Holy Households: 15 Obvious Signs You Were Raised in a Strict Religious Home

🌺  Written by Brittany Ann

Growing up with strict religious values isn’t just about the prayers and hymns; it’s a lifestyle that molds everything from the way you dress to the music you listen to and the friends you make. In this article, we’ll delve into 15 unmistakable signs that echo the hallmarks of a childhood marked by piety, rules, and a strong moral compass.

From curfews to abstinence from alcohol and missing out on Harry Potter, these signs are more than just memories—they’re imprints of a particular upbringing.

So, whether you’re here for nostalgia, understanding, or just a good laugh at shared experiences, fasten your seatbelts. We’re about to navigate 15 unmistakable markers of a super strict religious upbringing, one relatable moment at a time.

1. Drinking Was Absolutely Not Allowed (Even for Adults)

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While there are many completely valid reasons why someone might choose not to drink alcohol, in some super strict religious households, no one was allowed to drink even a drop of alcohol for any reason (including communion). This mandate includes both children and adults.

You didn’t drink. You wouldn’t be caught dead going inside a bar. And you didn’t associate with those who did.

2. Harry Potter Was Off-Limits

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Since the Bible forbids sorcery and witchcraft, Harry Potter was out of the question. This included both watching the movies as well as acting out any form of wizardry for fun.

Leviticus 19:31 says, “Do not turn to mediums or seek out spiritists, for you will be defiled by them. I am the LORD your God.”

3. Pokemon Was a No-Go

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Pokemon Go? How about Pokemon No.

Some Christian parents believed that Pokemon were depictions of real demons or somehow had demonic powers, making anything Pokemon-related absolutely off-limits.

4. Trick or Treating was Replaced with Harvest Parties

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Halloween was seen as “the Devil’s holiday” so that was definitely off-limits. Instead, some Christian families would attend church-sponsored Trunk or Treat nights or Harvest Parties, where you could learn about Jesus in a safe environment (and hopefully still get some candy).

Some families even went as far as not celebrating Halloween at all. Rather, they would celebrate Reformation Day and thank Martin Luther for his work to reform the church!

5. You Couldn’t Ask Questions or Have Your Own Opinions

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In some super strict religious households, asking questions, having doubts, or worse – having your own opinion! – was completely frowned upon, actively discouraged, or even punished. “Faith” meant accepting what your parents, your local pastor, or the Bible taught without question.

6. Dancing Was Discouraged

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While some religious denominations actively encourage dancing in joy, others frown upon any type of dancing for any reason.

It didn’t matter that 2 Samuel 6:14 tells us, “David danced before the Lord with all his might…”

Dancing had no place in some religious households, especially if your parents attended a strict college where there wasn’t dancing allowed either!

7. Public School Wasn’t an Option

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While there are a variety of reasons why any family might choose a private school, public school, or homeschool, for some strict religious households, homeschooling was the only option. After all, public schools were actively trying to indoctrinate children in sin, and most Christian schools were much better (or so the thinking went…).

For these Christian parents, the only way to raise good kids was to teach them at home.

8. Tank Tops and Leggings Were Inappropriate

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Too hot? Too bad.

Wearing tank tops that expose your shoulders or – even worse! – leggings that showed off your curves were just asking for men of all ages to lust after you. And no one wanted to be a “stumbling block” for their Christian brothers, who were only doing their best.

While there is something to be said about common decency and consideration for others, this super strict guideline often missed the mark, putting the blame for older men’s skeezy behavior on young girls who simply wanted to feel comfortable on a hot day.

9. Your Life Revolved Around Church

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To be clear, I’m a huge fan of church activities, and I would be perfectly happy to be at church 3, 4, 5 times a week or more. However, for people who grew up in super strict religious households, they weren’t given the option to choose.

Extracurriculars with friends were off-limits. Instead, life revolved around church and church activities, such as Sunday School, youth group, vacation Bible school, church camps, Bible quizzing, and more.

10. Girls Were Taught to Be “Submissive”

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Every Christian girl growing up in a super strict Christian household is probably familiar with verses like Ephesians 5:22–24, 1 Peter 3:1–2, and Colossians 2:18, which say things like, “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

However, many strict Christian households over-emphasized a wife’s responsibility, while completely neglecting to share all the ways the Bible calls all of us to submit to each other and the Lord.

For example:

  • Job 22:21: “Submit to God and be at peace with him…”
  • James 4:7: “Submit yourselves, then, to God…”
  • Hebrews 13:17: “Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority…”
  • 1 Peter 2:13-14: “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority…”
  • Ephesians 5:21: “Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.”

