17-yo Questions Proper Parental Involvement

Sarah Bowman

Sarah Bowman, former Live-in Helper at Private Homes (1973-1987)

Laural, are you the person who wrote the question and also one of the answers? I will assume you are. Thanks for the further explanation. You asked your parents to back off and they did. Kuddos to them. You want a platonic relationship with them. Sorry, but that’s not exactly the way healthy parent-child relationships work. Your parents have each other and friends their own age. You presumably have platonic relationships with people your own age, too. Your parents’ responsibility is to be mentors to you, overseers of your welfare (emotional, physical, intellectual, spiritual, everything). That puts them on a level higher than platonic friendship. It puts them in a supervisory caretaker role over you.

You seem at the moment to resent that—you told them to back off—but I think you can feel assured that they are watching intently from a distance for the first sign from you that you want a hug and be close again, as a daughter not a platonic friend. You will always be the daughter even if with maturity on your part the relationship takes on more platonic aspects. But your parents will always remember your birth, your first step, your first day in kindergarten, how you looked when graduating eighth grade, and if you go on to graduate high school and college, those landmarks will be emblazoned on their memories as highlights of their lives, miles stones of their baby growing up.

Note: There is a distinct difference between “growing up” and “catching up.” You will grow up but you will never catch up with your parents and neither should you. Following in a parent’s footsteps is enough for any son or daughter. For now, you seem to be giving mixed messages. On one hand you seem to be saying you don’t want them so involved in your life, while on the other hand you seem to be complaining that you can’t have a platonic friendship with your parents. That is probably the result of conflicting feelings inside your growing and changing body and brain. And it is the reason your parents hover within sight. This phase will pass. In the meantime, try your best to cooperate with house rules, do your share of the chores, and keep up your grades at school. In other words, focus on what’s important. It sounds like you’ve got the kind of parents who will be there for you.

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