I was raised in a loving family. I had plenty of siblings, aunts and I visited my grandparents on a regular basis. My family was a protective factor and everything I did encompassed family life.
My parents were divorced when I was young and I lived with my Dad during my formative years. I love both of my parents dearly, but my Dad was everything to me, we had a special relationship, but he was strict. However, I believe that I had a softening effect on him because we used to talk about so much and it helped us understand each other.
When I was a teenager, naturally, I wanted to do what my friends were doing. I could visit friends within reasonable hours, but I had to be home at a certain time. I wanted to go out until late, attend parties and sleep over at friend’s houses, but I was not allowed. This caused a bone of contention between me and my Dad because I believed he was being unfair. I did not understand why he would not allow me to go out. My attitude was that if my friend’s parents thought it was ok, why is my Dad behaving like this? I recall going to school and listening to friends talk about what happened on the evenings and weekends when I was stuck at home, seasoning chicken and learning to cook Jamaican food when I didn’t even see the point because I was happy eating cornflakes for the rest of my life.
Life Is Not Fair
I remember, one day my Dad said to me “why don’t your friends come around here instead of you wanting to go out all the time”. I am not sure if this was a coincidence, but two boys from the community had knocked my door asking me to come out. I invited them in the house because my Dad did say my friends should come round more.
We sat in the ‘special living room’ (most traditional Jamaican homes had one). I was 14 at the time and my step-mum peeped through the door and disappeared. She obviously told my Dad I had boys in the house. My Dad came down shortly and threw them out. It was an extremely embarrassing episode of my life because everyone heard about it. I was crying, I wanted to be like the other teenagers, free to do as they pleased. I just wanted to understand why I could not go out until late? Why could I not have boys over? but the answer was always “YOU ARE NOT ALLOWED”. At this point I had to accept, I was not like the other kids. I felt like my life was a prison sentence. I used to write letters to my friends with a make shift stamp of me in prison. At that time, I thought I hated my Dad because he was so strict.
Fast forward years later and I escaped the watchful eyes of my Dad and decided to live the life I thought I wanted, but I quickly learned that everything I was warned about was 100% reality. Don’t get me wrong, I had some fun, but at what expense? I managed to turn my life around with two children in tow, but what’s funny, is that I raise my children in the same way I was raised, strict.
My daughter is 16 and she could not dream of being on the street, going to parties every weekend, getting nails done like her friends, she must wear her own hair and season chicken just like I had to, because she is not allowed! I don’t believe I am being unreasonable, but I refused to rush her into adulthood. We have a good relationship and I share my logic with her and to be fair, she is content being at home.
In my view there is plenty of time for the world, there’s no reason to push our children out there. The world can be such a horrible place, but the comfort of your family and the values we are raised with us stick with us for life.
I am so grateful for my upbringing and I am thankful for my parents. My life is far from perfect, but I am balanced with good perspective on life.
Do you think that strict parenting yield better children? What’s your view?