Things Parents of High Schoolers Might Want to Know
Starting my senior year, I wonder if the frustrating conflicts and sometimes comical miscommunication with my parents, which have plagued me over the past three years, will get better. My parents are great. Really, really great. Still, they are just not in touch with what I’m going through.
For all the parents who want to better understand their high schoolers, here are some tips to ponder.
Though we don’t respond, we hear you.
The quickest way to get us annoyed is to repeat something. The moment my mom reminds me to “clean my room” or “make wise decisions,” I retreat and tune-out anything else she says. It’s a knee-jerk trigger mostly because acknowledging I heard, opens the door to further discussion. Not something I want to encourage. On the positive side, all those times she delivered the stay safe, don’t do drugs, good grades are important speeches, I listened, even though I seemed disinterested.
To recap: We heard you the first time, follow most suggestions and repetition is annoying. Repeat. Repetition is annoying.
We are grumpy for a reason.
Being a high-schooler is hard. With social and academic pressures bombarding us, we’re in a constant state of uncertainty and self-doubt. If I share my insecurities, there’s a risk you will go into overdrive to fix the problem or try to make me feel better. If I do poorly on a test or hit a slice into the next fairway, I don’t want to talk about it. So yes, I’m grumpy because it’s not unusual for something bad to happen. Like when you have a bad day at work, I’m not in the mood to be happy or talk about my day. At least not today. Maybe tomorrow.
What might have been okay in your generation is not okay in ours today.
Our world is vastly different from yours. Whether it’s equity versus equality, LGBTQIA+ issues, the use of emojis or our contrasting political views, we don’t share the same opinions due to our divergent personal experiences.
When you attempt to impose your values on us, we become dismissive and even contemptuous. The best thing is to listen, without interjecting, and not assume we are simply naive and lack wisdom. We are all the sum of our personal experiences. We may get emotional about our beliefs. We need you to be unemotional when explaining your viewpoints. We crave learning and want to understand the world, but given the current state of affairs, your generation doesn’t have a lot of credibility, especially in the areas we care about. In a patient and unbiased way, please help us understand your side of things.
As this new school term commences, I’m rooting for an end to the war in Ukraine, a Warriors’ return to the finals, and well, more time to just chill. Deep down, I know I owe everything to my parents, but getting me to say it to them is like moving a mountain.
Good luck to all the parent-teenager relationships. As technology and societal pressures increase the divide between us, focus on building trust, mutual respect and laughing lots together.
Tip: When my parents crack a joke, even if it’s not that funny, it makes me want to spend MORE time with them.
Matthew Lin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.