.

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You knew us. We always had to check with Mom first. We could never make spontaneous plans; we had to check in via phone. We couldn't go to the big concert. We came home early from the big date. And our TV was obsessively monitored.

We were the kids with strict parents.

And while you spent weekends drinking at house parties, we were grateful for a sleepover. We wanted to be you so bad. We wished our parents would just shut up or go away, or just leave us the hell alone. Kids with normal parents lived it up while we stayed on the sidelines.


Be it fear, morality, or Jesus Christ, our parents had their reasons. And there are some things we former kids of strict parents can all remember.

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Here are 10 things only kids who grew up with strict parents will understand:

1. They scrutinized our makeup — then made us take it off

Everyone else could wear black eyeliner and bright eye shadow, but our parents said it looked "too garish" or "slutty" depending on their particular flavor of repression. Our moms confined us to brown mascara because black was only for adults. We yearned for cat eyeliner and blush. We got lip gloss, but nothing brighter. This sucked then, and it sucked once we reached the sweet freedom of college with no idea how to contour.


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2. We could never watch MTV

Our parents saw MTV as everything wrong with today's culture. It's not as if our parents specifically banned Marilyn Manson videos; they blanket-banned the entire channel. As a sneaky workaround, we watched a lot of VH1, which sometimes showed decent music in between the John Tesh. Today, when people mention Pedro and Puck on The Real World: San Francisco, we have no idea who they're talking about. Thanks, Mom.

3. We changed clothes in the school bathroom

All those clothes Mom deemed too short, too skimpy, and too revealing? We secretly bought them with our birthday money. Since we couldn't wear them at home, we stashed them in our Jansport backpacks and changed before first period. Then, humiliatingly, we had to change back before we caught the bus home. We also had to wash those clothes in secret, earning inadvertent brownie points for doing our own laundry.

4. We weren't allowed to drive

All the other kids got their learner's permits at fifteen and their licenses at sixteen, plus a new shiny pair of wheels (anything's shiny if you have to walk). Our parents didn't want us to learn to drive because we had to prove we were responsible, or something like that. We suspected they were too cheap to buy us a car and didn't want to share their own. So that left us waiting for pick-ups after school activities and suffering through bus rides as a senior.


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5. We had a curfew

OK, most kids have curfews, but our curfews were earlier. While everyone else stayed out until midnight, we had to be home at 10 PM. And 10 PM meant 10 PM, with Dad sitting up with a stopwatch at the kitchen table. One minute late and we were grounded. This led to lots of sudden scrambles home and the breaking of many speed limits. Friends also felt the drag: there was always "but so-and-so has to be home at 10." Suck.

6. We missed major cartoon milestones

The Simpsons was an instrument of the devil because Bart had no respect for adults and told people to "Eat my shorts!" We missed that American touchstone, one we can't get back, because it's hard to pick up The Simpsons as an adult, with its long in-show history and a giant cast of characters.

And if The Simpsons were evil, South Park was pure Satan. People curse. Feces dance in Santa hats. Our precious minds would be irredeemably corrupted by Saddam Hussein and gay boat rides and trips to hell and killing Kenny. So we missed out on that cafeteria conversation, too. We couldn't even stay up late enough to watch Space Ghost Coast to Coast. We felt like the biggest losers ever.


7. Our date had to come inside to pick us up

God help the boy who honked his horn from the driveway. He was expected to present himself at the door, scrubbed and fresh-faced with his ma'ams and sirs. After a grilling about where he was taking you, many reminders of your curfew, and admonitions to drive like an old man, he was paraded through the kitchen, where your dad was actually cleaning his gun. We couldn't wait for high school to end.

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8. We weren't allowed to watch The Craft

R-rated. 'Nuff said.

9. We mastered the secret rebellion

We watched MTV at our friends' houses, where we also caught up on South Park and goggled at R-rated movies. We didn't drink, because Dad checked our breath when we came home, but we realized our parents had no idea what marijuana smelled like. We pulled the I'll-sleepover-at-your-house-and-you-sleepover-at-mine-and-we'll-actually-go-to-a rave trick. We probably shoplifted.


10. When we got to college, we went gloriously wild

We dressed in things that came up to here and down to there. We got very, very, very drunk on girly drinks. We lost our virginity as soon as possible. We probably slept around a bit (maybe more than a bit). We smoked pot and had long, stoned talks about the real nature of the universe. We went on a spontaneous road trip. And some friends eventually finally taught us how to drive.

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Elizabeth Broadbent is a writer and regular contributor to Scary Mommy. Her work has appeared on Today Show Parents, Babble, xoJane, Mamapedia, and Time Magazine Ideas.