9 things you don’t realize you’re doing because you grew up with strict parents

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Growing up with strict parents can have a lasting impact, and you might not even realize it.

You see, when your folks run a tight ship, certain habits and behaviors become so ingrained that you carry them into adulthood, often without knowing it.

In this article, we’ll dive into those unconscious habits that stem from a rigid upbringing. From the way you handle conflict to how you view authority, these are the subtle signs that your parents’ strict rules are still influencing your life.

Stay tuned, because some of these might just surprise you.

1) Over-preparation

Remember those times when your parents would insist you double, or even triple-check your work? That habit might have stuck with you.

In the adult world, this often translates into a tendency to over-prepare. Whether it’s an important meeting, a trip, or even a casual dinner with friends, you find yourself planning and preparing for every possible scenario.

While this can sometimes be beneficial (who doesn’t appreciate being ready for anything?), it can also lead to unnecessary stress. It’s okay to let go a little and embrace the unexpected.

Recognizing this tendency is a first step towards finding a balance between being prepared and being overly anxious. Remember, not everything in life needs a plan B… or C… or D.

2) Apologizing too much

I’ve noticed something about myself that I never really connected to my upbringing until recently.

I apologize… a lot. For things that aren’t even my fault.

A friend arrives late because of traffic? I say sorry.

Someone bumps into me at the store? Again, I’m the one apologizing.

I realized this excessive apologizing stems from my strict upbringing. Growing up, I was often blamed for things to ensure I maintained a high level of discipline.

The result? An adult who’s too quick to take on guilt and apologize.

It’s a habit I’m now consciously trying to break, understanding that saying sorry too much can actually diminish its meaning. It’s still a work in progress, but recognizing it is an important first step.

If this sounds familiar, know that it’s okay to reserve your apologies for when you’re genuinely at fault.

3) Difficulty with spontaneity

Growing up with strict parents often means living under a set of rules and a rigid schedule.

Dinner time, homework time, even leisure time – all are planned and structured. This upbringing can make it challenging for you to cope with spontaneity as an adult.

Research has shown that children brought up in a highly structured environment may find it hard to deal with unexpected changes or unplanned events later in life.

So if you always need a plan, struggle with last-minute changes, or feel anxious about surprise events, this could be a sign of your strict upbringing still influencing your behavior.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing, but learning to embrace a little unpredictability can add some exciting and refreshing moments to your life.

4) Seeking approval

When your parents set high standards, it’s natural to strive to meet them. But this can morph into a need for constant approval, which you might carry into adulthood without even realizing it.

You might find yourself working tirelessly to please your boss, going out of your way to make your partner happy, or even bending over backwards for friends. While it’s great to be considerate, it’s important to remember that your worth isn’t defined by others’ approval.

Recognizing this pattern is the first step towards breaking free from the need for constant validation. You’re valuable, and you don’t need someone else’s approval to prove it.

5) Perfectionism

Strict parents often demand the best from their children, whether it be in academics, sports, or other activities. This can instill a sense of perfectionism that persists into adulthood.

You might find yourself striving for flawless execution in everything you do, from your career to your personal life. Although this drive can lead to high achievements, it may also result in unnecessary stress and burnout.

It’s important to understand that making mistakes is not only okay but also an essential part of growth. Perfection isn’t attainable, and it’s the pursuit of continual improvement that truly counts.

6) Difficulty expressing emotions

Growing up with strict parents can sometimes mean that emotional expression is stifled.

It’s the old “children should be seen and not heard” approach. This can lead to difficulty in expressing emotions as an adult.

If you grew up in such a household, you might find it hard to open up to others about your feelings. You might keep things bottled up until they burst, or perhaps you downplay your emotions, dismissing them as unimportant.

Please realize that it’s okay to feel and express emotions. They’re what make us human, after all.

It’s perfectly okay to let people know when you’re hurt, upset, or even incredibly happy. Your feelings matter, and sharing them can lead to stronger, more intimate relationships.

7) Struggle with self-care

There’s a habit I’ve found hard to break, and it’s putting myself last.

I’d often spend so much time worrying about others and their needs that I’d neglect my own. A full day could pass without me eating properly or taking a moment to relax.

It was only after years of this pattern that I realized its roots lay in my strict upbringing.

My parents prioritized discipline and achievement over self-care, and this skewed perception carried into my adulthood.

If this resonates with you, it’s time to start prioritizing self-care. It’s not selfish; it’s essential.

Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. It’s okay – necessary, even – to take care of yourself.

8) High levels of anxiety

Living under strict rules and high expectations can result in a heightened sense of anxiety.

This can manifest itself in various ways, such as a constant worry about making mistakes or an intense fear of failure.

You might find yourself overthinking the smallest decisions, or you may struggle with feeling perpetually on edge for no apparent reason. This anxiety is often rooted in the fear instilled during a strict upbringing.

Acknowledging this is the first step towards managing the anxiety.

Seek help when needed, practice relaxation techniques, and remember: it’s okay not to be perfect. The goal is to be happy, not perfect.

9) A strong sense of responsibility

If there’s one thing that stands out in those of us who grew up with strict parents, it’s a strong sense of responsibility. We were often held accountable for our actions at a young age, which has shaped us into reliable and dependable adults.

While this is a positive trait, it can sometimes become overwhelming.

It’s crucial to remember that you can’t control everything, and it’s okay to ask for help. After all, we’re only human, and we’re doing the best we can.

Final thoughts: It’s all part of the journey

The impact of our upbringing on our adult life is profound. The behaviors and habits we develop from strict parenting don’t just disappear when we grow up; they become a part of who we are.

However, it’s essential to remember that these traits aren’t necessarily negative. Yes, they may pose challenges, but they also shape us into resilient, responsible, and disciplined individuals.

Understanding the link between our upbringing and our current behavior is a crucial step in personal growth. It allows us to address any unhelpful patterns and cultivate those that serve us well.

Growing up with strict parents has made you who you are today – embrace it, learn from it, and remember: we are all works in progress. The journey of self-discovery and development doesn’t end; it evolves. And that’s the beauty of being human.

Lost Your Sense of Purpose?

In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.

Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.

Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.

With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.

Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.

 

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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