Wednesday, June 10, 2009

That Bitter Struggle for Independence

As I mulled in an earlier post, 17 is a weird age. You don't get a whole lot of new privileges (though that blood donor thing is pretty damn exciting, lemme tell you), but you're still stuck in this awkward stage between teenagerdom and adulthood. One of the big pains that comes with that is the battle for independence.

Seriously, this one rivals that whole "Revolutionary War" skirmish everybody gets all in a tizzy about. What I'm talking about is the bloody, impassioned, no-holds-barred struggle between parents and teenagers for their independence. At 17, that battle gets so much more complicated.

In just a little over 400 days, I will be off to college (please NYU or UCLA), and because of this, my parents have hit the stage of parenthood I like to call "MY BABY'S LEAVING!!!" In this stage, commonly rational parents have the tendency to, simply, lose it. Not their fault. They're faced with the idea of losing their flesh and blood to a harsh, cruel world that they seemingly haven't prepared their progenee for. To be sure, my parents have done a wonderful job of raising me, avoiding almost every pratfall parents are destined to hit. They've raised me to be an adult. Yet even with this in mind, facing this change, all rationale goes "Bye Bye, Birdie."

I, as a teenager, am also locked in a stage I have termed "Get Out My Face," in which I want to do my own thing, have my cake and eat it too, and cry at my party if I want to. I know that my parents are doing for me exactly what they should be doing with their sole motivation being their undying love and devotion to me, but even still, I'm just being a brat.

These two stages, when mixed, have a deadly reaction I call "Vesuvius II." Simply because the two states are so highly dangerous when combined, the reaction formed is poisonous and can kill an otherwise healthy parent/child relationship. Though everyone involved has the same basic goal, our methods differ, and our bond suffers for it.

...what? You were expecting some solution here? Oh, God, you can't really expect me to come up with the solution to Vesuvius II on a BLOG? *Sigh* Okay, here's what I got. Understanding each others' motives is Step One. Truthfully, when you know that the other person is really not in it to win it, but simply to do what's best for you, it's a lot easier to get along. Also, try to negotiate a middle ground. Parents should still have a say in what their kids do, but make sure they know you need to take control of your life. say that didn't work? Hey, I'm not God. Your results may vary. And sometimes, the struggle is vastly different. But the fundamental rules apply. Your parents, for better or worse, are two (+/-, not trying to be insensitive) of the best friends you've got. Plus, they put up with a lot. Don't take them for granted, and don't lose them to Vesuvius II. Because, as my mom so aptly put it when I was four days old, "My baby's gonna leave!" And as my dad even more succintly put it, "Not tomorrow."

No, not tomorrow, Dad. But the tomorrows are running out.

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