Being 17 can be tough. You aren’t quite an adult but no longer a child. Your parents are holding out for answers about what you want to do with your life.
From a parents perspective it can lead to plenty of additional grey hairs and sleepless nights .
To help gain a little insight into what it’s like to be 17 while also putting myself out there for some possible home truths, I decided to interview our 17 year old daughter Miss Teen.
I’m proud of the beautiful young women she has become and let’s just say I became more than a little emotional after reading her answers to my questions (below).
Now that you are in your last year of high school what do you think about the most ?
I often find myself thinking about the future; it’s something that is a constant topic with everyone I interact with. The first question people will ask when in conversation with me is “what are you going to do when you finish school?” It’s unavoidable and I think that’s what makes it so confronting. Although I would like my answer to be something glamorous or enviable like becoming a beauty editor for a top magazine or a stylist for the most famous celebrities or maybe even become a Kardashian sister (a girl can dream right?) the truth is I know those things don’t just happen instantaneously and the path to any desirable career is long and takes a lot of hard work. Everyone wants to be successful and enjoy a life filled with only delightful situations but those don’t even endure in the movies and I guess that’s what I think about the most; the struggles I will encounter when taking the treacherous jump into adulthood. There is a lot of pressure in this era to grow up quickly and expectations on education, beauty and experience are exceedingly high; there is always someone better. The thought of failing and falling short of my dreams are ever-present and it makes me anxious and resentful towards the future which should seem bright and welcoming.
What type of things can parents do to support their kids when they are 17 (dos and don’ts)
Discuss the future with your child; ensure they have enthusiasm, help them discover their aspirations and how they might achieve them
Harass your teen about the future or pressure them into making commitments (this is a confusing and stressful time in their lives so you need to be supportive)
Teach your child how to survive on their own; balancing accounts, paying taxes and bills aren’t things we are taught at school but will be necessary for the future. Also simple things such as cleaning, cooking and doing laundry (you would be surprised how many people I know who are clueless when it comes to these)
Tell us to act like adults then treat us like children! It’s frustrating and confusing to be told “you’re nearly an adult so start acting like one”, only to be told “you’re still a child” when it suits you. You need to maintain a constant expectancy of behaviour
Take some time out to listen to your child and spend time with them; make sure they know you’re there to support them
Let your child have no responsibility or tell them they only need to worry about getting good grades; it is an important time to learn how to juggle different areas of life before it becomes essential.
What have been the negatives and positives of Dad being FIFO ?
It is really difficult not having dad home with us. He is often the calm collected one of the house who always listens and as a daddy’s girl it has been hard not being able to pour my heart out to him in a car ride. When he didn’t work away he always came home really tired and was never relaxed or truly happy which was hard to see, so I do think it is good that when he is home on his R&R he is really here and not having to worry about having to work again in a few hours, he is really happy and truly appreciates his time with us.
As 1 of 5 children it goes without saying that money was tight growing up (even though there was 4 of us at the time) you and dad did so well providing us with everything we needed and wanted. I look back and remember how spoilt we all got at Christmas and on birthdays. At the time I never thought about how much you both sacrificed but thinking about it now I remember the tired looks on your faces and the lengths you went through to save money; the things you both went without so we could have things but also the hurt in your eyes when one of us complained that we never got anything. Now that dad is FIFO we do have more money (Even after all the tax is taken out) and though we are worse at budgeting, I do see how excited you both are to be able to buy luxury items for us and each other, to be able to go out to dinner together and it is so good to see you not struggle so much. Even though Dad is just a phone call away we do all miss him, it’s hard to see you come home from a long day of work needing to spend time with him laughing and the moments when my 2 year old sister cries because she misses daddy. It’s hard to not have him here to give me a big fix-everything-hug but I know that you both have a plan and it’s not forever that Dad will be FIFO .
What are the challenges you face with balancing study, friends and sports / hobbies ?
During year 12 study is basically your life, or so it’s suppose to be. I personally hate studying and am the biggest procrastinator so when it comes to trying to balance it, let’s just say it’s the last thing on my mind. Over the years I have enjoyed playing hockey and dancing but with such a busy schedule and long days I found I felt too burnt out after school to maintain these commitments causing me to even dread going to them. For the moment I have decided to press pause on these hobbies; it is important to me to enjoy them and at the moment I find myself too stressed and busy. A lot of people my age have a very active and busy social life, one that I personally just don’t enjoy. I like to hang out with my friends but I don’t party or drink (which is the main source of socialization outside of school) so it is only rare that I do spend time with them outside of school which doesn’t really concern me (I see these people over 30 hours a week). I like to spend the free time I do have with my boyfriend and family. Quality time is important to me and these are the most important people in my life so I really enjoy all the time I can with them.
In less than 8 weeks high school will be over for me and although that’s kind of sad it’s also quite exciting to think about what the possibilities are. Until then I may be a little stressed with exams and thinking about the future just like many 17 year olds will be