Gen Zs on What It Was Like Growing Up in Strict Households and How It Affected Their ~Adulting~

Can you relate?

Sure, we laughingly look back at the memories of sneaking out or weaving white lies, but growing up under such watchful eyes could leave a lasting mark.

Related: Here Are Small Steps to Building Better Habits

Disclaimer: In this article, we have utilized pseudonyms to safeguard the privacy of the Gen Zs who generously shared their insights with us. These names have been chosen arbitrarily and do not correspond to their actual identities.

For Gen Z, tiptoeing around the confines of strict households has been a defining rite of passage. From curfews tighter than Cinderella’s to the weight of academic expectations, the firm hand of our parents has shaped our lives in more ways than we ever bargained for.

So, we decided to hear out the voices of Gen Zs who’ve weathered the storm of strict parenting, to glean insights into its lasting effects on their ~adulting~ habits. After all, most of us have been there, done that, and can totally relate to everyone’s experiences.

Almond Mom

“While memes about almond moms are funny to me, growing up with parents who were strict about how much I ate was freaking frustrating. And their encouraging eating habits wasn’t even healthy because their idea of a balanced diet isn’t balanced at all. As I got older, I remember sneaking snacks when I could or overeating when I had the chance. It created a toxic relationship with food where I felt guilty for indulging, and I’m also overly conscious about my size, even though I’m actually all bones at the moment.” – Cyrene, 20

Courses and College Life

“Growing up with such strict parents who didn’t allow me to attend my dream college and pursue my dream program was tough, to say the least. It felt like a door slamming shut on my dreams of becoming a fashion designer, leaving me feeling disappointed and somewhat resentful.

And now that I’m an adult, I find myself facing challenges that stem from the limitations imposed by my parents’ choices. I struggle with my current subjects, and I can only imagine working in the medical field with no passion for it. It’s a constant battle between honoring my parents’ wishes and following my own heart, but what can I do about it? I owe so much to those who are paying my tuition fees.” – Cassandra, 23

For Support, Please Don’t Dial Mom

“I am so proud to call myself a content creator. I get to travel, be creative, and meet like-minded people who are now my friends. Sure, deciding to drop out of college wasn’t the conventional route, but it’s hands down one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. What’s heartbreaking, though, is still seeing my parents’ disappointment because they don’t think of it as a ‘real job.’ While I no longer seek their validation, my fear of failure is constantly causing me anxiety. Like, twice a day I’ll ask myself, ‘What if they’re right?’” – Maddie, 21

My Stylist? My Mom

“I recall countless debates with my mom over skirt lengths, sleeve styles, and even the colors I chose to wear. What’s worse is we already had a dress code at school; I just kept on wishing we didn’t have one at home. I guess it simply affected me in a way that I still don’t know my personal style, while everyone else already has their aesthetics. Now that I’m thinking about it, I think it also affected my decision-making too! It’s like I can still hear my mom’s judgmental voice whenever I’m shopping for clothes or getting ready in the morning.” – Chin, 25

Social Skills and Missing Out

“My parents had a knack for RSVP-ing on my behalf. I wasn’t allowed to attend parties or social events unless they were school-related, which often meant missing out on A LOT. Don’t get me wrong; I understand their intentions to protect me from alcohol and bad influences, but it hindered my ability to form connections outside of the family circle. To this day, I still struggle with social interactions and asserting myself in new situations—it’s like I’m always in awkward mode.” – Mark, 23

Trying New Things

“My parents weren’t the most strict, per se, but they didn’t let me experience many things on my own, which now gives me a bit of anxiety when I try them (and then, for some reason, they’re shocked when they ask me if I’ve done this or that and find out I, in fact, have not). I grew up pretty sheltered, and while I’m pretty well-adjusted now, it’s made it harder for me to navigate everything from failure to communicating my feelings to trying new things on my own.” – Monique, 23

Continue Reading: It’s Not About Rejecting, But Here Are All the Reasons Why You Should Say ‘No’