What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger

Every parent would tell you the teenage years are such a joy. There are so many theories and explanations about why it is the way it is, effectively way more complicated than what it should be. Our kids’ body changes, the hormones kick in, the social pressure at school is a big thing, which all results in the attitude they bring home from their away-from-home experiences. This is where everything seems to be over-complicated. Add to that the online social networks and we got a much wider problem, because now it’s not only the other school kids we have to worry about, it’s the world wide web. The exposure to adult material, the risk of being virtually approached by seriously dangerous people, and the availability to post something they will most definitely regret down the line.

How did we get to that point, where it is just hard to have a proper conversation with my own child? To chat about how was your day and what have you done and who were you with and so on. Very short answers, if any answer at all. But what hits me the most is the lack of joy on his face when I raise those questions, trying to encourage a positive conversation, but finding an unhappy soul on the other end.

Life as a teenager can be quite complicated. But it doesn’t have to be like that. It is the age where so many things that do not matter to us adults anymore, are the most important things in their lives. How you look, what you wear, which brands you’ve got, what other people say about you, and how you react to comments from sometimes nasty peers or teachers. It takes time until you build your confidence to be able to filter out all that noise and focus on the right things. You’re still trying to figure out what are the right things, and you naturally don’t listen to the advice you get from your parents, coz what do they know about how you feel. Indeed, it seems like life in a high school environment can be very intimidating, competitive and frustrating.

In addition, it is the age where the young adults are looking to disconnect from the arms of their parents and become independent, hence why they tend to reject any attempts to share their stories and feelings about everyday experiences. And when we try to approach and encourage them to tell us what’s happening and how did they go today at school and plans for tomorrow etc, they will shrug you off saying you are asking too many questions. So I figured, if they don’t want to listen to us, we might just leave them a note. And here it is:

Dear son,

I owe you so much, because you have changed my life, forever. When you were born and joined me and your mum, you made me a Father and made us a Family. You turned my life into something with meaning. Up until that moment, I only thought about myself and focused on material things, career and leisure time to try and consume what life has to offer as quickly as possible. As if it’s a disposable product.

But then, once you arrived you taught me what real happiness is and how one little smile can bring tears of joy instantly. We were so grateful and you have earned our unconditional love. I found what real happiness is, nothing was fake anymore, looking at you and how pure you are. We found the meaning of life, caring for our own child, raising a family and taking those baby steps together with you, learning every step of the way about you and your personality, about us and how life is shaping up when we transition into parenthood. I still think what I thought back then in those early days, that being a parent is the highlight of my life, my main role, a privilege and a commitment, and I wouldn’t replace it with anything else.

And so, life has its challenges as we all grow up. Babies turn into toddlers and young kids, then they become young adults. While we as parents also grow older and wiser, we’re here to care and provide protection and a guiding hand. So how good would it be if we also maintain a true friendship between us rather than just a parent-child relationship. You might not see or appreciate it now, but your parents are there for you every step of the way and will always be no matter what. This is our obligation, however parents don’t do it because they have to, we do it because we love you and want to see you happy, confident and shining. Life has its ups and downs, the key is to always be positive and keep aiming to make things better, communicate with the closest people to you as they are there to assist. Any problem can be solved, so don’t keep it to yourself, it is so important to share your feelings, concerns and issues that keep you worried or upset.

Life is a journey, and if you let your family be part of this journey we can help you keep it safe and fun. We have worked so hard to create good memories during your childhood, allowing you to enjoy the experiences and grow as a kind, confident and happy individual. Friends come and go, especially at this age, specifically at high school. All the kids are going through the same process, and unfortunately some kids are taking it the wrong way. Different personalities have different approaches. I wish everybody were nice to each other, but unfortunately that’s not the way it works. However, looking at the positives, this is actually a good preparation for life as an adult. There is a lot of show-off at this stage, but that doesn’t last for long, it will fade out sooner or later.

Try and use the basic skills we have taught you, come and seek our advice, and together we can make it through this stage in life, which could be tough but should be fun. Life is what you make of it.

Forever Love You,
Dad.

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Stand a little taller
Doesn’t mean I’m lonely when I’m alone
What doesn’t kill you makes a fighter
Footsteps even lighter
Doesn’t mean I’m over ’cause you’re gone

Kelly Clarkson

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