It’s tough to be a teenager these days

Published 10:48 pm Saturday, February 25, 2017

My baby sister is the mother of two children — a son and daughter. Her son is in his early 20s. Her daughter will be the tender age of 18 soon and will graduate from high school this year.
Now, I have no children. When God was making me, he pulled me out of the motherhood line and put me in the crazy cat lady line instead.
It was a good decision by God. I’m certain had I been a mother of humans, I would be serving time in jail, likely a life sentence with no possibility of parole.
I love my sister and her children dearly, which is why it causes me such pain to hear when these kids are about to make terrible decisions that will affect them for the rest of their lives.
In short, my niece, who has been close to a model child to date, and had planned to attend college at LSU in Baton Rouge, which means she would be staying in her hometown where her family is, has apparently changed her mind. She has decided she doesn’t want to go to college, at least not right now.
It must be extremely difficult to be a teenager these days, and I’m being serious here. Life is so different. I think kids lose their innocence much earlier than we did in my generation, and that’s a shame. And at 55, I’m not exactly ancient
It is tragic that decisions made at such a young and stupid age have so much bearing on the rest of our lives.
My niece has decided she wants to move away with a friend. First it was Atlanta. Now it’s Colorado. Who knows what she’ll want to do tomorrow.
The point is she is completely unequipped to do any of these things or make these decisions, but she doesn’t see or realize that. She has worked only one little part-time job and left it within weeks of starting it. But she now expects as a new high school graduate to move with a friend to a new city and get a job and be able to support herself. Doing what, she doesn’t know, says this child who has barely washed a dish in her life and I don’t think she’s ever completed a load of laundry.
She’s led a pretty posh and protected existence.
What is she thinking, this Sephora-loving, Starbucks-loving, doesn’t-even-pump-her-own-gas, spends-two-hours doing her makeup with $400 worth of cosmetics that were purchased with money from her grandparents or parents, girl?
I want to tell her so many things, give her advice garnered from years of experience, but I know — because I was that age, too, once — she would hear none of it.
I’d tell her not to throw away her opportunity for college. She may not know what she wants to do with her life yet, which is fine. Those core classes that most disciplines require during the first two years are designed to give you time to mature and learn and be able to make a better decision about what you want to do later.
I’d tell her if she doesn’t start college next fall, the likelihood that she will ever go to college diminishes greatly.
And why is college so important? It’s important for lots of reasons. For most, college is necessary to build a professional career. But mainly, it gives young adults four years to grow up. It puts a buffer of sorts between living under the roof and rules of your parents and being completely thrust out on your own.
Adulthood and independence will come, sweet girl, more quickly than you can even imagine. You don’t need to rush it. If you do, you will regret it.
Be patient, please. Learn from the mistakes of others. Be careful from whom you take advice. Trust those who love you and have your best interest at heart. Your friends do not fit in that category.
You are about to make a tremendous mistake, one that will haunt you for the remainder of your life. If LSU is too close to home and isn’t right for you, go someplace else. But go to college.
Ultimately, the decision about what comes next for you is yours. Make it a good one, because you are the one responsible for it and you are who will live the consequences of it for the rest of your life.

Jan Griffey is editor of The Vicksburg Post. Readers are invited to submit their opinions for publication. You may reach her at

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