On my 18th birthday, I marched into the Piercing Pagoda at my local mall and had one gold stud punched into each earlobe. I also bought myself a cell phone with a plan. A couple of months later, I had my first boyfriend.
18 was the year I couldn’t wait for.
I grew up in a bubble.
My mother, scared my sister and I would turn into a “worldly” people, sheltered us throughout our youth. There was no secular movies or television allowed in our home and we were only allowed to listen to gospel music. Our conversation about boys was basically that they were the devil and on top of all of those things, it felt like there was a suffocating degree of control over my every movement.
No matter how much I participated in the church dance group, attended bible study, or youth conferences, it seemed like I was just short of the ‘salvation’ that was hung above my head.
Whatever I did, it wasn’t quite good enough.
I was nowhere near perfect- I was a fiery adolescent with a bold opinion at the least. But I wasn’t bad either. I never succumbed to peer pressure, I was self-motivated, got good grades and even obeyed my parents wishes not to date.
That was until I reached 18…
When I turned 18 I had enough of it and they had enough too. I got “wild” and bought myself a cell phone and had my ears pierced that day and it further increased the tension between myself and my parents. One evening, at 10 pm, I returned home from a date and was kicked out on the spot.
I was neither surprised or upset.
I was just numb.
After that, everything my mother had tried to ‘save’ me from, I walked into the arms of it.
Deep down, I think her desire to control me came from a good place. She didn’t want us to get hurt, but the effect of her control was hurtful in itself.
Too much control often results in the opposite effect desired.
Because people, yes even kids, want to be free.
And that doesn’t mean let them run rampant in the streets. For me, it means providing an environment of love, tolerance, and acceptance. And yes, they need structure too, but the biggest thing I wanted as a child was to be heard and nudged, not coerced into the right direction.
So as a parent myself now, I have to work on undoing the things that were drilled into my head. There were generations of parenting before my parents raised me and I realize if I want something different for my kids, it starts and stops with me.
Thank you for reading!