This is Life, Based on a True Story  

Making of an angry parent

“Why are people your age always so mad at people our age?”

That was the question my 16-year-old threw at me while I was ranting at her and her brother.

Thank God there was no thought bubble above my head when she asked that.

Let me lay the groundwork.

I’d left my kids a list of chores to be done while I was at work. The basics — empty the dishwasher and reload it, clean the cat litter, bathrooms, vacuum, etc.

When I arrived home nine hours later, the only thing they’d accomplished was getting the mail.

Not only that, but they each blamed the other for not doing their share of the list. Then, my son had the gall to ask me what was for supper while I was still counting everything they hadn’t managed to do.

So I flipped out. While I was revving up about them needing to be more responsible and grow up, my daughter sarcastically posed that question.

I actually spluttered at that point. And knew instantly I had my next column idea.

Well, my dear, you asked so let me tell you. It’s because your age group can be total asses sometimes.

As is my style, I also posed this question to my parental peers. Not because I didn’t have enough of my own material to write this column 10 times over, but because I wanted the reassurance I’m not the only angry parent out there.

Response came swiftly and was eerily similar — almost as if parents were in a secret parent chamber comparing notes.

The kids see our frustration. But they honestly don’t seem to get the reasons behind it.

To them, we’re just grouchy people who never want them to have fun.

So if you’re reading this and have kids who cause you to feel angry at times, have them read it too. Hopefully it will help them better understand your “madness.”

I loved that many parents said it’s not that we're mad at our kids; we’re concerned. Perhaps even bewildered at the lack of common sense displayed by some youth.

And it’s probably no different from how our parents felt raising us.

It’s the old adage: use our mistakes to learn from. Despite our best efforts, our offspring argue and insist we don’t know what we're talking about. And to parents, this plays out as disrespect.

There is such an apparent lack of respect for parents, teachers, bosses and other authority figures. Every single parent, myself included, expressed anger at the back-talk, swearing, lying, eye rolling and outright tuning us out with technology.

Skipping classes, arguing with the teacher, not doing homework or studying for exams also topped the list. Which leads me to my next point.

And for this, I’m addressing the kids directly…

Yes, it is important that you get good grades and do your homework and attend class — even the ones you don’t like. Because guess what? You don’t get to do only the stuff you like in the real world.

You’ll be required to do whatever the job entails or your boss tells you to do. Oh, and you can’t tell them to “just hang on” or “I’ll do it in a sec.”

This life is competitive and if you think just eking by in school will launch you into a top-rated university and onto immediate success, you’re in for the reality check of a lifetime.

And yes, a post-secondary education is highly valued, even if you’re planning to be self-employed.

Plus, college/university will be one of the most fun times in your life. We don’t want you to miss out on that experience just because you don’t feel like studying now.

As parents, we don’t understand your lackadaisical attitude. Why don’t you care as much about your future as we do? 

My fear is we’ve made it too easy for you to not care. We pay your phone bills, help with car insurance, gas money and take you on fantastic trips that most of us parents didn’t get to experience until just recently.

And we had to save to take these trips — with you and your siblings no less. If I’m wrong, then please, prove it.

I should have actually led with this one since it was the No. 1 answer by everyone — the sense of entitlement. It’s quite incredible to witness how so many kids, teens and young adults expect something for nothing.

But again, did we make it too easy for kids to be this way? Think back to when your kids were young and you’d be toting them around Wal-Mart.

My bet is on almost every trip you took to a store, your child didn’t leave empty handed. All they had to do was cry a bit.

I’m afraid we may have manifested this one ourselves. However, at some point the kids need to ante up and start taking on that accountability waiting to be claimed.

In wrapping this rant up, one parent summed up beautifully why we struggle with not being mad.

“Because they’re at a stage in life where we expect them to act like adults because they look like one and talk like one and do so many adult things.

Somewhere in there, we forget they’re still kids and while we expect all the adult behaviour, we don't and can't give the adult responsibility they so desperately want and fight for.”

This column is in no way intended to run kids down. It was to answer my daughter’s question.

But seriously, kids have a hard enough task trying to figure out the world and, as parents, we just want to raise a generation we can proud of.

And once in a while, a good vent is needed. Both to be said and to be heard.


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About the Author

Tanya Gunderson has been writing for the heck of it for many years. Her inspiration comes from her kids, their friends and the craziness of life. She takes great pleasure in exposing life for what it really is and has an open-book approach to her writing.

Her formal education and background include a blink-and-you miss-it stint in the radio and television industry, but it gave her an opportunity to write professionally on a few different occasions.

Email: [email protected]



The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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