At one time or another, all of us have felt that our parents were too strict. We don’t comprehend their rules, or feel as if they don’t understand us, and generally experience feelings of angst and frustration over what we are and are not allowed to do.
While this can be a really challenging place to be, there are a few things we can keep in mind that can help us navigate these waters a bit more easily. Everyone’s circumstances and family dynamics are different, so not everything I share here may prove applicable to your specific situation. But because we see the question of how to deal with strict parents asked frequently in our Project Inspired Facebook group, I thought I’d give it a go and hopefully encourage you with something I share.
1. Understand what is and is not “strict.”
As frustrating as it can feel to be in a situation wherein you believe your parents are too strict, the first thing you need to do is at least attempt to think objectively about what they are expecting of you. Ask yourself if there is any validity to what they’re saying. Is their house rule exceedingly strict, or is it fair but you just don’t want to follow it? What you’re going to have to do is become a diligent student of the Word. Search the Scriptures and see if there is any biblical support for what your parents are saying. If so, you may still not like their stance, but they aren’t actually being too “strict.” They are simply taking seriously the responsibility they have been given to raise you well.
2. Make an appeal.
If what your parents are asking of you is actually above and beyond what you find laid out in Scripture, it could be that it’s time to plead your case to them. In order for that conversation to go the best it can, you’ll want to make sure you have it at a time when you can refrain from being super emotional about the situation. Just be point blank with them and as logical as possible. If you would find a face-to-face conversation like that to be too hard, write them a note instead.
3. Honor them as much as possible.
There is a principle found in 1 Peter 3 that I think could also be applicable to this situation, and that is that honor and respect go a long way in hard circumstances like this. Your respect will show your parents the level of maturity you possess and that you have a good head on your shoulders. While we are not called to always obey our parents as we get older and become adults, we are always called to honor and respect them.
4. Pray for wisdom.
If you have sought the Lord’s truth, made an appeal, been honoring and respectful, and you and your parents are still at an impasse, you need to go before the Lord in prayer and ask for wisdom (James 1:5). Take heart; He won’t leave you in a place of confusion!
5. Realize that while you remain under their roof, you will need to abide by their rules.
As hard as it may be, if nothing changes in your heart or in your parents’ hearts throughout this whole process and you still feel as if they’re being too strict, pray and ask God to give you the strength and love to submit yourself to your parents’ wishes.
Alternatively, if you have already graduated school and are of age, and the situation is just too bad, pray and ask God whether or not it’s now time to move out. If that is not yet an option, but emotions are running high at home, find ways to busy yourself so you’re not always at home, but instead beginning to form a life of your own. This could look like going to school, getting a job, taking a class, becoming involved in a ministry, volunteering somewhere, babysitting or being a nanny, etc.
Being on the cusp of adulthood and yet still struggling with having parents who are unwilling to extend to you the independence you feel you’re ready for is very challenging. But take heart—you are never alone and never left to fend for yourself. The Lord will lead you and guide you through this time of transition and change, and will work in your heart as well as in the hearts of your parents if He is allowed to do so. No situation is hopeless when Christ is your focus!