After sending my son an e mail of my post “Surviving Seventeen” I got a text saying “I like it. I’m writing a response”. Here is that response.
There is no cheat sheet, no universal way to understand a teenager and there is definitely no grand plan. The world is a scary place, as all you adults can agree ( if you remember ). It’s not easy facing everything for the first time. I do enjoy playing video games. It’s were I go to get away from everything I cant put out in the real world. Its funny because no one that I have to explain it to understands.
Having drive is a problem for me as it is for most teenagers. I have told my mom this. My mind works for instant gratification. If I get a good feeling out of it now I’m going to take that over something that will make me feel good months or years down the road. With this in mind, college, and a lot of planning, is a struggle because I cant see the end of the tunnel at all and when nothing comes from it, my brain puts it on the back burner. I do, however, want to thank my mother for pushing me to get stuff done and I know that she only wants the best for me. It’s the teenager inside me that thinks it’s nagging but I know it’s not.
Another thing is, when you ask your son or daughter what they want to do and they say ” I don’t know” you probably accept that as they just don’t care. The truth is we just don’t know. We don’t have any experience with anything like this and a lot of people just expect us to know exactly what we want to do with the next 60 some years for our life. We are, in all honesty, scared. We are scared to leave the people and places we know behind and find “our path” that makes us happy and makes enough money. A lot of us will only get the latter of the two. We don’t want to flip burgers or pack grocery bags for the rest of our lives but we are scared we will and the weight that is put on us to not do that just adds to that feeling. Even when parent say “We don’t care what you do, we just want you to be happy” we know that’s a lie. Yes, you may mean to say it but deep down we know you want use to be that lawyer or doctor or business person. The last thing we want to do is let our parents down. I’ve kept things from my parents (I later told them) that I thought would make them disappointed. At the time it felt a lot better to lie to them then let them know I had failed.
The way I see it friend, girlfriend and boyfriend all finish with “end” but family doesn’t. Your kids NEED your help. They may never ask for it and yell at you if you give it to them sometimes, but they do appreciate it so always be there for them because parents are the one thing that we can always count on.
I’ve now decided my son should be a writer.