“I’d like these times to last as long as possible.”
A recent Humans of New York post features a 14-year-old girl’s very honest thoughts on growing up — namely, that she doesn’t want to just yet. To parents, her words are a mixture of reassuring and heartbreaking.
Most of us assume our young teens can’t wait to grow up and leave us. As it turns out, the opposite might be true.
“I’m fourteen and all my friends are crazy about being grown ups right now. They’re drinking alcohol. They’re smoking cigarettes. They’re trying to act vulgar. They’ll do anything to separate from their parents and prove that they’re independent. Personally, I’d like to be a child just a little bit longer. I love spending time with my parents. I’m not in a rush to get away. I’d like these times to last as long as possible.”
How about that little punch in the parental gut? Of course, she’s not alone — plenty of her peers certainly feel this way too. But it’s not cool to admit that growing up sounds pretty terrifying and staying a kid, safe at home with mom and dad, feels a whole lot better.
Instead, some teens do all they can to be “adult” before their time, and often, that means doing exactly as she describes — alcohol, cigarettes, swearing, and worse.
While some of them may be truly enjoying their new-found adult experimentations, others, like this wise teen, are shying away. Because the thing is, adulthood largely sucks and most of us would do anything to be a kid again. A fact that users eagerly pointed out while commending this young lady for her unusually wisdom-filled outlook:
Wish I was this smart back then! Hope you still have fun with your friends though! We all grow up differently and you’ll be surprised how you will all change in the next few years.
You hold onto that as long as you possibly can, sweet girl. You have forever to be a grown up and it’s not nearly as much fun as it seems.
Can you please have a talk with my 12 year old. Thanks.
I was the same way, and I don’t regret it! You keep growing up at your own pace, and treasure that time with your parents!
Smart girl. Soon enough she’ll be wishing she were a kid again.
What makes this teen’s words so unique and touching is that it’s not what most of us hear from our kids — even if they’re thinking it. I know that as a junior high and high school student, I was often gripped with anxiety at the thought of one day growing up and having to fend for myself. I too enjoyed being with my parents and had trouble understanding why many of my peers didn’t feel the same way. But instead of openly stating that fact, I tried to fit in with the others and acted like hanging with my mom and dad was the furthest thing from my mind. Any time they offered me the chance to do something fun with them, I eagerly took it.
And like the super cool parents they were, they pretended not to see how happy it made me.
So the next time you sense a longing in your teen to spend a Friday night at home with you instead of heading out with friends, play it cool. Buy a giant-size bag of Cheetos, rent an R-rated movie and casually invite them to chill with you on the couch. They may just as casually accept that offer, but inside, they’ll be beaming.
Because the world is big and scary. It can all wait a little while longer.