Trust and Independence: The Parents' Edition

Growing up around black parents and black family members will be something that I cherish forever because I am constantly being taught lessons about who I am and how society will treat me due to the color of my skin. One thing that was placed upon me and the younger women in my family was that we as black women had to be independent because nothing would be handed to us. But, while growing up, there was always one phrase that I have heard members of my family use to shut down any independent, adult decision I or anyone under the age of 21 would make: You’re not grown.

For some reason, once this phrase is spoken, any valid argument that the child would make is immediately invalidated. As children, we know that our parents are going to be on the fence when it comes to certain things and that is completely normal. But, to constantly reject any of the ideas or plans that we have that can impact our future is unacceptable, especially when it comes to furthering our education and networking. How are we as young adults supposed to learn anything when we are constantly being shut down? It’s impossible for us to blossom into who we really are when we are being sheltered or not given the chance to make our own decisions. This is a common issue in households. Not just in black families. Usually, this happens when a parent feels like they must prevent their children from making the same mistakes they did, but all it’s really doing is hindering our growth and pushing us away.

We should not be forced to do the things our parents think is best because what they might think is best could be the total opposite and make us unhappy or lead to depression. There needs to be a certain amount of trust between parent and child. Without trust the relationship will be filled with animosity. Children are individuals; they were not put here for you to make up for your mistakes and to be used as your personal Barbie Dolls. There are some people who need to learn from their mistakes, so repeating yourself and saying “no” all the time isn’t going to be effective. Having this lack of trust between parent and child also breeds a sneaky child. Yelling at a child when they make a mistake just makes them pull away even more and the line of communication will be gone. We as children and young adults should always feel comfortable talking to our parents. When we are being penalized for being open and speaking our minds it makes us uncomfortable to talk about anything past how our day went. (Your child is probably doing half the things you tell them not to do anyway).

With that being said, parents need to stop being so overwhelming and overbearing because it does nothing but push us in the opposite direction. We eventually need to start making our own decisions, so we can be successful and figure out who we really are. Things like what college we go to should be mostly our decision. Forcing us to stay in-state for school can be detrimental to our educational growth as well as our mental health. Being in a place that we don’t want to be can cause us to lose all motivation to do anything, let alone school work. Of course, suggestions should be made and your opinions will always matter, but we should be the ones making the final decision.


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