Hey Mom and Dad,
I hate to admit, but you may call me a person with “a fierce demeanor but faint of heart.” Sure, I’d like to be cool, but I do care about you! As a teenager whose parents are going through midlife crisis, I have a lot to learn, but so do you!
1. Please remember this period of my “rebellion” is my time of searching for identity. I am learning to express my feelings and thoughts, not trying to sing a different tune. Don’t forget that I have to live independently and face the world by myself in a few years.
2. Whether you intend to encourage or discipline me, please be patient and treat me with kindness. I don’t need you to stay with me all the time, but I still hope that you would spend more time to understand me.
3. Trust me! By doing so, you empower me with love because I need your compassion, acceptance, respect and empathy. I need to know that as I grow, you are more at ease with me and are willing to let go.
4. Please don’t be angry with me for too long and don’t limit my freedom too much. You have your jobs, your hobbies, and your friends, but you are the only dad (or mom) I have.
5. Please talk with me without lecturing me, and listen to me with full attention. Even when we don’t understand each other, I will still feel your willingness to spend time to understand me, accept me, honestly address my doubts, and talk about sensitive subjects with me.
6. I will forever remember how you treat me and pray for me.
7. Before you curse or even hit me, please remember that I have enough strength to revenge even though I may choose not to.
8. Before you scold me and call me disobedient, uncooperative, stubborn, or lazy, please try to figure out whether something else is bothering me. I could be all stressed out due to peer pressure! May be I am not receiving the affirmation, acceptance, encouragement and care I need. I could be too tired, haven’t taken any break for quite some time due to homework and extra curriculum activities. My heart could have grown stiff because of growing pains and fears. Of course, sometimes I don’t know how to express myself or am affected by hormonal change.
9. Instead of rejecting me when I make mistakes, please understand, accept, and support me. Haven’t you experienced failures too? Please don’t deny your mistakes and failures. Your integrity and courage to change are my best examples.
10. As I am struggling through this difficult process of becoming an adult, I have to face setbacks and defeats. Your love for me will make it easier for me to face these teenage storms. Don’t ever forget that I love you, and that you have promised to love me all your life.
This article was published in Chinese by Family Keepers in April 2010.