By Sophia Sajan (’22)
“Hi I’m a sophomore and I don’t get along well with my family very well have any advice?”
Everyone has someone in their family that they don’t always see eye to eye with. Personally, it’s me vs my dad because we are so alike that we can’t get along. For you, it may be a sibling or a Crazy Aunt Linda. Regardless if your disagreements develop over who controls the TV remote, or over which parent takes you for which night, family can be rough.
After school all you want to do is get as far away as possible from the cafeteria food, not run head first into a week-long fight with a family member. Especially when it comes to parents, the all-knowing, overprotective, nosey human beings who brought us into existence.
I find myself asking, “You were a kid once too, right? Because, I mean, you make me doubt that when you make decisions like this… If you remember what it’s like to be a teen then why do you still do things like this?”
The mastermind behind this dilemma is hindsight. Hindsight is m0sot definitely 20/20. If your parents can recall smoking six packs a day when they were a burnout in senior year, then they are going to try to stop you from ever touching a cigarette because you could very well be “that kid” who dies. Or if they remember their journey through cigarette addiction and whatnot, they are going to protect you. Granted, this often makes us teens want to do bad things even more.
Imagine this, if you will:
You’re in 6th grade (we’ve all been there), and the boy of your dreams wants to go out with you. He wants you to be his “girlfriend”. He is the one. This is it. Happy ever after. Until you tell your parents the wedding is in 3 months. Uh-oh-spaghetti-O. “No dating until you’re 16, Kelly.” Well now everything is ruined! You could’ve been so happy. If only your stupid parents would let you… they don’t understand! They just don’t get it! Drew Stephens is the perfect boy! This is the end. You’ll never be happy again. Why do they have to go out of their way to make you unhappy? They just don’t understand.
Even though you could already see your wedding dress and your elegant Bahama beach wedding with the gorgeous 6th grader Drew Stephens, you’re parents gave you a firm no for a reason.
Why, you may ask? Because they have been where you are. Young, innocent, hopeful… immature. I know “immature” can be an insult, but it isn’t here. Even though I feel like I am old enough, know enough, seen enough, to watch R movies; I am not allowed to.
My father remembers thinking the same, then going to see Poltergeist (how terrifying.) and having nightmares for weeks.
You’re parent probably remembers their own 3-day 6th grade dating experience and wants to save you the trouble. The embarrassment, the overwhelming grief and loss — oh the pain! — of that messy, heart-shattering breakup. With you, they have a do-over. I am convinced that parents sometimes genuinely believe they had children just so their kids could right all their wrongs.
Anyway, this is sadly an ineffective way to protect us from the evils of the universe (6th grade romances included).
Even though our parents want to shield their babies, us, from all the pain they have suffered in their lifetimes, we have to learn somehow. We have to be able to grow and learn on our own, for ourselves. When a friend tells you something is a bad idea, you will do it anyway if you want to, right? Then, when it backfires, you will tell the next friend to not do it… who will proceed to do it regardless. You had to learn for yourself that just because Andy jumps off a building in The Office –PARKOUR!– does not mean you should too. You’re lucky you landed in the dumpster or you would have been a goner.
In any case, understanding that one day you will look back on everything and anything you do with entirely different feelings than you are in this present moment can help. If you are fighting with a deranged step-father who you wish would disappear in The Snappening — the only thing you could be grateful to Thanos’ Blip for — ask yourself: if he were to disappear tomorrow, would you mourn him?
Unless you are a heartless shell of a human, the answer is yes.
Fighting is hard with parents, or step-parents, because it always feels like you vs them. You either compromise what you believe from the beginning, which bothers you because it is important to you, or you get in trouble and earn a yelling. If you raise your voice because you feel unheard, and somehow increasing volume seems logical to fix that issue (?), then you are scolded for yelling. It’s an unwinnable battle.
My parting advice to you is this: when you are a parent, you will do the same, so let it go. Any feelings you have now, all-consuming love for Drew Stephens or otherwise, will be different when you look back on it in a year. Maybe you’ll understand why mom told you that your wedding planning binder was ridiculous and that just because LoveCalculator.com said you and Drew were 98% compatible, that does not mean you are engaged to be married.
Remember that everything passes. And even though you had to give up a couple battles here and there, one day (maybe) you’ll have your own kid to drive insane with over-protective and seemingly pointless rules.
P.S. Fighting doesn’t always have to mean you waving the white flag.
Try to approach it as both of you against the problem and not each other. Work towards a reasonable compromise that satisfies both parties. Because even if you win the argument by punching your older brother in the no-no square, you lose as well when mom finds out.
So compromise. Then you can both kind-of win. A tie isn’t necessarily a loss, right?