Breaking the battle for independence of self

    How involvement creates an efficient outlet for teenage individualism

    Imagine you are a freshmen. No car. No license. In some homes, this results in a trapped feeling of having no freedom.

    In the highschool student population at large half of the students lack driver’s licenses and the majority lack cars of their own to drive on a regular basis.

    My point being that most of the faces in the hallway lack an essential way to get out of the house.

    I know that I did as a freshman.

    I was under the impression that my parents would not be able to give me a ride to and from sports. Despite this, I did not want to spend most of my time at home. My house was filled with a full seven person family sporting a 2 year old with plenty of chores to be done. To be frank, unless I found something to do besides homework, babysitting, and chores, I would not be doing anything else. Theses aspects of work for school and family on their own are nearly unavoidable, necessary parts of life. Yet, I did not think it enjoyable to make up my entirety of high school doing them. My parents were also constantly nagging me. There is nothing I can do to escape their correction. There is always some new way to improve the way I am living. I am honored to have parents that care enough to guide me, but sometimes it feels like there is not much I can control on my own. No sense of individuality in my house, since it is not a place for individuals to do their own thing, but for a team to collaborate. What I am trying to say is that for the oldest child in a family of several kids with parents who care enough to control and chastise, life can feel overwhelmingly overbearing.

    For example, I recently bought a bike for college. I still do not have a license or car, but this is my mode of getting out and about, to my job and friends houses. And I was hoping to ride it to school.

    Then I told my mom. And the thing with her, is that she will never outright tell someone no until it is absolutely necessary.

    She said that I could not ride on trails because I would likely be raped and killed. She said that I could not ride on sidewalks or bike lanes near roads because I would likely be hit by a car and consequently killed. She essentially said that she did not approve of me riding my bike off my driveway.

    With parents who love you so much that they will set claustrophobia-inducing boundaries to protect you, one may be wondering, “How in the world can one have a life and grow as an individual whilst obeying their parents’ desires for their own well being?” I am so glad you asked.

    You get involved with an organization or start one yourself.

    Getting involved in a club will show your parents that you are taking on more responsibility and are beginning the process of learning to manage your time. Parents who are particular about where you spend your time will be more likely to accept the fact that you are going out to volunteer with friends, than the fact that you would otherwise hang out with friends and not have much to show for it.

    Getting involved eases your folks into the fact that you are growing up and will eventually go away. You are spending less time with your folks and learning to make your own decisions, plan your own time, and lead your own life.

    This is one of the most empowering things in the world. The ability to be an individual and be responsible for yourself. For a given moment of time, it is you and not your parents who are calling the shots, and when you call the shots correctly, it is an unparalleled joy.

    Of course, getting out of the house to do benevolent things is a privilege and not a right.

    In some cases you need to show responsibility in small things and in your home life before being granted the ability to make your own decisions.

    To those of you who have been wondering how to grow as an individual and find a healthy way to get out of the house, get involved and let me know how it works out.


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