I noticed, growing up, that my ever-changing groups of friends were allowed to do a lot. They got to sleep over at anyone's houses they chose, got to go to every home and away sports game, got to walk around at night past curfew, etc.
At that age, I complained that I was never that privileged. I asked to sleep over at someone's house every weekend and usually got a "no", went to only a handful of sports games (mostly home), and didn't leave the house past eight o'clock unless one of my parents was with me.
Back then, I never understood how I could be any different compared to any of my friends. Why couldn't I do the things they could? Why couldn't I have more freedom? Why did I go to my first movie "by myself" at the age of 13, but my parents still just sat outside the theatre the whole time?
Being older and wiser, I know that my parents just cared about me.
They cared about my wellbeing and didn't want me making the mistakes that they made. Of course they wanted to know the parents of whoever I was hanging out with. They wanted to know where I was at all times, since I was a minor. They also wanted me to spend time at home.
I had older parents who graduated in the 1970s, so their morals and traditions meant more than the more modern parent. But their restrictions made me better.
While I did break out of my shy little shell in college, I also held myself to a higher standard when it came to high-pressure situations. My parents helped me realize that I had to stand my ground and fight for what I believe in, and arguing with them about what I can and cannot do really helped that (despite the fact that it got me nowhere).
I also knew how to set limits for myself and I realized that I didn't have to be everywhere. That was my problem growing up. I wanted to go everywhere and socialize, but my parents forced me to stay in with them. This lead to many hours of introspection. So I ended up knowing myself way better than I thought I ever would. Thus, I benefitted more than I thought I would.
Don't get me wrong, I still got to socialize. I still got to adventure and explore situations that everyone should. Some were kept secret from my parents, still to this day, but I've experienced my fair share of growing pains.
There are a lot of arguments that I definitely regret, but I know now that my parents just had my back. If my parents didn't care, they would've let me run everywhere without rhyme or reason and would never want to know where I was. I'm thankful for the lessons that their strictness taught me, but I only have one final complaint...