Why I Kind of Liked Being Raised by Strict Parents

I put “kinda” in the title because, well, it did suck too. Anyone that is raised by immigrant parents most likely can relate. I wasn’t allowed to play any sports. I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my friends for more than a couple hours. When I was a kid, I wasn’t even allowed to play in my own backyard. My dad constantly said to us that our friends weren’t really our friends and it didn’t matter. Almost always never allowed to go to friend’s parties, even if it was their birthday. Grades were more important than life itself. And of course, absolutely, NO boyfriend. If I wasn’t at school, I was at home or occasionally out with my parents, nowhere else. I could go on and on. 

Because of the strict rules my parents set up, of course I went through a rebellious phase. I became the best liar. In high school, “being at the library” meant I was probably at a cafe with my friends. “At my dance club” was hanging out with then my secret boyfriend. My parents worked nights, so as soon as they left for work, my sister and I were both free. Looking back at those moments makes me laugh because it really was a struggle to avoid my parents knowing. Sometimes I would get caught, but that’s a whole other story to tell another day. 

My parents were both born and raised in the Philippines. My dad’s family came to America for a better life and my mom soon followed. Together they made two incredible daughters, my older sister Stacy and myself. 

Me and my sister grew up comfortably. We grew up in a good neighborhood, went to good schools and had a fairly large house. I didn’t appreciate any of those things. Instead, I held onto inconveniences that seemed like such a big deal to me when I was younger, but now is the most miniscule trauma. 

I realize now how hard my parents worked for us to live such a comfortable and successful life in this country. Although some rules were taken to the extreme, some were good life lessons. My dad telling us that our friends didn’t matter made me so upset, but as I grew up, he was right. Friends come and go but at the end of the day, you always have family. Restricting having relationships was to have us focus on school and to protect us from heartbreak. Enforcing good grades as the number one priority was to ensure a foundation of good work ethic as I went further into my education. Everything they did was to protect us, teach us how to protect ourselves and for our future. My mom still continues to tell me, “it’s not for us, but for your future.”

My future is now. I would never change my childhood for anything. I think that growing up with strict household rules and having that rebellious stage, was key for molding who I am now. I’m mature enough now to finally take all my life experiences and use them to be the best version of myself I can be. I can never repay my parents in the same way they did for me, but I can sure as hell spend the rest of my life making sure my parents did their justice.