Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

Parents:
“My parents won't let me do anything!”

Hey Terra,

I'm ticked off because my parents don't let me do anything. I still love them but they have to understand that I have grow up some day and they can't hold me back forever. First I thought that piercing my nose would be cool but I wouldn't wear the earring to school but they said "NO!!" Then I started to like rock music they said that I can't listen to that, Then I started to wear eyeliner and my mom was like "Take it off! Don't wear eyeliner!" Ohmigod, she even wears it, but she tattooed it on. And the bad thing is that my dad always and I mean ALWAYS has her back.

What can I do?

Ticked off

Dear Ticked off,

I hear that you love your parents and you're not intentionally trying to upset them. I also hear that you're trying to be yourself. But how can you express your individuality, if you mom and dad say "No, you can't do that"?

It's a great question and teens have been asking it for centuries. Part of growing up is being open to what's going on with your peers. That can help you figure out who you are as a separate person from your parents. Each generation needs to establish its own uniqueness. That's all very normal and natural.

It doesn't sound like you're doing anything harmful to yourself or others. So why are your parents having a problem with it?

It's impossible for me to say for sure, but some parents freak out when they see obvious signs (the eye-makeup and the nose piercing and the music) of their kids are growing into young adults. They don't want to "hold you back" but for lots of parents it's a little sad to know that childhood is ending and the close relationship you've had is changing. When you reach adulthood, you and your parents will still be close, but it will be a different because you won't be relying on them in the same ways you did when you were younger.

The eye-makeup and the nose piercing and the music may represent change to your parents, and that can be a little scary for them. Talk to them about this calmly, respectfully. Tell them that you love them and appreciate the good values that they've taught you. Let them know that wearing eye make-up and the rest is a "style". It's something that you like, but it doesn't mean that you'll stop being a person who makes good choices. Ask them what "styles" they liked when they were teens. Ask them if their parents (your grandparents) had any problems with the music they listened to or the clothes they wore.

Talk to them respectfully and thoughtfully. Share your point of view. Listen to what they say about how things were for them as teens. Find out how they feel now that they're parents of a teen. How has their viewpoint shifted? With this conversation you may find that some of the anger and resentment just disappears and you have a new understanding of each other.

In friendship,

Terra


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.


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