Oh ignorant parent of mine, there is only thing I will say to you. And that is I’m not 5 years old any more. And if you can’t face that, you’re the child. And if you think that I’m still a child, tough. It’s time to break it to you, and I don’t think breaking it gently is going to help…
When you leave the house for a couple of hours, you give us 500 thousand million instructions, 90% of which you would hope I would have learnt from surviving to be 17 on Planet Earth. The useful 10% comes from the debrief about the washing machine and which button does what. That, and the all-useful “Here’s the emergency money”. The other 90%… for instance, I will not forget to eat because you haven’t told me. I won’t forget to wear a coat if I leave the house. No, I don’t intend to freeze myself for fun, although it has to be said it is a rare form of entertainment. I won’t forget my shoes either, when have I EVER forgotten my shoes? I will not forget to switch off the oven, although if the house burns down that would be good entertainment. And NO, I am not watching TV! Sound familiar? Yes, dear parent. We understand your increasing need to micromanage our activity so you can feel like the adult, but at one point it’s just too much to take. It is one thing to be the adult, and another to be a deranged, controlling psycho-maniac.
And when we venture into the dangerous land of the “outside world”, you cannot make yourself believe that we will ever have the skill to survive. I can find the bus stop without you escorting me, for my “safety” (Yes, because hobos live down my street and rather asking for money they find it more rewarding to attack defenceless young people walking by?). I can get on the right bus without falling, hurting my head and consequently suffering a coma, would you believe it? I can, yes, find my way back home even after its dark. The house doesn’t morph to form an igloo at night and mighty thanks to Edison for the invention of bulb, I won’t even need night vision. I won’t contract swine flu on the way because invisible germs have been sitting on me. I won’t die of a cold although I will pretend to, just to take the piss, and NO, me and my study buddy are not watching TV! What is this stereotype about teenagers watching TV all the time anyways?!
In some ways it makes sense. Even in the natural world, the animal will look after its offspring with over-protective care. Have you seen a cat around its new-born kitten. It’s viciously protective. And yes, it is parental instinct to protect your child, but not to the extent to never letting us grow up. Parents merely assume that they know best. What a load of crap. Parents, you are just as flawed as us, and it’s about time you faced it. Just because you have been around for longer, does not make you instantly wise or flawless. Seriously have you seen yourself drive? Or run a red light, or get a speeding ticket? As I was saying, just as flawed. My all-time favourite is the omniscient and smug “You don’t know it. But you’re still a child”. Is that right? Surely I can’t be old enough to take on the physically exhausting and mentally scarring task of cleaning my room?