You’ve blown out the candles on your 20th birthday cake. You think to yourself, “I can’t wait to have more freedom! I can finally go out with my friends and come back late without my parents interrogating me when I come back home.” Yet, a small percentage of us still find ourselves asking for permission to attend music festivals, go on road trips or simply to hang out with friends past midnight. And sometimes, we’re denied.
When we’re told “no”, most of us begin to compare our situation to our friends’ who post weekly Instagram stories where they’re out having fun at 2 am. We compare ourselves to our siblings whose curfew our parents seem much less concerned about. We think that we’ve been treated unfairly because we don’t understand why we’ve been denied the chance to have fun or ‘experience what life has to offer’. That’s when we must push aside our disappointment and try to see through our parents’ eyes.
Often, the over-protectiveness comes from reasonable concern for our safety or health. This can get lost in translation when our parents give reasons like, “because I’m your father and you should listen to me”, or “it’s not safe because you’re a girl and something might happen to you.” We should keep in mind that they have “eaten more salt than we have eaten rice” and that their decisions are usually based on valid reasons. Even so, it is true that though most of our parents have good intentions, that does not always mean they make the best decisions on our behalf. They’re not perfect, but we can learn from their mistakes if we have children of our own in the future. Besides that, we should be mature enough to accept that we can’t have our way all the time; that we may have to obey and trust the decisions of those superior to us even though we do not understand where they are coming from.
Freedom is a tricky thing. Too little of it and we feel trapped as if we have no power to make our own choices. Too much of it and we run wild, making split-second decisions that may result in life-long consequences. Yes, we should be free to make our own choices. But that includes the choice of whether we respect our parents enough to try to walk in their shoes.