An insight to growing up with strict, foreign parents.

Having Strict, Foreign Parents is a struggle, but i am grateful for their encouragement and support

A sneak peak into the childhood of a girl with incredibly strict foreign parents.

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The childhoods of each and every individual differ from family to family, if not individual to individual. Some parents are stricter, some are more lenient, and some just don't care. On top of that, you have the in-between parents: strict on some things, lenient on others, and just don't care about the rest.

As for my childhood, I grew up in an incredibly strict family. Both of my parents came over to the United State in their late 20s and were not caught up on the American's lifestyle. Growing up, I resented my parents a lot for the opportunities I was forced to miss out on. For example, my dad never, ever, EVER let me sleep over at anyone's house. People could sleepover at mine but I could never sleep over at theirs. I was always that one child at birthday parties whose parent had to come pick them up while everyone else got to keep on having fun. If I even dared to ask if I could sleep over, my dad would go into a rage and yell at me.

In elementary school, my dad would always yell at me for getting "Bs" on my report cards. He refused to believe that Bs were a good grade, choosing to believe instead that I was doing badly in school. This resulted in spankings, him taking away TV time, and constant berating to do better. Even up to high school, both my mom and dad still believe that a B is a bad grade. One time back in fourth grade, I had straight Bs on a report card and my dad made me get a tutor for the next two years.

On top of this, my parents barely ever let me leave the house. They would rarely let me play outside in front of the house because they weren't able to watch me. If kids in my neighborhood asked if I could play, the answer was usually no. As I got older, kids would invite me to hang out or go to birthday parties and my dad would never let me go. I would attempt to ask and he would never give me an answer. I would be waiting three days for a response from him and even then, it was usually no.

In middle school, my dad refused to let me shave my legs. Even up until high school, my dad refused to let me, stating that it was bad and that I didn't need to. It felt incredibly embarrassing to basically be the only girl in school with hairy legs! My dad was also pretty against the idea of me wearing makeup, even at the great old age of 18!

During my time in high school, my dad never let me skip school. Only when I was sick would he let me and even then, only with a doctor's note, if even. Upon completing middle school, I won an award for perfect attendance all three years of middle school! I really wish that was an achievement I could be happy about.

Furthermore, my parents are total workaholics. They work seven days a week from 8:30 AM to 7 PM. This meant a plethora of missed doctor's appointments, missed dentist's appointments, and a bunch of my soccer, lacrosse, and cheerleading games that they never went to. It hurts to say that throughout the three years of sports I did in high school, my parents never went to a single one. While growing up, I definitely resented this and felt that they didn't care about me. Looking back, however, I understand how important making an income to support the family is. I respect them for their dedication to work and ensuring that we were taken care of.

My childhood seems to be more of things that I wasn't allowed to do than things that I was actually able to do.

However, on the bright side, when I turned sixteen, I got a job. As a result, my dad actually became less strict (barely). I was eventually able to begin to do more stuff. However, there are still certain things my dad refuses to let me do. This includes sleeping over, being out after 11:30 PM, and going out of town with friends. Despite the fact that I am now nineteen-years-old and turning twenty in four months, I am still yet to be able to do many of those things.

However, despite the resent I may or may not hold toward my dad, I can still admit that I had an incredibly great childhood. I was always fed and full, I had a bed to sleep on, a house to sleep in, and toys to play with. My parents, despite their faults, pushed me to be the best person and student I could be. Without them, I never would have graduated summa cum laude and made it as a student at Florida State University. I hope to one day be as hardworking as both of my parents.

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Blocking Toxic Family Members Can Be Just What You Needed

It isn't an easy choice but it can be the most rewarding.

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I haven't written for the Odyssey in quite some time due to this large issue in my life that I feel some people may also need to hear. Watching your parents go through a divorce can be difficult in itself, but what about having to remove one of your parents from your life at the same time? It's something I don't think many people could imagine doing. However, sometimes you are forced into the position between choosing what is best for your mental health or what is expected of you. For me, I realized that I needed to put myself first.

I realized that I am my own person. How I present myself and how I act and what I choose to believe in is how the world perceives me. I was faced with a parent who did not let me be who I am. The way I thought had to be in line with theirs. What I openly spoke about had to be in line with that parent's thoughts. This also, in turn, meant I had to revolve how I was perceived to the world around that parent's family. I had to abide by these societal norms and do what someone else expected of me. I realized that was ludicrous.

This parent was also abusive. They were toxic and manipulative and I could not stand idly by and just take that from them while also trying to become an independent young adult. I was forced to sit and watch one of my parents transform into someone I didn't recognize anymore. I had to watch them ignore any kind of reality checks and continue to feign innocence. I watched one of my parents mentally manipulate people I once called family into believing lies. I kept my head down and shut my mouth and kept taking the abuse. Now I'm at a point where I can confidently say that I am no longer afraid.

I was forced to cut ties with a parent that raised me, cared for me, attended school functions, fixed toys, bought me my first phone. I was forced to chuck out priceless memories for my own sanity. I could not sit idly by and allow myself to endure one more second of lies or abuse. I had to stand up for myself for once in my life and I blocked most of my family. I blocked cousins, aunts, uncles, and godparents. I changed my phone number that I had since 6th grade. I gave no warning and disappeared from my family's lives. Do I have regrets? No. I would do it again if I had to because I am so much stronger than sitting there and taking it.

I will have one less parent at my college graduation, which I am fighting so hard to achieve. I will have one less parent at my wedding. My future children will have one less grandparent. I mope in these thoughts but then I have to remember the other side of things. I will not have an unsupportive parent at my graduation and instead will have those that were there every step of the way. I will lack someone who was toxic at my wedding. My future children will never have to face the same abusive, toxic situations that my parent put me through. It was a difficult decision to make but one that I know in my heart is worthwhile.

Cutting a family member out of your life is difficult enough but cutting a parent is unimaginable. However, no one deserves to go through abusive situations. It shouldn't matter who the person is; if someone is treating you less than you deserve to be treated, they have no use being in your life. You should always be your first priority. You should never have to endure something for the sake of others. I am here to tell you that you are more than that and that cutting out a family member could actually be the best thing for you, even if it's incredibly difficult. I did it and I'm still here. It made me realize who my real family was, and there will never be enough thank you's in the world to show my mother just how much I appreciate her.

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