OVER THE PAST 18 years, I've been told (and have told myself) that I have the strictest parents out of anyone I know. Of course now I have that wonderful thing called perspective, I know they were acting in my best interests. I may not have been able to do everything my friends did, but now I know that most of those things weren't as cool as they seemed.
The discipline started from as early as I could remember. In elementary school, we didn't have an "English Tele" (my and my brother's word for cable TV). All of my friends had cable, but my parents, acting like a very good PSA for standing up to peer pressure, didn't cave. Looking back, I kind of wish they hadn't ever relented, because 95% of the things I watch now are a waste of time.
Strangely enough, I was only ever really grounded once - but that lasted for the better part of four whole months. What'd I do? Well, I was caught not five minutes after I snuck out of the house in August, and I didn't get my privileges back until after Christmas. That swift and unyielding response showed me that the four hours I was planning to spend out of my house wasn't worth the treat that was waiting for me when I got home. My parents didn't mess around.
I remember my mom telling me the importance of structure in a kid's life, and I'm exhibit A. I can't remember a time where I was punished for something I didn't know was wrong. Everything was always clear punishment wise - this is why you're being punished - I just did it anyway.
From what I've thought about parenting, it seems to me that their main job (besides letting us live another day) is not letting us kids get ahead of ourselves. We want to stay up later, drink before it's legal, and do countless other things before common sense and science says we're ready. It's the parents' job to keep them from trying to act like an adult in 7th grade, because that wouldn't be pretty. I'm really glad to say my parents did a good job, even though at the time I wished they wouldn't be such good parents.