I see it every day, I’m not sure why it happens. Parents openly let their kids smoke, drink in excess while underage, and sometimes go so far as to allow them to do drugs recreationally. It’s disheartening to see, some parents try so hard to be “cool” in the eyes of their children that they don’t take the time to actually raise their kids. Some parents choose to live like they’re a teenager for their entire lives and don’t take responsibility as they grow older and start their families. In this day and age, some parents would rather be a friend to their children than a parent.
Growing up, I’ve had my fair share of arguments with my parents. My parents wouldn’t let me get away with much, there were punishments when I did wrong, and most of the time I thought the punishments were unfair. Meanwhile, I had friends who had lenient parents, they were allowed to do whatever they wanted and could get away with virtually anything. Many of my friends in the past lived in a consequence free environment.
As a kid, I wished my parents were easier on me the way my friends’ parents were. Each year went by, and I saw how we progressed. Many of these friends with consequence free environments fell far from where they were, and I found myself distancing myself from them. They started smoking, they did drugs, they were on the verge of alcoholism. They were destroying their own lives, and their parents did nothing to intervene.
Witnessing the downward spiral of these people I once called my friends, I started to realize that my parents only were as hard on me as they were because they cared. The times I’d complain that “so-and-so’s parents let them do it” they laughed inside knowing that the day would come where I’d start to appreciate them being a lot harder on me than the other parents.
One of the moments of realization for me came just a few months ago. I had just walked the stage as a college graduate, the first in my entire family history. It was such a proud and defining moment of my life. As I walked out of the car dressed to the nines with my family about to head inside of the local steakhouse to celebrate a moment of success, I noticed someone out of the corner of my eye…an old friend.
He was sitting on the ground outside of the steakhouse, wearing a hoodie covered in dirt and grime. He looked as if he hadn’t showered in days, his hair was a mess, bags under his eyes, and had half of a lit black and mild sticking out of his mouth. Someone that I once considered a close friend was now a burnout, and that’s when it clicked.
For years, when I complained that my parents were very hard on me everyone always said “but look how you turned out” and now it made sense. Just five years ago, the kid standing in front of me was one of my best friends. We were equals, both with a world of opportunity in front of us. I had discipline and was pushed to further my education and become somebody. I was raised to work hard and accomplish something greater than anything my parents had ever done. He was raised in a household where he could do whatever he wanted and the results were shocking.
There are always exceptions, some people loathe having parents that don’t act like parents. I know a few who wish their parents acted their age instead of partying like a college freshman. Those people rise above the situation they’re stuck in and become a great success. Unfortunately, a lot of the time the children suffer because of the parents refusing to act like parents.
I have had some of my work published on here, and I have had some of the writing I turn in never see the light of day. If this article does make it online, I have one thing to say to my parents: thank you. Thank you for pushing me so hard as a kid. Thank you for all the times you didn’t just let me do whatever. Thank you for the times you yelled at me when I slipped up, and for pushing me to be the best I can be. I am sorry for the times that I was a stubborn hardheaded preteen but like you always tell me, look how I turned out. Thank you mom and dad, for being my parents instead of my friends.