I had some challenges today.
Without going into it all, I'll say that it made me glad for my life, and especially for my relationship with my kids.
We aren't perfect.
But it's a lot better than some I've seen out there.
I have a young friend, who at 16 has already decided what she wants to do with her life, and has a job doing it. She has had this job for over two years, and has progressed in responsibility and in skill.
Sounds great, right?
Unfortunately, her parents aren't happy about it.
They want her to quit work and focus on school, so she can graduate and go to college.
Neither of which she has the slightest interest in doing.
For some reason, they are blind to the fact that she is already working, already doing what she wants to do. She doesn't need to spend some number of years doing things she DOESN'T want to do, in order to get "old enough" to figure out what she wants to do.
My challenge is this:
How do I support this friend without creating more conflict in her relationship with her parents?
Part of the problem is that I think her parents, although decent, loving people, are misguided.
They have priorities, opinions, and parenting practices that are extremely different from and opposed to mine.
I see it making my young friend miserable, and yet, there is little to nothing I can do about it.
They aren't going to seek my advice, nor listen to it given unasked.
In addition to things at home being challenging for my friend, things at school are even worse. Again, I won't go into detail, but it's WAY worse than when I was in high school. I am thanking my lucky stars that my kids didn't go there. I can't imagine sending a child there- but most parents locally do.
It is very uncomfortable for me to see the differences between the relationship I have with my kids, contrasted with "typical" parent-teen-young-adult relationships. I see so many ways that people could just let go, lay off, relax, and have much happier and productive lives, but most people won't even consider it.
On the other hand, it sure makes me grateful for what I have. No joke.