I remember how it felt. You’re a kid, going along in your life, having fun, the years marching by, everything’s cool, your worries are few. You like your parents and they like you. Then, all of a sudden, things change. Everything isn’t alright. The things that used to tickle your fancy no longer do.
Your parents get on your nerves. The things they used to do that made you laugh, now irritate you. Their voices sound like bees buzzing and their instructions itch like moquito bites.
Why are they so, well, parenty? Why are they always up in your business? Why is their answer to everything you ask, “NO!” You haven’t heard the word no so much since you were a toddler. Only, instead of telling you “don’t touch that,” now they are telling you “don’t go there.”
No, you can’t :
- go to the party,
- stay on the phone,
- wear that outfit,
- hang out with that friend or
- talk to that boy
It’s your phone – isn’t it? You learned to dress yourself a few years ago, have they forgotten? Why don’t they trust you to pick your friends?
I watch from a distance as my blood-niece and chosen-niece become teenagers. I have a news flash for them: You can have a smooth journey through your teenage years or a bumpy, loathsome ride. The power is in your hands. Make your decision carefully. Being in an extended Cold War with your parents is not what you want to do. You can’t win.
Your parents have the resources in terms of money, authority, and knowledge. Most of the time it’s not that they don’t trust you, they don’t trust the world. They can see that “something’s not right” about a particular boy or girl. They know when the specifics about a party or outing smell fishy. They are charged with getting you safely grown.
- You have to earn their trust by following the rules and establishing you reliability.
- You have to develop a pattern and track-record of good behavior, including doing your chores and doing your schoolwork to the best of your ability.
- From this solid base, you can then negotiate as you get older for an easing of the rules and an expansion of your privileges.
Pouting, outbursts, snapping and sneakiness doesn’t build trust. Comparing them to other parents (as in “Shayla’s mother is letting her go,”) isn’t effective in anything but making your parents clamp down and say “I’m not Shayla’s mother.” (Duh-uh.)
Your parents love you and they are only wish the best for you. It takes them a “minute” (actually a really long while) to realize that you are in fact no longer a child. (Just because you’re no longer a child and are leaving behind your childish ways doesn’t mean that you’re grown.) It takes a whole lot of growing to get grown.
Believe it or not, you won’t die if you miss “the” party. There will be more parties. You won’t lose your real friends just because your parents are strict.
Seven years. That’s all the time you get to be a teenager. Remember six years ago when you were seven? The time went by quickly, didn’t it? These next seven years will go by as quickly, the difference is that all of the decisions you make now will follow you into your adulthood. The decisions you make now will either expand or limit your choices for your future.
Hang in there. I wish you the best. Feel free to call your aunty and give me an earful if you need to but don’t keep the Cold War going with your parents. It’s a war you can not win.