EARN YOUR PARENTS’ RESPECT:YOU AREN’T “JUST A KID” ANYMORE.
by – Dianne Lee Blomberg, Ph.D.
You want to stay out past curfew, skip school this morning and sleep in, travel to another state and visit a friend? If the common answer is “No,” “No,” and “No.” There’s a solution, “If you want to be treated like an adult, act like one.” Actually, most teens don’t really want to be an adult; with the freedom comes tons of responsibility. However, a little more responsibility and a little more independence are usually acceptable to most kids. There are specific signs parents and other adults look for to determine responsibility. Knowing what those signs are may buy you a bit more of that “adult-like” respect you’ve been looking for. The magic signs are the three F’s: Finances, Friends, and Future Plans.
You may not have a portfolio or an IRA, but everyone has some kind of finances. For example, you might be on an allowance system in your family. Your parents give you 15 bucks a week, if you spend ten bucks and save five you would be managing your finances and impressing your parents. Maybe you are one of those people who have a part time job. Let’s say you make $50.00 a week. Don’t spend it all. Put $20.00 into a savings account and when you reach a certain amount, buy a CD (certificate of deposit). Can you imagine the look on your parents’ faces when you present them with a CD for $500.00? And if your cash flow is only birthday and holiday money, you can manage that too. Finance awareness says responsible, independent, and intelligent. And it’s a sign of self-confidence. When you are sure of yourself you are comfortable with this type of “adult-world” decision.
Parents are impressed with healthy relationship choices. Here, they are looking at not only your friendships but also your romantic relationships. You know parents want you to hang out with people who are good for you. The best advise here is to be really choosy going into the relationship. Don’t look for relationships with people who are similar to you in superficial areas. Honestly, is it really important that he likes Hip-Hop and you like Alternative Rock? Does it matter that she hates school dances and you love them? What matters are the core values. You know, how does the person act around your family, or treat you in public; how important is schoolwork, or the work ethic, and so on. Does the person support your dreams and ideas? All of these say something about the core of the person. This is what matters. It may be important to you that the person looks good in jeans, but that does not reflect the core person, so it shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
Once you have found people who share your values, simply manage all relationships with empathy and put yourself in the shoes of your partner. When you select friends and romantic partners who have similar core values to yours and you maintain these relationships responsibly, you will be on your way to the kind that get respect from your parents.
Future Plans Sign
“Let’s talk about your future.” How many times have you heard your parents say that? Kids don’t want parents deciding their future, a little help is fine, but you want the final vote. Most teens want to have control over the future. But face it, parents really do have more experience, and usually have great ideas about your choices for the future. Wouldn’t it be ideal if you were in charge of the direction of your future, and your parents were your consultants, people to call on when you needed a bit of assistance? If you manage your future in a responsible way this will happen.
The first step is to get organized and begin now. It makes a big difference if you start planning at the age of 13 or at the age of 18. Every step you take this year will make a difference in your future and get you where you want to go. Decide what organizing system works for you and use it in school, with household chores, at your job, and with your private time. Your parents will not accuse you of wasting time because you won’t be – really. You will build in time for studies, time for family, and the all-important time for you.
The next step in managing your future is to begin investigating your options. Send for college or trade school catalogs, request information from a variety of professional organizations about job descriptions and outlooks; inquire about the possibility of shadowing in the professions that interest you. Usually, your school counselor will be able to help you with all of this. When you shadow, you get the opportunity to observe someone on the job for first-hand knowledge about the work. Ask your parents about jobs and professions. In other words, take charge of the direction for your future, seeking help when needed.
Finally, be open-minded about where you are going and how you will get there. You don’t want to have your mind made up to be a computer tech and ignore your calling as an artist, for example. Be willing to put in the effort to accomplish your goals. Rarely do people achieve their dreams overnight. Your parents will respect your plans if you manage your future in an organized and realistic manner. Isn’t that really what you want?
By your taking care of finances, friendships, and future plans your parents will see you in a whole new light. This light will be shining on a young adult, not a little kid. With it will come more respect, responsibility, and independence. The next time you ask to extend your curfew, stay home from school to catch up on sleep, or travel alone, you may just get the answer you deserve, “Yes.”