An Open Letter to Parents
by Gabriella Patino
I’m at a time in my life where I’m starting to take responsibility for myself. I can drive, I’m applying to college, and I’m making my own doctor appointments. With all these new obligations, I find myself getting frustrated with my parents. I’m my own person… Why can’t they trust me to do things on my own?... I’m not a little kid anymore… I assume that most people my age are thinking the same way. Hence, the need for an open letter to parents.
I believe that parent-child relationships are an important thing that need to be revived during the adolescent years. It seems as if the growing freedom teenagers have damage their relationship with their parents. Planned Parenthood says, “We can build good relationships with our teens by spending time together, keeping promises, using humor, and appreciating their efforts and strengths.” Improving parent-teen relationships has the ability to combat dangerous activities that are prominent in today’s culture. The U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health states, “Tensions may range from minor irritations to overt conflict.” I want to write this open letter to parents to help remediate those irritations. I understand that my experience with my parents may be different than someone else’s. I am simply writing with regards to my own personal background and assuming it generalizes to most. So, to those parents, the ones who have raised me to be the person I am today, the ones who fund my food addictions, and the ones I probably couldn’t live without, here are ten things you need to hear.
Dear Mom and Dad,
- Please stop comparing me to my sibling
I know you are proud of your children and you want to push us to be the best people we can be, but comparison is never the answer. We are two separate people who have two different work ethics and two different sets of interests. “Parents' beliefs about their children, not just their actual parenting, may influence who their children become,” says one BYU professor.
- Keep social media to a minimum
I’m perfectly OK with you wanting to follow me on Instagram or be friends with me on Snapchat. However, I’m tired of going through the hour-long process of teaching you how everything works. Please stick with one or two social media sites and learn how to use them by yourself. It’s really not that hard. And no, you can’t follow my private Instagram.
- Just because I’m busy doesn’t mean I hate you
Trust me, if I could spend time with you rather than do this pile of homework, I would. I promise that I still love you. I’m just too busy to hang out with you all the time like I did when I was six. I’m not depressed and, contrary to popular belief, I’m not just sitting in bed when I’m upstairs in my room. I’m studying for this, or finishing my homework for that, and I’m sorry if I don’t have time to drop everything for family game night.
- Don’t try to do my homework for me
I’m not doing the same kinds of things that I was doing in elementary school. Believe me, I really appreciate your willingness to help me study for that test I’m stressed out about, but I think it would be better if I did it on my own. If you have an opinion about the quality of my homework, please keep that to yourself. I don’t care if you think you can edit my English essay and make it better. You will most likely rip it apart and write a whole new essay that doesn’t even resemble my writing. You are probably the two smartest people I know, and I can only dream of accomplishing the things you’ve accomplished. Yet, I need to learn how to do that on my own.
- I’m not a bad driver
I just like to go faster than you. I promise I follow the rules of the road and try to be safe. Just because I forget to text you when I arrive somewhere doesn’t mean I’m dead. No need to get freaked out.
- Let me choose where I go to college
I’m generally a smart person. I’m capable of making rational decisions about where I should go to college. So why can’t you trust me to do that? According to actforyouth.org, “Boys (82%) and girls (76%) said they valued their parents' opinions over their friends' when it came to serious decisions.” Obviously, I value your opinion. And I know you think I’m the best thing since sliced bread, but that doesn’t mean that I’m going to go to an Ivy League school. Personally, I want to apply to a school I can see myself going to and being happy at. I just don’t think the Ivies fit that description.
- Just because I make fun of you doesn’t mean I hate you
You’re just really easy to make jokes about, and I simply can’t resist it. It’s not my fault that you’re an easy target. I love you even though I tease you.
- Don’t follow me to college
I’m an independent person now. Don’t think I won’t call you everyday and visit home all the time. I don’t need you a block away. I won’t forget about you, I swear.
- I don’t know what I would do without you
You truly are the reason I am where I am today. If it weren’t for your amazing parenting skills and your endless trust in me, who knows what I would be like? Thank you for always being there for me and showing me what it means to be a great person. Thank you for making me delicious food and helping me with my laundry. Thank you for driving me everywhere for the first 16 years of my life and for giving me advice about everything, whether I want it or not.