By Sam Reeves, Online News Editor/Webmaster/Social Media Director
Life passes by fast, and before you know it, you’ll be walking across the graduation stage and crossing into the next stage of your young adult life. From the moment we start high school, it’s common for teenagers to speak about how they can’t wait to get out of high school and away from overbearing parents and their hometowns.
I myself was one of those teens. I had a countdown until graduation since the first semester of freshman year. I wanted to grow up and be on my own, away from parents’ opinions and such.
However, over the last year, I’ve noticed my mindset has changed a lot. Over this last summer, I took the time to step back and evaluate why I was so eager to leave, why I was so eager to cut close ties with family, why I was so obsessed with this idea of ‘freedom.’
I came to the realization that the main reason I wanted to get away was because I was upset that I didn’t see eye-to-eye on everything with my parents. I was having unrealistic expectations, I wanted them to agree with all my opinions; something I think most teens wish of their parents and other family members.
However, that is not how real life works. One person will never see exactly eye-to-eye on everything as another person. This difference of opinion isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it can all just be a difference of education on the topic that fuels it.
I realized that even if I didn’t agree on everything with my family, I still needed them in my life and I still loved them no matter what. Taking this realization to heart, I made it my goal to set aside my selfishness to rekindle the bond between me and my parents. I started to open up to them more, and we started to have great conversations about life and politics.
Doing this helped me learn an important lesson: times have changed rapidly since our parents (and other family members) were teenagers. There are new problems we deal with now that they didn’t have, and issues they simply don’t understand due to the fact that it was something they didn’t have to worry about.
For example, teens who suffer with a mental illness tend to easily get frustrated if their family doesn’t automatically understand the problem. There used to be so much stigma around mental illness, so your family isn’t being ignorant; they’re just not fully educated. Topics like this need education, and just because you don’t see eye-to-eye on it right now, doesn’t mean you won’t in the future. It takes time and communication.
So my word of advice is to not push away family over disagreements. Don’t automatically seek out to cut ties with your parents for difference of opinion. While it seems rough now, things can get better, and if you cut ties, one day you will regret it.
Your family is one of the strongest foundations you can have in your life, spend time with them while you can. Talk with your parents. Play with your siblings. Have dinner with your grandparents. Go shopping with your aunt. Their love and support can go a long way, and can fuel you through the beginning of adulthood. You can’t make up lost time, don’t make a mistake that you’ll regret in the future.