Growing Up Too Fast

Subject: Having to grow up too fast.

Message: I'm 17 years old and my mom treats me like I'm in my 30s. When I'm home from boarding school she leaves and I have to babysit my little brother, and I can't talk to her about anything. What do I do?

First of all, I’m going to assume you are a kind, dutiful, compassionate 17 year old who wouldn’t mind babysitting a couple hours a day a few days a week while you’re home on break. Because that’s kind and helpful to the family and you’re probably a team player, right? If so, keep reading!

Usually in situations like the one you’re describing, engaging in clear, calm, loving communication fixes a lot of problems. Unfortunately, since your question involves the statement “I can’t talk to her about anything.” I’m assuming you’ve actually tried to bring up how you feel at least once with your mom—in a calm, low pressure situation. If not—you’ve gotta try it, even if you already think you know what she’s going to say. It’s the Bible’s fool-proof method (Matthew 18:15-17) of dealing with someone who you believed has wronged you and it’s a REAL gut check for both of you because you’ll have to lay all your feelings out on the line and be vulnerable with one another. Unless it’s really not a big deal—but if it’s hurting you and your relationship with your family you’ve gotta speak up.

If you’re not great at this in person, or you’re afraid your mom’s going to cut you off or get upset, I would HIGHLY recommend writing it out. In fact, I still write out important conversations—at least the bullet points so I stay on track and don’t get distracted by someone who’s irate! But yeah, put it all down in writing in a clear, kind letter to your mom.

Open the letter by talking about something you really appreciate about her, move into your concern-- what you notice happening with too much babysitting, then suggest some solutions—like some times you don’t mind helping and others times you’d like free. Finally,  the letter with more gratefulness toward your mom and a request that you guys talk it over before the next break! Be proactive and schedule it if you don’t hear from her. Before you guys talk, definitely pray together! It’s hard to be upset when you are honestly praying for God’s guidance together.

Now, this should have a really positive effect on your Thanksgiving break, as long as you both know what to expect before hand! If your mom won’t discuss it with you before hand, or you don’t feel like she changed her requests to something reasonable, the next step in Matthew 18 says to bring someone along with you…but hopefully this will get you the results you want!!!

Prayers and best wishes being sent right now!

Erica Jones