By Jennifer Richardson
We know life as a teenager can be hard, and we love you. We love you so much that you won’t even understand how much until you have a child of your own. You may doubt this as we give and take away privileges, offer you instructions, and generally parent you. We used to be teenagers so we know how this feels, but we are asking you to believe that we have your best interests at heart.
You may have friends who are not being parented the way you are. This will feel weird and stressful, like maybe you have it harder than some. Don’t be shocked by this, you do have it harder than some, but if you learn these priceless lessons now while you are young, you will have it easier than most when you are grown.
A wide range of digital entertainment, movies, and many friends may be trying to teach you that you matter most in the world and parents are to be mocked and disregarded. You will need to unlearn this, it is not true.
It’s not all about you, and we can and should tell you what to do. It’s not that we don’t think you are amazing, talented, and fabulous- you are. But there are reasons why children and many creatures on earth are born to a parent- you need someone to teach you about life before you plunge into it. So embrace our parenting, it protects you, and you need it for a while.
We will be asking you to learn to work- on a regular basis. This is essential to grown up life. The day will come when you may have to manage a staggering amount of work, your home, your employment, your family…and yes, you will still have to clean your room.
We know you don’t like doing dishes and cleaning bathrooms- hardly anyone does. Suck it up and do it and don’t sass us about it. Someday you may have earned enough wealth to pay someone else to do it- but if you haven’t learned to be a hard worker that is pretty unlikely.
We will ask you questions about your life and expect honest answers. This is what parents do, and they should, and you will too when you have children. Learn to live openly and don’t do things you can’t talk about. If you can’t talk about it with a parent chances are it’s a poor choice.
We will not give you everything you ask for. Like most things in life that sound too good to be true, getting everything you want turns out badly. Receiving everything you ask for eventually turns you into a selfish, impatient person that has no coping skills when life doesn’t go your way. This makes you a person no one wants to be around. When we say no to you, we are giving you the true gift of a correct perspective on life.
We will not brush mistakes under the carpet or mop up all your messes for you. We know everyone makes mistakes, but your character is more important than protecting you from them. We will teach you to face your mistakes and deal with them.
There is nothing we won’t love you through, but choices have consequences. If you get a speeding ticket you will have to pay for it. It is really difficult in the short term to have to go get a job to pay off that speeding ticket–but it’s much harder to spend your grown up life trying to find people to do damage control for all your mistakes if you don’t know how to face consequences and learn from them.
What you have suspected is true, it is an awesome privilege to be a grown up and get to make your own decisions. However, like we always tell you, with privilege comes responsibility. And you will not be ready to handle the responsibility of being a grown up as early as you want to if you haven’t been parented with conviction and purpose.
Parenting a teenager isn’t any easier than being one. Every once in a while, thank us for what we do for you- it means everything to us.
And when you leave to pursue the life you have you have imagined–your life is your own to choose and live. We will be thrilled to see you spread your wings and make your own way. So let us parent you now, it just means we love you more than anything and we are willing to give up our own lives to make sure you are prepared to have the greatest life you can have.