Right now, and my entire life really, I’ve had everything handed to me. I’ve always had a home to live in, parents to support me, a multitude of siblings to lean on (fight with), and I’ve never been in need of anything. I’m actually quite spoiled. I get pretty much everything I ask for, even though I don’t always appreciate it. My parents have always been faithful members of the church. I have all the friends I could ask for. I was always allowed to do any extracurricular activity I wanted, as long as I maintained straight-A’s, which I did. Sounds like the perfect life, right? As you probably might have guessed, no. This is the part where I tell you why.
I can’t remember the last time we had dinner as a family at my house. We don’t talk, period. We have no communication whatsoever beyond light subjects like talking about how our day was. I’ve never been able to sit down and have a serious talk with either one of my parents about something that’s been on my mind. That is probably because I never saw my parents talking to each other, or to me, about anything emotional or difficult.
This has led to several problems in my everyday life. First of all, I have communication issues. Instead of letting someone know when they have hurt me, or telling them sorry when I hurt them, I just ignore it. I keep my hurt and my regret to myself, the way I was taught. You can guess the ways this might affect my life. This lack of communication has also led me to keep things to myself that are probably better shared. When I struggle with a sin, I don’t lean on my brothers or sisters in Christ because I don’t usually let them know what’s going on. I try to deal with it myself and just end up feeling alone in my struggle and confused as to how to handle it. God gave us the church partly as a means to prevent this from happening in the first place. I find it very difficult to take advantage of this wonderful gift because I don’t know how to communicate with people the way I should.
I would like to take the time right here to say that I am in no way “dissing” my family. I have so much love and respect for my parents for raising me in the church and just being wonderful parents in general. It’s just that, of course, they’re not perfect and this lack of perfection affects me. That being said, communication goes both ways. I willingly take part of the responsibility. I’m old enough to put in some of the effort. It’s just hard because I don’t know how.
It’s hard to start a conversation when my parents are so involved in whatever it is that they’re doing that they tell me to be quiet so they can finish the text/computer game/tv show/project they’re working on. It’s hard to talk to them about something on my heart when most of the time each person in my family is in a different room of the house doing their own thing. It’s like we’re all living together alone.
I don’t have that much time left until I’m a senior, then graduate, then move out and I’m gone for good. Right now, I face a lot of regret regarding my parents. I worry that once I leave, any chance there was at having a relationship with my parents will be gone. I’ve always wanted it. I’ve always envied those girls who were friends with their mothers. It always made me jealous when I went on overnight trips and the girls staying with me called their moms to tell them how they were, and missed them if they didn’t get to talk. I was never like that. I never missed being at home because I was pretty much by myself anyways in a lot of ways.
I think the main reason I ended up writing this article is so that if anyone else struggles with this, to let them know that they’re not alone. You may not realize it, but other people deal with this too. And I guess my main advice to you would be to not just sit around and do nothing about it. Communication has to start somewhere, and you might just have to be the strong one who talks to your parents about it. It will be hard, and it’s not fair. You probably think your parents should be the ones to put in effort first, and the most effort at that. Maybe you’re right. But just remember that they’re not perfect.
I leave you with this thought: No matter how much it might seem like you are, you’re not alone. Your parents love you, your siblings love you, your family loves you. Sometimes, we’re forced to grow up a little sooner than we want to, but at least try. Trying will get you somewhere, giving up will ensure that you will always live together alone.