Meet my best friend: my mom

Unusual for most students, my mom and I talk openly about my problems.

Hayley Battenberg

I love my parents. But more than that, I like them too.

But I seem to be the only teenager who thinks that parents can double as friends.

I’ve had people tell me they hate me because I tell my mom almost everything that goes on in my life. My friends think it’s weird that I like to spend Friday nights at home on occasion, and, sometimes, I actually enjoy family activities. I have been openly teased because I like my parents enough to be friends with them. I would like to ask these fellow peers of mine why they think families have to be so separated from friends?

Sure, friends understand particular situations better than parents, but the majority of time parents can relate to what you’re going through. They were teenagers once, too. Had a fight with your best friend? They get it. Going through a rough patch in your love life? They know all about that. Worried about your future, what college you’ll go to, what classes you’ll be able to handle or how to fix that low grade in math? They can sympathize. And, most of the time, they are more than willing to give what advice they can.

My mother is in on practically every detail of my life, and I like it that way. She’s helped me through some tough times in my life, and now she feels that she can trust me because of the decisions she knows I’ve made. We can talk about problems I’m having with my drug-user friends, my sexually-active buds and those teens who relentlessly make awful decisions.

She judges, as any parent would, but she keeps those thoughts to herself and treats these friends of mine like she knows nothing besides how wonderful their algebra grade is or how amazing they are at baby-sitting. That’s because she and I have such a strong enough relationship that she knows I wouldn’t surround myself with people who could get me into trouble. Sure, they could get themselves into a huge mess, but I can keep myself separated from their issues.

I will admit however, that, on occasion, there is nothing I would like more than to trade families with one of my classmates. I would swap moms so I would get the exciting and flaky parent, and they’d get the overly-cautious and paranoid one. I would be able to stay out however late I wanted, sleep at whoever’s house I chose and do whatever pleased my adolescent brain, no consequences.

But then I remember all of the moments when my parents look at me and tell me how proud of me they are, the times when I realize that if my mom had let me go to that party or that concert, I would have ended up just like all the deadbeats that make me cringe. I think of the instances when my dad puts his arm around my shoulders and just smiles at me. I wouldn’t have these memories if I wasn’t honest and respectful with my family.

It’s not always easy telling them 100 percent of the truth every day. Sometimes I feel that parts of my life should remain for my eyes only. I don’t think they need to know each grade I get on my assignments, some of which are pitiful. They don’t need to rehash all of my weekend activities and they don’t even need to know where and how much of my money I spend. I do have boundaries for what I will and won’t tell my parents, but those boundary lines are drawn pretty far back.

You can look at your family as a nuisance, or as a blessing. They may not let you stay out until 2 a.m., but that’s because they don’t trust the sorts of people who are out at that hour. You might get grounded because you’re failing chemistry, which isn’t hard to do, but they ground you because they want you to live up to your potential. They are constantly looking out for your best interests, the way your best buds would. They just show it in a different way.

If you are lucky enough to have a family who loves you, you shouldn’t push them away or dismiss them as people you are stuck with until your 18th birthday. You should appreciate them right back, let them into your life and show them that you are grateful for their concern.