This essay touched a colleague’s heart, and she asked me to share it on The PediaBlog. If you happen to be a parent going through the angst and drama — or the fear and uncertainty — of raising a teenager, I hope these words — from a suffering teenager to a suffering parent — reach you, too:
This is the letter that I wish I could write.
This fight we are in right now. I need it. I need this fight. I can’t tell you this because I don’t have the language for it and it wouldn’t make sense anyway. But I need this fight. Badly. I need to hate you right now and I need you to survive it. I need you to survive my hating you and you hating me. I need this fight even though I hate it too. It doesn’t matter what this fight is even about: curfew, homework, laundry, my messy room, going out, staying in, leaving, not leaving, boyfriend, girlfriend, no friends, bad friends. It doesn’t matter. I need to fight you on it and I need you to fight me back…
You can read the rest of Gretchen Schmelzer’s essay, “Parent’s Corner: The Letter Your Teenager Can’t Write You,” here. And whatever you do — however loud and ugly things might get between you and your teen — never give up on them.
(Back pat: Leslie Soloshatz, MD)