I know it’s hard to believe, but I have been a teenager before. I well remember thinking my parents were the world’s strictest on the earth, and in fact my friends would probably tell you they were. I also remember thinking that I knew an awful lot, and could take care of myself, and that they didn’t really understand what it was like being a teenager, especially since they were soooo old (in fact my parents were a lot younger than many of my friends parents), but guess what, they were teenagers once too!
I know you want your independence and that at almost 18 you think you should be allowed to do whatever you want, but as you live under our roof, it goes without saying that you really are obliged to do what we say, play by our rules and RESPECT our decisions. It may be that you can’t wait to leave home, and sometimes part of me can’t wait either, especially when you are being quite revolting towards me and rebellious and won’t take no for an answer, but you need to know you are very much loved and there is always a place for you at home.
You need to know that our job as parents is not to be your best friend. I have always maintained if I am mistakenly doing that during your teenage years then I’m probably not being a very good parent. I am not interested in being “popular”, I’m interested in your welfare and well-being. So if we actively discourage you from doing certain things, or making the wrong choices, it’s because we’ve either learned from our own experience or as outside observers are concerned about what is going on. I know some things you just need to experience and learn from yourself, but sometimes parents will and should step in, and as you know, we aren’t afraid to do that from time to time.
I will nag you along the way, especially if I need you to do something. Why? Because you need to understand your place in the world, and your part in it. Sometimes it’s necessary to conform or co-operate, even if it goes against your nature. If you are to succeed later in life, you need to be able to adapt to the environment and make appropriate decisions. That starts in the small world called home, and extends to the school world, and eventually to the working world Our job as parents is to guide you and give you lessons in life, in the same way your teachers do.
I do like your friends (even if I can’t remember all of their names), I enjoy a house full of young people, I like to see you spending time with them and they are always welcome in our home (and to our food – but not our grog)! I am always happy for small gatherings, provided you are honest about how many are coming, and when, and for how long. And I am excited about an 18th birthday party (for each of you naturally), if you would like one. It’s a milestone to celebrate – and we promise we won’t embarrass you at your own party (will we Father of a Man-Child?).
I do like to know about your day, and how you spent it. You might think it’s boring, but I want to know what you did at work, or at school, or on the sporting field – the more detail the better. You are our children – hence our biased view and hunger for information about your lives. Perhaps take a leaf out of your younger sister’s book – she recounts everything in so much detail you could write a small book – but at least we know exactly what she thinks and feels. 🙂
I like you coming on holidays with us, and spending time as a family, and I honestly think that you enjoy it too (although one of you is seriously borderline). I know sometimes the thought of spending your holidays with your PARENTS is not your idea of fun, particularly if it means missing out on something special with your friends, or a big event, but perhaps you should be grateful for the wonderful holidays we have, and the places you have seen, and the number of times you have holidays each year. Many people are not nearly as fortunate as you. When you are 18, and working, you can go on holidays wherever you like. But we’ll still invite you on our holidays and again, you will always be welcome to join us.
Lastly, I know you don’t really like each other much at the moment. I am not sure why you haven’t really grown out of this phase. Of course you are both very different (something we love), but I think it’s time to put your differences aside (even celebrate them), and start getting along. We’re pretty tired of the constant fighting and arguing amongst you – it’s really unpleasant for all of us, and imagine how your sister feels with you both yelling and then us (parents) both yelling? Madhouse or what? I am sorry if you learnt how to yell from me – I wish I could change it, but I can’t take it back. But we can all try to yell a little less.
I know you have heard all of this before, but sometimes it’s better to write something down than to say it (again). It doesn’t involve any yelling and you have to listen! A bit like text messages. 🙂
All my love
Mother of a Man-Child