I am writing this to all of you out there, not to criticise your parenting, but to show you parenting out of a teenager’s perspective. Of course, it is not always an easy task to bring up your children, while they disobey or aren’t how you wish they were. And I am fully aware that, as parents, you do your best or what you feel is best for your child, so that they grow up into successful people, maybe avoiding some of the challenges you had faced in life.
However, sometimes we teenagers are misunderstood, especially now that we are in the last couple of years of school where grades are important and we have to make a choice with our life. In the culture I am surrounded by, it is not unusual for parents to be extremely strict when it comes to studying and a social life. I have friends who barely have a minute to breathe in between tuition, studying and homework. I even have friends who sleep two hours a night because of extra classes for school. I have some friends, who don’t see the point in life and are miserable because they are forced to study subjects they hate, and do it 24/7. Is this the purpose of life? Studying?
I understand that it is important to parents for their teenagers to have good grades, so that they will go off to a good university and so make sufficient money in the future. I understand that parents have the best intentions. However, I also understand that school isn’t life, it is just a part of it, and that being extremely strict about it actually worsens chances of a successful life in many cases.
School and intelligence is one thing, but think about this – will some biology theory make your student more successful than maybe a leadership programme outside of school? Will your child be happier doing tuition and extra work than having time with friends? When a person is happy, regardless of age, they will do better with anything in life, because they are more motivated and willing to do it.
We teenagers don’t need parents to tell us to study, we are told enough by our teachers. No, we need two wonderful people we can look up to and learn from. We want to learn valuable life tools from your experience. We want to be able to enjoy our family time while it lasts and have fun with you, rather than fight. A healthy parent-child relationship means so much more than good grades.
It is evident that employers nowadays don’t only look for intelligent students. They look for students who are out-of-the-box thinkers, who love to discover new things and are open to life. By sitting behind books at a desk won’t give anyone those skills. People with straight As might tell you all kinds of facts about biology, physics or history. How will this help in a job? How will this get you to a superior position? It’s about the relationships people have – family and friends. It’s about the experiences they go through, the challenges they face and have to solve. It’s about how positive their mindset is, which they usually get from their parents.
Dear parents, we want you to encourage us, to be there for us, and to believe in us no matter what we do. We want to be accepted for who we are, and not changed because of who we aren’t. We are just human, like you, and we have our flaws, but how are we supposed to accept them, if you don’t? We want to have a childhood that we can look back on and be glad about rather than one we resent. We want to be happy and be free, yet feel a sense of security with you. We just want to belong to a family and be proud about it. Most importantly, we want you to be proud of us, because we try so hard to satisfy you, yet it is nearly impossible.