Everyone who says parents are more strict today clearly never grew up in my household. I’m 25 years old and still get nervous when I have a drink because my parents made me think it was illegal to be drunk. They also made it seem like dating in high school was the end of the world and would derail your entire future.
Sure, there may be more parents out there today who impose strict rules on their kids, but let’s not pretend there weren’t strict parents when we were growing up.
This list is sure to give flashbacks to any and all of us who grew up with strict, albeit loving, parents.
1. “Can’t you just lie to them?”
Franky, it’s not an option, and we shouldn’t even be talking about lying because they’ll know. The thought of lying to my parents STILL gives me anxiety. I once lied to my mom and I sent a confession to my best friend and asked her to not think of me as a lesser person. That was two years ago. For some reason, our parents made us believe they could decipher every lie we told, so there was no point in trying. Did it raise us to be honest people? Yes. Did it mean we sweat like a whore in church when we fibbed? Also yes.
2. “You should pay hookey.”
Sorry, were you not listening when I said I couldn’t lie? Even if I was legitimately sick, my parents somehow convinced me I wasn’t and I ended up at school. Sick days were not an option. Playing hookey was not an option. I threw up in a hallway garbage can once and called myself “fine.” If Ron Howard narrated my life, he’d make it clear I was not fine.
3. “Just don’t tell them [boy’s name here] will also be there!”
My parents demanded a list of any and all people attending every gathering I was at. Even if they knew I was going out with the same group of friends I’d had since elementary school, I’d get the same follow-up question: “and that’s it?” Sure, it was probably all for my safety and because I was the baby (and admittedly, scarily naive). But it didn’t make it any less awkward to have to list off the same three friends over and over and over.
4. “You should really come out more.”
Oh trust me, I know. We were not allowed out on school nights, unless it was an activity or pre-approved event. If we were going somewhere after school, it would have to be confirmed the day before, and we were to be home before dinner at 5pm. Other than that, Fridays and Saturdays were your days to socialize. Enjoy them while you can.
5. “So we’ll meet at like, 7 or 8?”
Excuse me? On a weeknight? While it’s dark? Nope. At 7 or 8 I will be watching Reba reruns with my parents while I finish up my homework. Then it will be in bed by 9pm so I can be well-rested for my day tomorrow. People who were allowed to stay out till all hours of the night were mesmerizing to me.
6. “We should have a sleepover!”
Listen, we’ve only been friends for two months, and my parents won’t let me sleep at anyone’s house unless they’ve met them and their parents and run FBI-level background checks. And even then, it’s iffy. When I was at a new school, I met one of my good friends and she invited me to her birthday party, which was a sleepover. My parents wouldn’t let me stay over, so I was the only kid who got picked up after dinner and taken home. I was so cranky, but mainly because they hadn’t even had the cake yet and that was really the only reason I liked birthday parties.
7. “Oo! Let’s be spontaneous!”
This was the worst thing I could hear from my friends while we were already out. This was before the age of cellphones, and if I wasn’t waiting outside the movie theater at least five minutes before our agreed upon pick-up time, my parents would never let me out of the house again. There was no “just seeing where the night takes us.” There was just “sticking to the printed itinerary I handed my parents before I left the house.”
8. “Do you watch [popular show]?”
Probably not, if we’re being honest. Watching TV with my parents was like sitting on egg shells at all times. When an inappropriate joke was made or a relatively bad word was used, I had to pretend that I either didn’t understand the joke or didn’t hear what they said. I wasn’t allowed to watch The Simpsons because it was inappropriate. It was so ingrained in me that this show was “bad” that the opening notes of the theme song still give me a rush of adrenaline as I hurry to find the remote and change the channel.
9. The Joke-Turned-Lecture Conversation
A funny joke or story your heard about someone from school always turned into a lecture on responsibility. When I was a senior in high school, someone in my grade threw a party for her friends (one of which I was not) while her parents were out of town. The glass patio table shattered (among other damages) and the girl was hoping people would pitch in to pay for it. There was this guy who was totally in love with the girl (who was not invited to the party) and offered to pay for an entirely new patio table. I told my parents this, thinking they would find it funny. I was incorrect. It turned into “this is why you shouldn’t have parties and why you shouldn’t go to parties and why, in general, frivolity is bad.”
10. “Just tell them off!”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA NO FRIGGIN WAY HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA