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Old 03-12-2013, 02:09 PM   #1
Caradana
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Did your 14-year-old self know what was best for you?

Inspired by a good point made late in the boarding school thread,

Think back to when you were 14, what you wanted, your points of view - comparing that perspective to the next few decades of your life, did you know at that age what was best for you?

It's kind of a different way of asking how much structure a parent should put around an early teenager with respect to important decisions relative to the age, like
- where will you go to school?
- will you get good grades?
- will you play sports?
- will you have a supportive base of friends?
- will you date?

Myself personally: at 14 I was offered a scholarship to prep school. It was all-girls and I really didn't want to go. I was told I was going. In retrospect, it was a great move for me but it wasn't a choice I would've made. I was also informed that I was going to play a sport (I got to pick which one). I picked one that wound up helping me significantly with college admissions, which was surprising given that I didn't expect to be any good at it when I started, and I was utterly terrified at practice for my entire freshman fall. If I'd had my way at 14, I wouldn't have played sports. I was very happy with my books. In retrospect, playing was the right move.
So there are a couple of examples ...

Did you know the right path for yourself at 14? Would you have made good decisions?
How much latitude will you or did you give to your 14 year olds?
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:18 PM   #2
Ginny Favers
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I actually think that I knew more than anyone when I was 14.

When I was 14, I wanted to go to a smaller school, away from home, and be a writer.

My parents pushed me to a bigger, better-rated school, near home. They also wanted me to do something that paid better, like go into Marketing.

I STILL wish I'd gone to that smaller school, as I hated all 4 years of the one they made me go to. And after many years of a cruddy marketing career, I became a writer anyway.

So I will definitely listen to my kids when they tell me what they want to do. As long as it's not dangerous and/or illegal, if it makes them happy, then that's all that matters.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:22 PM   #3
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sometimes yes, sometimes no. I really resented my parents for making me go to a small parochial high school instead of the public one most of my friends went to. It was definitely the best choice for me, and looking back I wish I had embraced it more earlier on rather than resent it.

There are other examples, but that is the first I thought of.

There are also examples of when I did really know what was right/best for me.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:26 PM   #4
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14 is when I was on my own as far as decision making went. My sister was 20 and had legal custody but let me do what I wanted.

I think I knew better than most 14 year olds; at that point I had already been living life with no parental support even though they were physically there; You learn faster when no one is going to help you out of your mistakes. But you also learn to be less adventurous than you maybe should be, because you are scared of the consequences, because consequences are a 'real' thing to you, you are not just going to get grounded.

So...there are things I made good decisions about; there are things I could have made better decisions about, but I didn't have all the information/experience I needed in life to do so.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:28 PM   #5
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My 14 year old self was dumb, plain and simple LOL
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Caradana View Post
Inspired by a good point made late in the boarding school thread,

Think back to when you were 14, what you wanted, your points of view - comparing that perspective to the next few decades of your life, did you know at that age what was best for you?

It's kind of a different way of asking how much structure a parent should put around an early teenager with respect to important decisions relative to the age, like
- where will you go to school?
- will you get good grades?
- will you play sports?
- will you have a supportive base of friends?
- will you date?

Myself personally: at 14 I was offered a scholarship to prep school. It was all-girls and I really didn't want to go. I was told I was going. In retrospect, it was a great move for me but it wasn't a choice I would've made. I was also informed that I was going to play a sport (I got to pick which one). I picked one that wound up helping me significantly with college admissions, which was surprising given that I didn't expect to be any good at it when I started, and I was utterly terrified at practice for my entire freshman fall. If I'd had my way at 14, I wouldn't have played sports. I was very happy with my books. In retrospect, playing was the right move.
So there are a couple of examples ...

Did you know the right path for yourself at 14? Would you have made good decisions?
How much latitude will you or did you give to your 14 year olds?
Listening to my parents was the worst decision I ever made.

At 14, I wanted to be a DJ. I stalked the local radio station, got my own weekly radio show when I was 16, and went to a top college, where I was the head of the college station. I also worked at a well-known record store (not part of a chain) for many years, and ended up with massive connections in radio, at record labels, at clubs and in bands. I really could have written my own ticket in the music industry.

Instead, I listened to my parents. They told me the music industry was a waste, something educated people didn't do, that I was flushing my college degree down the toilet, etc. So I took their advice and went into investment banking. And I did make a lot of money, which allowed me to do some terrific things, but I hated it. Miserable. And all I could think about is how much more interesting and satisfying my life would have been if I had followed the path I wanted to take, rather than listening to my parents. They feel like I was immensely successful, but I don't share that view. And now, having been a SAHM for several years, I don't know how to return to the workforce. The idea of going back to a big bank just turns my stomach.

Needless to say, I am going to encourage my son to follow his interests. He's fortunate in that he will always attend excellent schools, grow up with many advantages (prep school, sports, foreign travel, braces, whatever) and finish college and grad school without loans. But more than anything else, I want him to be happy and to live his life without regrets.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up beyond poor, and chose investment banking as a career gladly and enjoys it immensely. So who knows; maybe the kid will take after him. Again, whatever he wants to do is fine with me. I'm sure he'll do very well at whatever he chooses. (For the record, he wants to be a scuba-diving FBI agent. Sounds great!)
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:30 PM   #7
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My 14 year old self was wrong, wrong wrong....I was sneaking behind my parent's back, seeing a 17 year old boy who I was forbidden to see. I was the responsible, good grades, no drugs, no rebellion, good girl. But my parent's didn't have a clue.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #8
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When I was 14 I pushed and pushed until my parents finally agreed to let me be an Exchange student to Spain in my Sophomore year in highschool. I still think it was one of the best things I ever did in my life. I am so glad I fought for that.

I chose to take honors courses in 8th and 9th grade in spite of my parents telling me I didn't need to push myself so hard.

Really, I can only think of three things in my teen years I wish I had done differently:

1. a boyfriend and his friend were smoking pot in the car. I had not know until that night that they did this and I was not happy, but also not up in town where I could just leave. A police officer came by and they lit of cigarettes to hide it--the officer knocked on the window and asked me if everything was okay. I said yes. I was afraid I would be in trouble if I said otherwise. My boyfriend was stoned driving us back into town. Luckily nothing happened but I wish I had just said I was uncomfortable and asked for a ride home from the officer--and I wish I had broken up with that guy THEN and not a few months later.

2. My boyfriend my senior year hit me and into the start of college. Twice. It took until he called me to yell at me at 2:00 a.m. the night before my first final that I got the backbone to see him for what he was and what he was trying to do to me and leave. I wish I had left the first time he hit me that summer.

3. I was so enamored with the guy I had been crushing on for years, that when he asked me to a NYE party our freshman year in college, I let him drive me home after having had some drinks. Again, thankfully nothing happened, and DH and I now marvel at our idiocy that night.

Otherwise, I think I made great choices. I don't regret any of my decisions (the ones I could control--I would have gone to boarding school had I been allowed ) about school, class choices, etc.



BTW--In that thread, my point is not that the teen should have 100% control, but that their strengths and drive and goals should be a major PART of the equation and that their lives should not be mapped out for them from birth with no regard to who they are as individuals.

I say that as a parent of two teens who are in COMPLETELY different schooling situations because they learn so very differently from one another.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:31 PM   #9
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I knew what I wanted for my life and I got it.
I had a boyfriend from about 14 to almost 16- yes, very long for a teenager, but I knew I didn't want to marry him. I knew he could not provide the family life/lifestyle I wanted. There was also a genetic issue in his family and I knew I would be too scared to have a child with him. He was a great guy. Eventually we went separate ways.

