I Don’t See It Your Way

In the opening scene of Hanging in the Stars, Andrew’s mother suggests during dinner that her son join track or drama club now that he is in 9th grade. He sits silently at the dinner table thinking the last thing he wants is to join is some dumb school team like his sister’s friends who joined as many activities as possible to enhance their college applications. Sometimes he felt like screaming at his mother, “I might want to be a graffiti artist and paint curse words over every high school in the city. Maybe I’ll become a juggler in the park with no overhead, no college degree or business suit. That sounds like a plan I can follow. “

As a parent of two grown sons, I painfully remember when they were about eleven years old they started rolling their eyes at whatever I said. During conversations I’d see them looking at each other in agreement that mom still lived in the dark ages. Suddenly, they avoided public appearances with me. When I wanted to ride my bike in the neighborhood, my younger son said, “You’re not going to ride in the streets wearing that helmet.” When driving my older son and his friend to a 7th grade dance I had to let them off around the corner. Up until then I thought of our family as a happy unit with similar ideas and beliefs. When they hit puberty, they took every opportunity to let me and my husband know they saw, thought, and wanted to live differently from us.

In “Why Do I Fight With My Parents So Much?” Kidshealth explains clashes between teens and parents are common because teens get angry when they feel parents don’t respect them. Parents worry about the loss of control and their teens’ safety. The experts advise teens that talking and expressing yourself can increase your parents’ respect for you. Try compromises so that both you and your parents feel a sense of accomplishment. Remember, though it may seem hard to believe, your parents were once teens too.

What do you think of that advice? From your own experience in dealing with your parents, what do you suggest?

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