It feels like everything you've learned about parenting goes out of the window when the kids become a teen. We are constantly told it is a time when they need our guidance and support the most. But we should also take a step back, and let them find their own way. We try our best with this balancing act of support-but-give-space, yet we still end up somehow not seeing eye-to-eye. We're frustrated...and they're angry.
So it has been an eye-opening experience to read this book There’s Something You Should Know About Me, which we got hold of during the special screening of Yakap, produced by The Center for Possibilities (CFP) and the book's publisher as well. First published in 2010, the book is a result of the writing program class that Palanca-award winning author Tweet Sering taught in Reach International School, an all-inclusive school in Makati City.
In the book introduction, Sering recalled how journal writing became her therapy and sanctuary as she traversed teenage life. She felt safe and free to be herself in those pages and wanted the same for her students, age 13 to 19. So she asked them "what's your dream conversation like with your parents," "when did you feel different from others," "what is your perfect day," among others.
The exercise got the kids revealing their fears and joys about relationships, self-esteem, and disabilities with brutal but beautiful honesty. As Sering writes, "I threw them questions, and the answers they threw back at me had me, well, thrown."
It's proof that teens have own take on things, their own insights, and perspectives and "how interesting and astonishing, and refreshing those perspectives can be,” writes its CFP's founder Dolores F. Cheng.
Here are a few excerpts from the book.
What is your dream conversation with your parents?
"I would like to talk to my parents about love, because usually parents are the reason why 'teen couples' break up, because of their misunderstanding of it. It leaves teens in a state of heartbreak. Parents think that the reason/purpose we go into a relationship is because we want to engage in P.M.S. But we enter a relationship because we want love from the opposite gender of this feeling we get when we hug, hold each other's hands or kiss. If ever we talk, I need her to understand that I need that love." -- Franco Gallardo, 14
"My dream conversation would be probably in heaven because I want to have a father-daughter talk...I would also ask him what it was like losing us. Is he enjoying his stay up there. Sometimes I wonder what mom felt when dad died. But I really want to talk to my father because sometimes I don't need a mother's advice, sometimes I need my father's advice.” -- Antonelli M. Raymundo, 17
"A topic that is difficult to talk about with my parent is sex. It would be a lot easier to talk to them if I could sit down with them in the living room and when I start talking no one would butt in. I would like my parents to let me have my chance to talk first and after, when I'm done, they can give me their feedback. I have a lot of questions that I want to ask my parents but it always doesn't push through since it is very awkward. But I've thinking about the topic lately, it's not that hard to talk about. You just have to breathe and say your part." -- queenofhearts, 16 "It's always hard to walk around and see other families whole and together. Sometimes it's hard for me. But I'm mostly worried about my dad. I know how he loved my mom a lot. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose one person you thought was your soulmate forever. I fear being alone, never finding that special person. But I believe that when two people aren't meant for each other, let it be. Just let go.” -- Amilia Sofia, 18
"I've always wanted to ask you: What goes running through your minds whenever you shout at each other? Do any of your children come to mind at all? Do you even care about us? I'm feeling like I can no longer trust my own parents anymore. I'm supposed to look up to you two. Now it's impossible. I just want both of you to be happy, and yet your irrational minds seem to keep that from happening. You both give yourselves reasons to not to be content. I'm starting to think both of your maturities go only as far as a number. I'm sorry, but that's how I feel." -- Batholomew Cubbins, 17
Read more about the students thoughts on when they first felt proud of themselves and letters to people they admire, among others, in There’s Something You Should Know About Me. For inquiries on how to purchase the book, visit The Center for Possibilities or call (+632) 723.1242 / (+63918) 888.1759.