10 Things Every Teenager Needs to Know About Their Parents
- Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Face it -- you are stuck with us, at least for the next few years! And avoiding spending time with us, rejecting our hugs, and refusing to talk is not going to change that. So in the interest of peace and harmony, I am going to share a few things with you that you probably don't know in the hopes that they may help you to better tolerate us.
1. We are not perfect. We don't have all the answers. We don't even know all of the questions! But we do know some of the answers, we know how to find the ones that we don't know, and believe it or not — just like you know more now that you did just a few short years ago, so do we.
It is often said that children don't come with an instruction manual and there is no "one-size-fits-all" parenting model. Each child is different and so is each parent. Together we have to figure out how to navigate a journey that has no roadmap and no pre-determined destination.
If you are looking for a "perfect" parent, you are going to spend your life in eternal frustration. And you will make this relationship much more difficult than it has to be. So when we make a mistake (and we will), please try to forgive us just as we forgive you when you make mistakes. We are both, after all, only human with flaws, limitations and weaknesses. But thankfully, we both also have individual strengths and characteristics that make us interesting and likable if we would take the time to get to know one another.
2. We are not cool... but we used to be! I know it seems that we are so out of touch with your world. And truthfully, many of us probably are. You may even see us as boring with no capacity for humor or amusement. But we were once the rulers of our own universe.
We were artistic geniuses, star athletes, musical virtuosos, popular cheerleaders, brainiacs, techno-geeks, gifted leaders and opinion-shapers. People actually liked to be around us, sought our advice and hung on every brilliant word that came out of our mouths. We were you, your friends, the people you admire and the people that you now ridicule.
In short, "cool" is a relative term whose definition changes with every generation. And as hard as it is for you to believe right now, one day you too will be "un-cool". So go easy on us; we are still trying to figure out how we went so quickly from being on the top of the world to something you want to scrape off the bottom of your shoe!
3. We are evolving and growing -- just like you. We are all a work-in-progress. At each stage of our lives, we are thrown into situations we have never before experienced. And because no one likes to appear stupid or unprepared, we often make the mistake of muddling through without asking for help from someone who has gone down that path before us.
So we fall down, skin our knees, cry a little, and get back up on the bicycle of life. We live, we learn, we impact those around us, we change, we grow (and grow up) -- one experience at a time.
But hey! You are smarter than we are, aren't you? You do ask for advice, don't you? You recognize when you are on unfamiliar ground and you seek help — right? Surely you have learned from our mistakes! (Whew! That makes us feel so much better about leaving you in charge of your own life)!
4. We don't know what it feels like to be you (but we do know what it feels like to be your age). Even though it was eons ago, we were once your age (and it really wasn't as long ago as it seems). And while many things have changed, all teenagers face the big five challenges: Sex, Drugs, Alcohol, Independence and Education.
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