11. Even Minor “Swear” Words Were Unacceptable

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Not only were the major swear words unacceptable, but even minor swear words (like “crap” or “poop”) were off-limits too.

As a result, it wasn’t uncommon for people who grew up in super strict households to invent their own, incredibly random, swear words instead.

12. Your Parents Didn’t Believe in Santa Claus

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Whether it was because they didn’t like lying or they didn’t want Jesus to have to share his birthday with anyone else, some super strict religious parents chose not to participate in the magic of Santa each year.

If your parents were really strict, they may have even avoided malls in December, so they wouldn’t have to answer any awkward questions about the man in the red suit (who gave presents to everyone but you).

13. Yoga Wasn’t Exercise, but Hindu Worship

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While some Christians love yoga for the exercise, some strict Christian parents steer clear of the practice, due to its roots in the Hindu religion. Either you did “Holy yoga,” which put a Christian spin on the poses, or (more likely) you avoided it altogether.

14. Learning About Other Viewpoints was Strongly Discouraged

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Even today, many super strict religious parents practically forbid their children from learning about (or from) any sources that don’t line up with their own personal beliefs, for fear that their children will get confused and wander away from the faith.

While it is wise to practice discernment in what we choose to read, this strict standard (often based on fear) can backfire, leaving kids unable to process other viewpoints or defend their own as they age.

15. You Had a Genuine Fear You’d Be “Left Behind”

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If you’ve ever read (or heard of) the Left Behind book series, you know that fear of the rapture is a very real thing. If you ever walked into your house and no one was home, you may have worried everyone else was suddenly and mysteriously taken to Heaven, while you were left behind! This can be terrifying for young kids!

10 Commonly Accepted “Biblical” Truths You Won’t Find Anywhere in the Bible

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Many of these signs you grew up in a super strict content are based on common misconceptions about what the Bible actually says.

Want even more Bible misconceptions? There are tons of them out there!

From Eve and the apple to Jonah and the whale, you might just be surprised to find out the Bible doesn’t include the details you think it does.

Here are 10 commonly accepted “Biblical” truths you won’t find anywhere in the Bible

Are Tattoos a Sin? Here’s What the Bible Says

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What does the Bible say about tattoos?

Surprisingly, very little.

There’s only one verse in the entire Bible that even mentions tattoos (Leviticus 19:28), and it isn’t as straightforward as it initially appears.

So whether your body is covered in Christian tattoos or you’re considering getting your very first Bible tattoo…

If you’re wondering, “Are tattoos a sin?” or “Can we go to Heaven with tattoos?” this post has everything you need to know.

What Does the Bible Say About Tattoos? Are Tattoos a Sin?

Oops! These 10 Popular Bible Verses Don’t Mean What You Think

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The Bible is full of inspirational verses that can encourage us, lift us up, and remind us of God’s goodness.

Yet, just because a verse sounds encouraging doesn’t mean that’s the way the original author meant his or her words to be understood.

Here are 10 popular Bible verses people love to take out of context, completely distorting their original meaning in the process.

Oops! These 10 Popular Bible Verses Don’t Mean What You Think

15 Famous Celebrities Who Embrace Christianity Despite Public Scrutiny

Carrie Underwood
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The morals and values of celebrities in Hollywood often stand in stark contrast to the Christian faith. Where the Bible says not to be arrogant or put your hope in wealth (1 Tim 6:17), many in Hollywood flaunt their expensive mansions, cars, and wardrobes.

Or when the Bible says “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility, value others above yourself (Philippians 2:3),” it’s obvious to see how the cut-throat world of Hollywood makes this verse difficult to live out.

Thankfully, there are several celebrities who are successful actors AND followers of Christ. In fact, these men and women use their fame as a way to honor God and give back to others – exactly what the Christian faith is all about.

15 Famous Celebrities Who Embrace Christianity Despite Public Scrutiny

6 Facts From the Bible That Have Actually Been Proven

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While it may be tempting to dismiss these hard-to-believe miracles as mere fairy tales, there are many other details from Scripture that have been proven historically accurate. Here are 6 facts from the Bible that have some degree of historical or archaeological support.

6 Facts From the Bible That Have Actually Been Proven

Brittany Ann Equipping Godly Women

About the author

Brittany Ann is an ECPA bestselling author of “Fall in Love with God’s Word” and “Follow God’s Will” and the founder of EquippingGodlyWomen.com, a popular Christian-living website dedicated to helping busy Christian moms find practical ways to go "all in" in faith and family. Her work has been featured on CBN, The Christian Post, Crosswalk, and more.

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