When we were children, our parents were essentially our heroes. However, as we approached the teen years, our desire to be “cool” took over. Along with that perception, we began to disregard our parents’ forewarnings. Cue the excessive eye-rolling, door slamming, and “Whatever”s.
I can imagine that our parents miss those days immensely.
Although I often failed to take their advice to heart at the time, several of my parents’ admonitions were particularly important. Looking back now, it probably would have been beneficial to take them into consideration.
1. “Quit before you need to.”
This is my mom’s all-time favorite phrase, and my sisters and I have always mocked her for it. However, since we have all ended up in compromising situations as a result of “Give me another shot – I’m like, completely sober right now”? Well, looks like Mom’s getting the last laugh.
Knowing your limits as a teenager isn’t exactly a piece of cake. Considering that my friends and I willingly drank Burnett’s to pregame football games, we weren’t exactly alcohol aficionados. Reflecting on the questionable decisions and general debauchery of high school weekends, taking my mom’s suggestion wouldn’t have really been the worst idea in the world.
Once you finally master the art of pacing yourself when drinking, you may be surprised to find how much more enjoyable going out is. Waking up and not automatically feeling impending shame for what you may or may not have done the night before? That’s not so bad either.
2. “Don’t leave it all until the last minute.”
Both of my parents began telling me this back in the first grade, and I don’t think it ever really fully clicked until I was about 20.
We’ve all succumbed to the roadblock of procrastination at some point in our lives. After all, sometimes wasting time looking at memes on the Internet is just much more appealing than tackling that 10-page research paper. However, although all-nighters were entirely acceptable in college (and achievable – thanks, Adderall), putting things off constantly isn’t exactly the best way to go through life.
I used to be the most disorganized mess when it came to schoolwork. My neat-freak dad would nearly have a heart attack when he saw my backpack filled with scattered papers, and not a folder or binder in sight. Now that I’m pretty organized and responsible (well mostly, anyway), I’ve learned that the repercussions of leaving something until the last minute are just so not worth it. As difficult as planning ahead can be, you’ll always be glad you did.
3. “Don’t dig your own hole.”
This was my dad’s famous phrase, which he typically fired at me when I was already in trouble, yet continuing to argue and making it worse. Although this may be a slightly morbid approach, the lesson is still valid.
As teenagers, we didn’t exactly take criticism well. We refused to accept that our grades were bad, insisting that “The whole class failed that test” or “She just doesn’t know how to teach.” However, consistently arguing back just made our parents angrier, and more likely to extend our punishment.
In a way, this phrase can actually be applied to many areas of life. When you are already in a negative or difficult situation, try not to “dig yourself any deeper.” So maybe you messed up some important spreadsheet at work. Don’t aggravate the dilemma by attempting to cover up your error, or by blaming it on the dude that always steals your stapler. Or maybe your boyfriend is annoyed at you because “5 more minutes” turned into 30 (Winged eyeliner – enough said), and now you’re late for the movie. This isn’t the shining moment to point out that he chose the movie last time, and you feel that he’s being insensitive.
4. “Look at the sales rack first.”
My mom is the ultimate bargain shopper, and tried her best to instill the same values in me growing up. Naturally, I always managed to parade past the sales rack and grab the most ridiculously over-priced dress imaginable. I would then proceed to wear the dress to one sweet 16 party, and then be done with it forever. Smart shopping at its finest?
I now refrain from making fun of my mom’s excessive couponing. Budgeting early on is clearly the way to go, which I unfortunately realized all too late. If I had followed my mom’s spending mantras back in the day, managing my own finances wouldn’t have been such an initial struggle.
Although I often promptly ignored my parents’ advice throughout my teen years, I now see how advantageous these seemingly silly phrases can be. Now whenever I’m in a potentially troublesome situation, I make a conscious effort to remember my parents’ words. No matter how much your parents may have cramped your style growing up, you’ll eventually discover that they always know best.