Hey Ember, fun fact, I am currently a young adult. You are almost 2 years old. I like to think that because of our not extremely significant age gap that I can keep up with what the cool kids are doing, but of course I’m sure all parents think that.
So last night was one of my best friend’s 21st birthdays. I definitely monitored some alcohol intake and made sure everyone got home safely. His parents knew what was up, my parents knew what was up. Everyone was aware of proper alcohol consumption intake safety guidelines. It was a fun yet responsible evening.
I’m not sure what kind of things you’ll be into when you’re a teenager, but I think I have general knowledge of all the bases. And what I don’t know, I’ll just friggin look up.
I know firsthand that the last thing a lot of teenagers want to do is talk to their parents about what’s going on in their lives. I know that you’re gonna be doing some things you think or know that I don’t want you to do.
But I’m telling you right now, nothing you could do would ever make me reject you. You could never piss me off so bad that I’d do anything drastic. You’ll never be kicked out of the house, you’ll never get cut off, me and your dad will always be there for you.
But please please please, just tell me what you’re doing.
If you’re only 14 and you’re trying to drink, tell me. If you think about smoking, tell me. If you get your hands on weed, tell me. If you want to start having sex, tell me. Just let me know. If you’re about to get a tattoo or piercing, let me know. You don’t even have to go into detail about anything, just let me know. I swear to you, ask anyone and they can tell you how laid back I am about a lot of things.
Nothing makes me more paranoid than thinking you’re doing (potentially dangerous) things behind my back. I don’t care how uncomfortable a talk we might be in for. Of course I’ll probably lecture you a little bit, but that’s because I’m your mother.
In my time, I’ve disappointed my parents a lot. Regrettably. Unintentionally. But I did. I kept a lot of secrets, and I’ve realized that not talking to them probably made things a lot worse. It’s already too late for a lot of things, but I’m starting to talk to them more and it’s helped.
Growing up I wasn’t allowed to do a lot of things. Me and your uncle and our cousins, there were just a lot of things our parents just barred us from for various reasons. So we would always say to each other, “It’s easier to ask for forgiveness than permission” just to get through our teen years.
I don’t want you to ask me for forgiveness for anything. I want you to tell me about it beforehand so that you won’t have to. I swear, no matter what it is you may do or want to do, I’ll understand. We’ll talk about it. I’ll help when I can. And I swear to you now that if you tell me things beforehand, I won’t get mad. I might take a moment or two to calm down and think about it, but I’ll do my absolute best not to raise my voice at you.
I respect your autonomy, and I’ll talk to you reasonably.
You know, my parents were actually the last people to find out that I was pregnant with you. Because I was scared. I thought the only people I could talk to were the ones my own age. I knew my parents would yell (and they certainly did) and just thinking about that prevented me from saying anything to them until the very last minute. They were the last to hear a number of things actually, because I would have rather sprung things on them than have them yell at me beforehand.
I can’t even imagine that. It definitely breaks my heart thinking about how I’ve broken theirs on several occasions, but there’s nothing I can do about the past. I can only speak up moving forward.
A lot of people my age keep secrets. I don’t know how old you are, I don’t know if you’re 10 or 15 or 20 when you read this, but even if you’re only 4 I know you’ve still got a secret from me. You’re not even 2 yet and you lie to me about when you poop because you don’t want me to change your diaper.
I don’t care if you took an extra cookie from the cookie jar, spilled water on my laptop, or got pregnant. Just for Christ’s sake, tell me about it.
No matter what it is, I’ll be there for you. I’ll listen to you. Give me as much detail as you want, or as much detail is necessary for us to talk about it.
Even if you come to me and say you want to vote Republican, I’ll talk to you with a level voice. I swear it. Joking aside, I need to know what’s going on in your life so that I know you’re okay. So that I know that if there’s a potential for danger, I know about it and I’ll do something about it. Don’t get me wrong, just because I want to talk about it and hear you out doesn’t mean you can do whatever you want. But I know that I can’t stop you from doing certain things, so I’d rather know about it than have you keep me in the dark.
A lot of parents say they want to be their kid’s parent and friend. And I really do. But let’s talk to each other and set the limits.
Just talk to me. Trust me, and I’ll trust you.