At just the time your parents want you to be most sure of their love, they are convinced that you think they don't care.
Where you feel like an adult trapped in a child's world, they feel like a young person trapped in an adult's world.
I want you to know that your parents need you more now than ever, and, believe it or not, you need them more than ever too.
Dear Young Friend,
I don't know you, and you don't know me. But you're much like my own newly adult children, and I'm much like your own midlife parents.
In fact, I'm writing this letter on your mom's and dad's behalf. These are the things they would like to tell you if they could.
First of all, they want you to know that they really do understand what you're feeling, regardless of how it seems. You see, in many ways teens and midlifers are alike.
Believe it or not, your parents feel misunderstood just like you do. Like you, they feel that nobody really knows them anymore--not their spouse, their boss, even their friends. They too feel that their actions are misjudged and their motives, misinterpreted.
In fact, they feel you don't understand them either. At just the time your parents want you to be most sure of their love, they are convinced that you think they don't care. That frustrates them a lot; it makes them sad, and sometimes angry.
Like you, they get angry often, and for the same reasons you do. Sometimes you feel that those in authority over you just want to hold you back, to limit your fun and freedom in life.
At midlife, your parents are wrestling with the same limitations. Where you feel like an adult trapped in a child's world, they feel like a young person trapped in an adult's world.
Part of what they feel toward you is jealousy. They wish they could be young again too. They envy your youth and the wide range of opportunities stretching before you.
They also fear for you. They know what it's like to waste youth's opportunities. They know that the worst consequence of a bad choice is wasted years--and they know just how precious those years will be to you someday.
This is why they're especially tough on drugs and sex. They know that
foolish decisions in these areas can steal years from your life.
Fear is something you feel too. Your body is changing quickly, and your sexual desires are awakening. Suddenly, it is very important to be liked, especially by the opposite sex. Fear of rejection by your friends is what makes you want to dress and act like everyone else, even if this means rebelling against your parents' and even your own values.
Your mom and dad understand this. Their bodies are experiencing changes also. And, yes, your parents still care about sex (you will too at their age).
They are afraid of losing their attractiveness and the love and acceptance of their friends. Like you they need the consistent support of family to remind them they are beautiful and valuable people.
In fact, this is why I'm writing this letter. I want you to know that your parents need you more now than ever, and, believe it or not, you need them more than ever too.
For both teens and midlifers need one thing more than any other: hope. They each need to know that there is life on the other side of their life change. They need to know that those they love most will stick with them through the crisis.
I'm sure your parents are going to stand by you. And I bet you stand by them too. I hope both of you will tell each other so often.
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