My parents only allow me 30 minutes of time on my phone. Also, I had to do math over the summer, even though I'm already 2 grades ahead (according to them it will make life easier). Along with that, my mom tries to pressure me into joining IB. Also sometimes I feel depressed, but my dad says it is a choice and tells me "don't be depressed". They also say depression is caused by watching TV/YouTube. Also, I can only play video games on the weekends.

Also, my parents have many signs of strict and some signs of toxic parents: Strict Parents – 10 Signs & What’s Wrong With Them and Toxic Parents: How To Identify Them And What To Do If It’s Your Family.

Along with that, my mom wants me to "push myself" and join math and science club, even though it will make me look like a nerd. Also they are confused why I want to fit in and say to be different(usually about math). Along with that, they check my grades and check every assignment and make me show them what I've done (e.g. if I have a late homework, my dad will make me show him the email I sent to to teacher). They also get mad at me for watching YouTube when I need a break from schoolwork. Along with that, they got mad over a B in a math test, and when I tried to bypass my phone restrictions, my dad always takes my phone away for a while. Also they keep comparing me to other kids like my little brother or kids at my old school. Also, that's not even half of it probably. What should I do?

  • 6
    Hey Ethan, how old are you? and from what country? such information would help answering this question.
    – A.bakker
    Sep 12, 2023 at 7:21
  • Also they are confused why I want to fit in and say to be different. I bet they wouldn't say that if you responded "All right, I'll get a Mohican haircut, a nose ring, and wear a pink tutu to school. Is that different enough?". Note: this is sympathy, not advice. Sep 13, 2023 at 12:20
  • I am 14 and live in the US Sep 19, 2023 at 4:03

2 Answers 2


There is so much stuff here that it's very difficult to given an exhaustive, coherent answer. I'll try to split it up into the main topics.

Limiting screen time

It's a pretty well established fact that excessive time spent watching TV and using computers/phones has negative effects on the development of kids, and that these are addictive so that most kids will use them excessively if allowed to.

That being said, a 30 minutes per day limit is quite low, appropriate for small children. Presumably you are a teenager, and you should be generally able to decide what you do with your free time. You'll be an adult pretty soon, and you'll need to self-regulate and avoid addictive things on your own eventually. Maybe this is how you can convince your parents to be more lenient (in this and other things): tell them they need to let you manage your own time and your own tasks to some degree, so you can learn to do that. But trying to bypass restrictions is not the right way to do it.


Depression is serious shit. It can make people kill themselves. You write "sometimes I feel depressed" which some people say when they just temporarily feel sad or hate their life. Those are things that you can do something about (even if it's not easy) and which will eventually pass. But clinical depression has to be treated differently. Read Hyperbole and a Half - that is depression. If that really sounds familiar to you, then you need professional help. Talk to a doctor.

In either case, your dad's reaction ("it's a choice") is absolutely shitty and unhelpful. Sorry for that.

As for "depression is caused by watching TV/youtube", there's a kernel of truth to that, but really only with certain kinds of content (influencers displaying artificially perfect lives, causing body image issues and similar in their folloers), which doesn't sound relevant in your case.

School work and achievements

You parents are right that school is important, math is important, you should finish assignments, and this will probably make your life easier in the future (at minimum it gives you more options). You are wrong to dismiss this for fear of "looking like a nerd".

Where they aren't right is that it's not the only thing that's important. Having a social life is also important - and a basic human need. That as well will make your life easier in the future, social skills are as important as intellectual ones. They are wrong to dismiss your desire to "fit in". And they are wrong to try and force you into extracurricular activities without taking your needs into account.

What you can do about "strict" parents

Your parents clearly think they are doing all this in your best interest, even though some of their methods may be counterproductive. They are focusing too much on superficial goals and too little on preparing you to be an independant person who achieves things for your own benefit rather than because they tell you so.

Your best hope of success is to start an adult conversation where you acknowledge their goals for you, but demand that they also acknowledge your goals and needs. And for that you need to think about what your goals are. If you want them to take you seriously, you have to show them that you're not just complaining about being made to do your school assignments or getting your phone taken away, but that you're ready to take on responsibility for your own life. And then you can talk about what are reasonable expectations on their side what you should do, and on your side how much free time you need to relax and how to spend it.

See also my answer here for a quite similar question: How strict can my parents be about my studying?

  • 5
    While OP has already answered, I just want to point out that "but do you, really?" should never have been included in this answer to begin with. If a person feels the need to call out for help, they therefore need help. Whether their self-diagnosis (as to what they need help with and what kind of help they need) is accurate is tangential at best and any pushback to that effect is indistinguishable from rejecting the validity of the cry for help in and of itself, which is a very dangerous proposition. It is significantly better to err on the side of responding to it than questioning it.
    – Flater
    Sep 13, 2023 at 6:19
  • 2
    +1 for Your best hope of success is to start an adult conversation. You might find mindtools.com/ayjtd4p/transactional-analysis or simplypsychology.org/transactional-analysis-eric-berne.html useful in understanding the difference between "Adult-Adult" and "Parent-Child" conversations. The key is to get your parents out of "Parent->Child" mode. Sep 13, 2023 at 12:29
  • While I, too, have used Hyperbole and a Half to illustrate depression, it's not the only way depressed people feel/act. Depression can look different for different people. I agree with @Flater that you're not in the position - ever - to delineate or define what people feel. It's hard enough to admit to depression without having someone question the reality of the statement. "Can you tell me more?" is a better response, in person but not here, of course. Here, you just kinda take them at their word. Sep 13, 2023 at 12:52
  • Thanks, BTW i go to a psychologist a bit, but not much recently Sep 13, 2023 at 14:47
  • Depression is serious shit. It makes people kill themselves. I strongly recommend rewording this. Depression can definitely be a very serious mental illness. But it doesn't make anyone do anything. The natural outcome is not suicide, as this answer incorrectly, and dangerously, implies. Sep 15, 2023 at 5:44

I hear you and feel your pain. I hope your parents step away from their preconceived notions of success and are willing to do the same.

I honestly think their actions are based on what they "think is best for you".

I honestly think they are mistaken.

The proof is how miserable you feel.

Frankly, in my experience (I'm likely much older than your parents), your parents aren't familiar with who winds up happiest on our little planet.

It's generally not the people who had the best grades. It's generally not the people who have the most money or the most possessions. Those people are typically miserable.

It's the people who have quality, honest, and loving relationships. It's people who spend time outdoors and exercise. It's the people who truly love music and art. It's people who love to live and love exploring. It's people who are proud to make mistakes and learn from them. It's people who consistently treat others with kindness and love. It's people who have the courage to look deep inside themselves and decide what they honestly value and live their lives by their own values.

Perhaps, just perhaps, your parents will stumble upon your words, and maybe even mine, and consider how amazing you will be once they let you be you.

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