My Parents' Standards. Part 2 - Adolescence.

My teenaged years were the early to mid 1960's. My Bible-believing family was rather strict and "old fashioned" even by the standards of the time, and far more so by today's more permissive standards.

I was not permitted to wear makeup or perfume, and almost no jewelry. I was not permitted to listen to secular pop music. Pants of any kind were forbidden, only skirts and dresses allowed at all times. And I could not wear anything which showed off my figure too clearly. I was not permitted to leave our house and yard after dinner time without permission, and when permission was granted it was nearly always for a church or school function. My curfews were early, and were strictly enforced; that meant one minute late and I was in big trouble with Daddy. Just as when I was little, I was expected to obey my parents promptly the first time they told me to do something, and arguing back or "attitude" was not tolerated. I had plenty of chores I was responsible for, and was expected to keep my room tidy at all times.

Daddy laid down firm rules for me about my interactions with boys. Until I was sixteen the only "dates" I was permitted involved sitting on our porch together or else going to a movie or some other event with one or both of my parents or the boy's parents coming along with us. And at sixteen a date for me had to be at a church sponsored chaperoned event. I was permitted to hold hands with a boy if my parents had met him, knew his parents, and approved of him. But kissing a boy was positively forbidden unless and until he and I were engaged (which of course we never were at that age).

Needless to say, moral persuasion alone would never have been sufficient to keep under such tight control a girl yearning to spread her wings and experience the world in newer freer ways. There had to be strong consequences for openly breaking the rules or else I would have broken them. I remember being given restrictions and extra chores as discipline in my teen years, but usually this was done in addition to a spanking rather than instead of one.

Spankings continued to be my parents' preferred method of discipline until I left home, given with a hairbrush or clothes brush by my mother, or with his belt by my father. I resented being spanked in my teens in a way I hadn't resented it as a little girl. It was a childish form of discipline for a girl who hated to be treated like a child. But I was too well disciplined by my parents spankings to express openly to them any emotions which could have allowed my parents to realize how much their chastisements were hardening me towards them and distancing me from them in my heart, despite my outward stereotyped shows of affection.

On the surface, I was a "good girl," an exemplary young Christian with excellent school grades who loved the Lord and her country and her parents. My parents had no doubt that they were raising me right and that I was a credit to them. But my heart was full of darkness. I learned to lie skillfully to dodge their rules and to keep up proper appearances. I carefully planned and carried out ways to experiment with cigarettes and alcohol and forbidden books and forbidden boys with my parents rarely suspecting me and catching me almost never. I even lost my faith beginning in my mid teens and continuing for a number of years until I found my way back to the Lord as an adult - and all while living under my parents' roof I never told any adult about this. Every Sunday I put on a lacey frock and hair ribbon and attended church with my parents, going through all the motions of worship, and smiling and curtsying to all the required people afterwards. But it was all an empty act. My parents succeeded so well in keeping me under outward control, that they never realized how far I had truly strayed from them.

When I went off to college suddenly all of the freedom of adulthood was mine, with no Daddy around to make me lift my skirts in back bend over the arm of our sofa for a licking whenever I did exactly as I pleased. But I'd had no experience learning to conduct myself as a grownup and handle freedom responsibly in gradual stages, (as I think is proper for adolescents). My parents had controlled and disciplined me like a child, and in some ways, I was immature for my age as a result. I committed some errors which still pain me to think about and did a lot of foolish things which I don't believe I would have done if I had been permitted gradually greater freedom over time as a teen to make my mistakes in safer contexts.

Some would say that the problem was my parents' too strict rules and too tight control, rather than the fact that they still spanked me when I was a teenager. But only spankings could have made me conform outwardly to such strict rules, so one required the other. Spankings also caused resentment in me, and made me more distant from my parents during a time of life in which I would have done far better to confide in them if only I had felt safe doing that. Spankings also instilled fear in me, which is what they are intended to do. But they instilled fear at an age when I needed to feel safe enough to express feelings and thoughts which I knew would bring disapproval from my parents. As a result I was left to wrestle with certain kinds of spiritual crises and temptations alone without my parents guidance because I feared getting into trouble if I told them.
margaret3 margaret3
66-70, F
3 Responses Aug 28, 2013

Fantastic account thanks so much for writing. I understand your feelings completely.
Po

my wife is christian pakistan her father pastoor in lahore she eldest 8 children she born in 1973 she have onlu 2 spanking her life 6 and 7 years after her father prefere speak and she good educated many of her muslim friend are spank with belt now they integrist

My mother wasn't quite as much into outward religiosity but still ruled firmly. I managed to rebel inwardly, like you, but there was never resentment of her as a person. I found some of her rules and ideas wrong when I hit my mid-teens but I believed that she had a right to set the rules in the house.