I then met my now dh. I knew we could have the life I imagined. And we do! Not that we haven't struggled, we have had several lean years financially, but we always strived to keep ourselves out of debt and did without when we needed to. I think we appreciate things more because of our struggles. I am also debt free except for a mortgage (which is half paid off) at 30.

My son is 13. He wants to go into the music industry. We are struggling to get him to realize he needs good grades. They just don't matter to him. We support him in his dream.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janepod View Post
Listening to my parents was the worst decision I ever made.

At 14, I wanted to be a DJ. I stalked the local radio station, got my own weekly radio show when I was 16, and went to a top college, where I was the head of the college station. I also worked at a well-known record store (not part of a chain) for many years, and ended up with massive connections in radio, at record labels, at clubs and in bands. I really could have written my own ticket in the music industry.

Instead, I listened to my parents. They told me the music industry was a waste, something educated people didn't do, that I was flushing my college degree down the toilet, etc. So I took their advice and went into investment banking. And I did make a lot of money, which allowed me to do some terrific things, but I hated it. Miserable. And all I could think about is how much more interesting and satisfying my life would have been if I had followed the path I wanted to take, rather than listening to my parents. They feel like I was immensely successful, but I don't share that view. And now, having been a SAHM for several years, I don't know how to return to the workforce. The idea of going back to a big bank just turns my stomach.

Needless to say, I am going to encourage my son to follow his interests. He's fortunate in that he will always attend excellent schools, grow up with many advantages (prep school, sports, foreign travel, braces, whatever) and finish college and grad school without loans. But more than anything else, I want him to be happy and to live his life without regrets.

My husband, on the other hand, grew up beyond poor, and chose investment banking as a career gladly and enjoys it immensely. So who knows; maybe the kid will take after him. Again, whatever he wants to do is fine with me. I'm sure he'll do very well at whatever he chooses. (For the record, he wants to be a scuba-diving FBI agent. Sounds great!)
My dad was a career DJ. He did well enough to retire at 44. I'm sorry your parents pushed you away from your dreams (my dad's parents tried to as well--they HATED to see a top notch private school education go to "waste" like that. My dad LOVED the school he went to--but he also loved DJing; it is too bad his parents not see that).
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:39 PM   #11
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I knew exactly what I wanted to do it a 14 and how I was going to do it, and there was no deviation, I was very driven at an early age.....
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:44 PM   #12
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Yes, both my DH and I had our careers picked out by age 14. We are successful in those careers today.

I knew EXACTLY who I was at 14, and what I wanted. I certainly didn't need (or want) my parents trying to substitute their own dreams for mine.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:45 PM   #13
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I guess I was a pretty boring 14-year old. I didn't have a lot of decisions to make. Living in a relatively small town, I had few choices when it came to high school, the all-boys Catholic school, the co-ed Catholic school or the public school. I went with the co-ed school, partially because my sister already went there. I never really even considered the other two choices.

Other that that, the only other decision I recall making was choosing basketball over swimming as a freshman. Admittedly, I was talked into that by my friends and after a year sitting on the bench, made the decision to quit basketball and swim as a Sophomore (and lettered in in the next three years).

As a parent of a 12-year old 6th grader, high school is now starting to become a topic of conversation. While we have a preference as to where we would like him to go, we're trying hard to not appear to push him in any one direction (mostly for fear of him pushing back to spite us )
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:52 PM   #14
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Yep. My father was an alcoholic, and my mother was plain ol' mean. My parents put food on the table and a roof over my head. Period. At 10 years old, with babysitting money, I bought all my own clothes. Washed them all myself too.

I decided to go to college, where to go, and how to get there. I filled out my own FAFSA, except for the money part.

I had excellent grades, chose great friends, and did more to parent my younger brother than they did.

I am not perfect. I am far from it, but I certainly knew what I wanted.
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Old 03-12-2013, 02:54 PM   #15
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Nope. I still regret some of the decisions I made at 14. Nothing life ruining, but things I wish I could go back and change.
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