How you were raised has a major impact on how you turn out in life.
Growing up with strict parents is one of those experiences that can only be lived, not explained.
When you have an authority figure telling you what to do and what not to do from an early age, your psychology is formed in a much different direction than those raised in a freer, lax environment.
Being raised by strict parents has its share of disadvantages, but it can also have advantages, too.
Let’s dive in and take a look at the unique traits of those who were raised by strict parents.
1) They have trouble with self-control
When someone has parents who tell them what to do and what lines not to cross, they learn to obey.
That’s especially true when the consequences of not listening are severe.
The result is that this individual often has issues with self-control, because they never really had to decide for themselves growing up.
Their parents made the tough calls for them and enforced the boundaries when they screwed up.
Once they’re out of that environment in adolescence or adulthood, it becomes harder to exercise voluntary self-control.
2) They struggle with self-esteem
Those who grew up with parents on the very strict side often struggle with self-esteem.
Parents who establish firm boundaries is one thing, but when strictness becomes overly harsh and controlling it can do real damage to a child.
What we’re told at a young age sinks in very deep.
Those raised by extremely strict parents often absorb a message that they are not good enough, or that they need to satisfy a number of conditions before being acceptable or sufficient.
3) They may become very strict on others
Children tend to mirror what they see and experience.
This is exactly why teachers who have a problem with a bully often try to inquire about the bully’s situation at home.
More often than not, spousal abuse, aggressive parenting or toxic behavior is going on at home and in the family.
If somebody is raised by very strict parents, they quite often become very strict themselves.
This doesn’t have to be a negative thing, of course, but if the strictness is overly harsh then it certainly can be on the toxic side.
4) They have difficulty trusting others
When boundaries are enforced by force from a young age, people tend to grow up with trust issues.
They’re used to promises and threats being backed up by action, and they have difficulty trusting voluntary commitments and relationships.
When the lines aren’t firmly drawn, they may test the boundaries or doubt somebody’s word.
This is one of the unfortunate aspects of somebody raised in a very strict environment is that they sometimes have difficulty adjusting to life in a less strict and more voluntary environment.
5) They adopt a passive attitude towards life
Difficulty in trusting isn’t the only downside to being raised by very strict parents.
These individuals may also become quite passive, which relates back to the first point.
Similarly to how they often have difficulty exercising self-control, the product of a strict household often has difficulty self-motivating.
They are used to being told what to do and what not to do.
When that force relaxes itself or they move out of home or away from that influence, they tend to become quite passive.
They do what’s required at work or whatever seems “normal,” but the idea of self-starting has often been extinguished by an early focus on doing what they’re told rather than following their own inspiration and ideas.
6) They have a tendency to anger and depression
Because of how strictness can create feelings of unworthiness or only having value when you “earn” it, those raised in a very strict environment often struggle with feelings of anger and depression.
They feel they’re not good enough and get down about that, then get angry about the cycle they get locked in when life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere.
It’s a sad cycle to witness, and it often reflects unresolved issues in the strict parents themselves who had difficulty giving their progeny the basic freedom and respect they deserved due to a need for control or feeling powerful.
Look at these children of harshly strict parents…
Famous children who had strict parents reflect some of their tough raising in their later life.
- Vincent Van Gogh (1853-1890)
The painter struggled with the lack of affection and acceptance of his parents, who did not value his talent and considered him strange.
His strict parents didn’t kill his creativity or artistic spirit, but van Gogh continued to have difficulty forming relationships in his life and with communicating his emotions.
This was a problem van Gogh struggled with more broadly, as well, being regarded nowadays as likely suffering from bipolar disorder.
- Franz Kafka (1883-1924)
Czech writer Franz Kafka grew up under the strict oversight of his father Hermann who was widely reported as domineering and authoritarian.
In letters about his experiences, Kafka talked about the pain of not feeling valued by his dad and having such firm boundaries everywhere he turned growing up.
- Michael Jackson (1958-2009)
Michael Jackson’s father Joe was very strict on him growing up. He allegedly bullied and insulted Michael on numerous occasions, provoking and mocking him mercilessly.
After becoming a star later in his life, Michael broke off communications and relations with his father.
Despite these tragic stories of parents who went too far, not everything about strict parents is bad.
In fact, I think there’s a tendency to miss some of the advantages of having firm boundaries growing up.
Now on the more positive side…
7) They are more freethinking and curious about life
Many children of strict parents have very curious and freethinking minds.
The more that’s stifled in childhood, the more it becomes energized and blooms later in life.
As a result, those raised very strictly will often have a rebellious streak where they begin to question authority.
Even though the tendency to only do what’s necessary is there, some children of strict parents push back against this and do their best to find their own soundtrack.
8) They have the opportunity to channel their anger, anxiety and frustration
Those who grow up with very strict parents sometimes mirror it and just become very controlling themselves.
But others sit with these difficult emotions and realize that any harshness used against them is not their fault.
In the frustration of being herded and treated like an object, they find a positive side to the externally-imposed discipline:
The positive side is the ability to channel their own anger and anxiety into self-discipline instead of needing instructions and encouragement to come from the outside.
9) They walk a unique path to find their own inner motivation
As mentioned earlier, it’s sometimes hard for those who grew up under very strict parenting to find their own motivation.
But that doesn’t mean none of these individuals find it!
In fact, it just means that the path to get there is sometimes a bit tougher and that the result is usually much more authentic.
Those who push through their conditioning become incredibly charismatic and powerful.
When somebody has to discover their own motivation outside of just being told what to do and push back against that, they end up becoming much more authentic.
10) They have introspective and reflective tendencies
In addition to the potential for a rebellious streak and to be freethinking, those who grew up under strict guidance tend to be quite reflective.
When they were younger, their world and its limits were strictly enforced.
But their inner world only grew.
We can see how many children of strict parents became highly creative later in life and accomplished amazing things.
The human spirit is always stronger than outer conditioning, and talents eventually shine through even when others don’t understand them.