If your child has just left home please take the time to read this. To me this letter says it all – I needed you then and I need you now. It puts into words what every parent needs, validation and understanding of the role they need to play in their child’s life. If your relationship with your teenager is struggling there is a good chance you will be on the receiving end of a letter like this one day. Hopefully that day will be sooner than later, and fill your life with the joy of knowing you have come out ‘the other side’ of parenting a teenager.
Dear Mum and Dad
I don’t know where to begin to say that I am sorry for everything I have put you through. I know I have said I am sorry a hundred times before (and sound like a broken record) but I truly am. I feel so bad thinking about all the things I said and did to hurt you. No matter what our differences are there is nothing better than having you in my life. I promise with all of my heart I will never go back to that place where I was.
I am sorry for blaming you for having to move schools, and for me not having friends. I know it wasn’t your fault. I just wanted someone to blame and I was confused and angry. I know now that you are always going to be there for me. I am sorry for not believing you and for saying such hurtful things to you. I can’t imagine how you handled that and I can’t believe you still loved me.
Mum, I don’t think I would have survived or have even been alive today without you. You are the only one who stood by me even when my friends had gone. I know you spent so many nights awake imagining horrible things were happening to me and wondering what went wrong. I don’t know what I was thinking. I’d like to call that stage in my life my crazy stage and put it behind me. All I could think of was what I wanted to do and how much happier I would be if I could run my own life. I was overly emotional and almost all the time had no idea why I was doing what I was doing.
Dad, you said I would regret leaving home and I did. I would sit up all night thinking about what I had done to you all the time. I never knew how to fix things. If I could take it all back I would. In my heart I didn’t want to be doing the things I was doing. I am really sorry for everything.
I want you to know that you are the best parents in the world. I know that there is nothing you won’t do for me. I can only hope that I can be as good a parent as you have been to me. I want you to know that I am changing and things are going to be different. I have already quit smoking and you know that I haven’t touched drugs for ages. I am working on getting a job so I can take care of myself. I want you to be proud of me. I have always wanted that really.
Mum, today is your birthday and I want you to be happy. I don’t ever want to be the person who makes you unhappy anymore. I love you so much and I just want to say thank you for standing by me.
THANK YOU to everyone who has been passing these blog posts on, and for all your kind emails about their impact on your family. If you have a topic you would like me to blog about email me at email@example.com and I will respond to it as soon as I can.
If you would like to book me to speak at your school or community event email firstname.lastname@example.org.
MOST IMPORTANTLY if your teenager needs support from a psychologist, counsellor or mentor Youth Excel would love to help. You can contact me at email@example.com.
What Teenage Girls Don’t Tell their Parents is available at www.michellemitchell.org for $24.95 plus postage.