What I Wish My Parents Knew Before Raising Me
My parents have no idea what Instagram is. They’ve heard of it, but like most things popularized in my generation, they’ve chosen to simply disregard it.
My parents have no idea what Snapchat is. The only time they ever mentioned it was when they awkwardly asked me if I used it, after having watched a news segment about teenagers using the app for sexting.
The only social networks they use are Facebook and LinkedIn so they can tag photos of me at family dinners or give me glowing recommendations.
My parents and many others like them have a hard time adapting to the ever-evolving culture of social inferences and memes; they lack the patience to understand what it’s like to live life in the cultural perspective of their children, a culture that’s grown increasingly self-seeking and gratification-driven towards Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or one of the million other social networks.
They don’t care or refuse to partake in the culture that defines their children’s upbringing and because of this will cause the gap between their relationship growing increasingly wide, with the common ground between them becoming increasingly small. As they remain stuck in a culture that’s regressive, their children are spending year after year on social platforms learning, acquiring, digesting new knowledge current with the constantly changing internet culture.
And with that, the lack of common interest that arises from the emerging chasm of the parent-child relationship sparks what they call the ‘rebellious’ phase all because the parent has a hard time understanding why it is their child chose to make the choices they did for the reasons they claimed.
I appreciate everything my parents have done for me, but in retrospect, I think — had they tried embracing my culture and worked on finding ways to relate to me, I would’ve been a lot less rebellious in my teenage years and there would’ve been a lot less secrets between us.
They say parents always have our best interests at heart; it is their duty to safeguard us, keep us from harm and provide for us until we’re able to provide for ourselves, or so they say, ‘finally leave the nest.” But oftentimes, those best interests aren’t our best interests; instead, they’re reflections of our parent’s experiences overlapped and imposed upon us. They’re retrospects of the parent’s own lives, what they wished they were taught to make up for their missed opportunities as children.
How many of us have taken piano lessons, not because we wanted to, but because our parents thought it was better for us? And how many of us have taken those piano lessons without ever understanding why it was that we took those piano lessons in the first place?
We’re given no answer when we ask except for the fact that it’s good for us. Is it really for us, or is it for them, because piano lessons were something that they wish they had in their own childhood? Somewhere in their past, they learned that piano lessons were a good thing for a child’s development and so they wish that experience upon us because it was either what they had done or lacked, in their own childhood. They drew from their own experience and knowledge from their lives in order to build upon the future of ours.
I love my parents and am grateful for everything they’ve done for me, but I hope that for my sake, for my children’s sake, if I have children, when I have children, I’ll remember this post I’ve written. I hope I’ll remember that not only is it important to adapt and embrace the culture changes brought forth by each generation but to raise kids by giving them perspective into the decisions I make for them, regardless of their maturity.
Even if they don’t understand why it is that I do what I do at that moment, at least I’ll have tried to explain and years later, when they understand more easily and remember that I’ve been there for them all along, in their shoes, that’s enough for me. It’ll have been my chance, my opportunity to stand by them, relate to them and attempt to understand them. It is our duty to go beyond our obligations of a parent; we have to immerse ourselves in their culture and their upbringing for their sake, and for ours.
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