“You don’t understand anything because you’re not with me all the time,” I shout. This is the end of yet another screeching contest with my mother, and after this is shouted, I can’t help going into banshee-mode. I storm upstairs, throw my door open and begin furiously hurling pillows and other objects around my room.
I don’t understand why my mom is so narrow-minded and unwilling to listen to anything I have to say. I kick a book, its pages fluttering in a frenzy, and watch with satisfaction as it hits a cabinet. I have a valid point, but just because she’s the adult, she thinks she’s right and I’m young and dumb and wrong. I fling a tiny pink box from my bedside table, and it sails through the air and hits the window. She thinks that because she pays for my school, she has the right to chart my life.
I begin to calm but then it makes me more infuriated and so with one fluid motion, I sweep everything off my bookshelf. I flop on my bed and stare at the fan as its blades cut perfect circles. Why is talking with my parents so difficult? Why do I always end up apologizing? Now, in a greater pit of despair, I begin yanking medals off my shelf and listen to the angry thuds they make as they hit the floor. At this, the most dramatic point in my tantrum, my mother walks in, but this time she has a secret weapon. She hands me a book. Oh, I can tell what it is already by the banana-yellow cover and cheerful pictures of people dressed in clothing circa 1985. It’s How to Really Love your Teen.
I fight the impulse to leap out the window. My mom has been after me to look at this stupid book for weeks, but I have remained stubborn in my protest not to read a book that instructs parents how to do something they should already know how to do. Unable to hide my pained expression, I take it and say, “Fine, I’ll read it.”
“Out loud, right now,” she responds. This is too awful, but I agree in hopes of avoiding another fight. I slump moodily in a chair and begin. Although I may have conceded to my mother’s will, no way am I going to be completely subjected to this torture. So, I read really quickly and in a monotone until I finally get so annoyed with myself, I throw my arms up and just read. But, something strange happens as I read. I realize that Dr. Perfect Family, and perfect career and perfect life actually makes sense. As much as I don’t want to believe it, I can relate to a lot of the situations in the book.
After I finish the chapter, my mom and I talk calmly about why we are mad at each other. I feel almost a hundred percent better and extremely relieved. I talk about how I can work on ways of handling anger, and she agrees to work on how she handles it, too. I think we’re both slowly improving. Most importantly, I discovered what really matters to me. Communication and understanding are the two most important things for me and other teens in their relationships with their parents. I felt much, much better after talking to my mom, and I know that our relationship is definitely making steps in a good direction.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.