As a lot of you know, I’m a Wizard101 fanatic. I like this game for several reasons: (1) the game centers around a school of wizardry. Harry Potterish – yes, but the game is quite different. (2) I have met some really interesting people, both young and old, on this game, two of which turned out to be aspiring authors, and (3) I get to participate in a lot of online discussions with young people and teens (yes, they know I’m a parent).
Late last night I was playing the game when another player joined in a battle I was in. After we chatted for a while, moving from one level to the next in a dungeon, she said she was a teen, and then decided to tell me she was very, very angry with her mom because her mom snooped in her room and found some pot. Her mom also went through some other things in her room and took some things away. She couldn’t get over the fact that her mom was so disrespectful of her privacy and it wasn’t like she was “doing crack or something.”
I offered my ‘ear’ and listened, but gave no advice. You have to be careful in these online games. However, it got me thinking after I logged off. Part of me sympathized with her. I remember times as a teen feeling angry at my mom for reading my diary and going through my things, especially since I was a ‘good girl’. I didn’t smoke, drink, sneak out of the house. I was an honor roll kid, polite, a member of Who’s Who Among American High School Students. I was a goody two shoes. In that sense, I could relate to this poor girl’s feelings of betrayal. There should be a room in a home where kids can go and feel safe, that their things are their things.
But then the mom in me kicked in. Her mom was probably worried, scared. She probably noticed a change in her daughter that she couldn’t pin point. Maybe her mom tried to talk to her and the daughter withdrew. Maybe there was a horrible relationship there to begin with. Maybe, mom is just a snoop and wanted to know everything and anything going on in her daughter’s life.
My mom told me once:
“You live in my house. You have no privacy.”
That always stuck with me. “You live in my house.” To a teen, that one word ‘my’ can make one feel so isolated, like a visitor in your own home. I remember thinking then, “I thought this was our home.” Sad thing is, I’ve said the same thing to my kids, but I digress.
To the young girl online and to all other teens, please listen up. Parents aren’t perfect. We make mistakes. We say things perhaps we shouldn’t say, but there is one thing that holds steady for 99% of us – we love you. We care about you and what happens to you. Sometimes we have to rely on our gut instincts, especially if our kids aren’t honest and opening up to us. Don’t get me wrong. I totally get it. I was a teen once, too. That’s why you as a teen are at such a disadvantage. You can’t see both sides of the coin. While it may make you angry that your parents snoop and interfere, try to imagine your life with parents who didn’t care what you did or where you went or who you went with. Love makes us do some extreme things. Our only thoughts are to keep you safe. And while we know we can’t protect you from everything, that doesn’t stop us from trying.
As for the pot: I’m not going to preach. I’d be a liar to say I didn’t try it when I got older. I can’t tell you I didn’t get involved with the wrong crowd in my early 20s. I can’t say I didn’t do other drugs I wish I hadn’t done. There was a time in my life I felt so alone, like there was no way out. A time when I felt no one loved me or needed me. A time when I wanted to forget…to not feel the pain.
But I was wrong. Oh, God, how I was wrong. To all you precious, unique and beautiful teens…you may think pot is okay, but it’s not. It’s a band aid, sweetheart. Getting high, whether with drugs or alcohol, is not the answer. I know. I’ve been there. If you can’t talk to your parents about what’s bugging you, find someone you can talk to. Drugs aren’t the answer. Believe me. Someday you’ll meet someone who cares about you and loves you, and someday you will have children of your own. Someday, you’ll understand what it means to love someone so much that you would lay down your life to protect him or her. That’s the life of a parent. That’s the pain we live with every day. We worry. We love. We care.
Please, don’t be angry for our interfering. Instead, be thankful you have someone who loves you enough to interfere. You are blessed more than you know. I wish you all the best. (((hugs))).