As hard as this might be to stomach, there are some things that our parents actually have good insight about. Having someone in your life with a lot of wisdom and a general investment in your wellbeing is a pretty damn good deal. But nobody is perfect, including your parents. In fact, the older you get, the more your parents’ flaws become apparent, which can humanize them and gently kick them off this pedestal we’ve put them on our whole lives. However, when their flaws are less endearing and come across as ignorant and controlling? That’s the most important time to know that your parents don’t know everything, you’re your own person, and maybe you do know yourself a little and your needs a little better than they do.
I’m not saying that you need to rebel against your parents. What I’m saying is that there are times when you should consider taking your parents’ word for it, and times when you should throw those words out the window. So, how do you distinguish between the two? Check out these eight things that are your parents are absolutely wrong about. From determining what you should or shouldn’t wear, to thinking they know what’s best for your sexual health, make sure you have a healthy dose of skepticism whenever your parents claim to be experts about the following.
Knowing Who You Should Or Shouldn't Be Friends WithSmall disclaimer: Sometimes, your parents really can smell trouble from a mile away, especially if they notice your friend or your new bae treat you in a way that sets off alarms in their head that you might not notice. But let's be real: Parents can also be shallow and not want their kids to hang out with certain people for silly reasons, like based on clothing or the music they listen to. Hear them out, but figure out if their reasoning is legit or just prejudiced. Hell, a friend of mine's mom thought that I was a bad influence on her...me, one of the few people in our group of friends who didn't drink, smoke pot, or even kiss a boy ever. I was deemed a bad influence because...I told my dad to wait up a little bit when he was picking me up from a play date. Wow, such destructive behavior. Some parents are just weirdly strict, so take all of that into consideration as well. My So-Called Life
Thinking You're Too Young To Know If You're Gay, Transgender, EtcGrowing up, we're always finding out new things about ourselves. Parents seem to be accepting of this, but some draw the line at their kids deciding to ID as bi, or gay, or queer, or gender queer, or transgender, etc. You are in charge of realizing what sexual or gender identity fits who you are, not your parents, period. But I'm A Cheerleader
Knowing When You're Ready To Have SexI think we can all agree that there's probably such a thing as being too young for sex. But what we--especially parents--also need to realize is that sexual exploration in one's teens is super normal. If you know the ins and outs (pun kind of intended) of sex--protection, consent, emotional maturity--and you think you're ready, your parents really don't have much of a say here. But if they don't think you're ready, don't prove them right by neglecting to have safe sex, or having sex with predatory older individuals. Be smart, be safe, and have fun, in spite of your parents' dissent. The To-Do List
Knowing What You Should Study In CollegeAre your parents buggin' about the idea of you doing anything other than becoming a doctor, or an engineer, or a lawyer? Then you'll definitely relate to this article. This gets tricky because, often, your parents help you out with college payments. So when you defy what they want you to study, they can threaten to deny you your education or guilt trip the hell out of you. Try to stay strong. If you don't want to be in a STEM program or become a biology major, make sure they know that there are so many successful people out there who have good jobs out of college even if they--gasp--were an English major or something. This is your life at the end of the day, not theirs. Submarine
Knowing What Clothes You Wear Or How You Should Style Your HairUm, this isn't to say that our parents can't possibly know a thing or two about how to dress--honestly, I wish that my mom was more forceful about making sure I wore a bra that actually supported my boobs, and in retrospect I'm glad they wouldn't let me wear pajama bottoms to school--but they're the last people on earth who should be dictating what you'll feel most comfortable wearing. You do you, even if your parents don't get it. If they don't understand why you wear so much black, whatever. If they don't understand why you like crop tops so much, whatever. If they don't understand why you're cool with wearing tights that have holes in them, direct them to some Google Images of Courtney Love and keep it movin'. Lizzie McGuire
Determining That You Shouldn't Be On Birth ControlIt's one thing for your parent to think you're too young to have sex; it's another for them to deny you birth control, the very thing that many responsible people who have responsible sex use. Besides, birth control isn't just a method of preventing pregnancy: Birth control can help ease cramps, right irregular periods, and help clear up acne. This should be a decision between you and your doctor, not just your mom or dad. iStock.com
Their More Conservative And Outdated Beliefs About The WorldI sincerely believe that age doesn't set people in their ways; my parents are probably a lot more progressive on a bunch of issues than they were 20 years ago, and that's good. But if your parents aren't really jiving with newer, more open beliefs about people--especially marginalized people--and you know better, then do what you can to influence them but don't second guess yourself. If they don't understand why transgender people deserve to use the bathroom of their gender identity, try to show them the light; that's all you can do, dude. That '70s Show
Believing That Our Generation Is ApatheticDon't you hate when adults assume that you don't know what's going on in the world just because you're on your phone a lot. Uh, HELLO, PARENTS! PHONES MAKE IT REALLY, REALLY EASY TO HAVE ACCESS TO INFORMATION ABOUT THE WORLD AT LARGE! Sure, we have a lot of distractions, but we're also the hashtag generation that can bring about political change through online activism, the generation that is changing the way we use technology, the generation that is trying to live our lives despite facing adversity that our parents never faced (let's not even get into how expensive college is these days). We're dong pretty damn good, all things considered. Thanks for your condescending concern though, mom/dad/whoever. Some Girls
What things do you think your parents are dead wrong about? Tell us in the comments!