A person never really understands what it’s like to be a parent until he or she becomes one.
Like all kids, I got into my fair share of arguments with my parents. I grew up the oldest of three children. I can recall on many occasions…especially during my teenage years…that I uttered the words, “That’s not fair!” and “You’re so mean!” to my mom and dad. I didn’t always understand why I had to ‘report’ where I was going, when, and with whom. I didn’t always understand why I had such an early curfew when some of my friends could stay out as late as they wanted. I didn’t always understand why I couldn’t go to a classmate’s house when no adults were present. I didn’t always understand why my parents wouldn’t let me hang out with ‘certain’ kids. And I couldn’t believe that my dad told me if he ever caught me drinking he’d turn me in himself to the school athletic director and I’d be suspended from playing high school basketball. But now…as a parent…I do.
It’s not always easy being the oldest of three siblings. My parents were experiencing being parents of a teenager for the first time….just as I, the teenager, was seeking a newfound desire for more freedom and independence. As a parent, I can now understand why they didn’t want that to happen too quickly or hastily. I can understand why a mother and father would want that transition to adulthood to happen gradually and carefully. Teenagers are naïve. There is no question about that. I remember thinking I knew better. Why were my parents being so difficult?! Why were they being so “mean” to me?! Why, why, why?!
“Mother knows best” or “Father knows best” isn’t just a quote. It’s the truth. They have experienced life. They know what can happen out there in the real world. ANYTHING can happen.
It’s amazing how your perspective changes after having a child of your own. Your child becomes the most important thing to you in the world and you will protect him or her at all costs. My parents were looking out for me, but at the time, (like any teenager would think), I thought they were just being my strict, mean ‘ol parents! Now, I would personally like to thank my parents for being so strict! Thank you for caring. Thank you for watching out for me. Thank you for holding your ground and not giving into my temper tantrums, guilt-trips, and tears. I am happy to have had parents who cared as much as they did. If they hadn’t…who knows where I would be today. Who knows what trouble I could have gotten myself into!
I do not have a teenage daughter yet, (she is only 8!), but the day will soon come that we get into our battles like I did with my mom and dad. I hope someday she, too, will understand why we have rules and limits in our household. Kids without limits are like cars without brakes! Sooner or later, an accident is bound to happen. I envision life as being like an open road. There are speed limits, yield signs, and stop signs. Our parents are there to help us learn how to drive and to understand when we need to obey those speed limits…when we need to slow down…and when we need to stop completely. Teenagers, be patient! Your time for the open highway will eventually come. And when it does, you will be a much better driver if you listen to your parents.
Thanks, Mom and Dad.