How many of you got called "ungrateful" as teenagers? Your impulse will be to say the same when you have your own, but it's not about being ungrateful; it's about your kid having a healthy, human urge to take control of their own life. This is the very fuel that will eventually launch them right out of your house before age 30.
I Have To Accept That My "Special" Traditions Are Boring As Hell
A couple of years ago, millions of young parents had the mortifying experience of taking their kids to see a brand-new Star Wars movie, only to see said kid trying to surreptitiously watch YouTube prank videos on their phone the whole time. "Don't you get it? This isn't just a cool sci-fi movie, this is the film series that raised me! It's special!"
Then, suddenly, those new parents had a flashback to all of the lame, boring stuff their parents dragged them to or made them watch. And no amount of reminding kids of what it's supposed to mean to them is going to change the fact that even though it's a sacred family tradition that the family cuts down a Christmas tree every year, they're still tired, cold, and doing the same old thing they did last year. "I know for a fact that there are easier ways to do this!"
This one really continues across all age ranges, in different forms. Little kids think everything is special. A surprisingly shaped twig? Special. A piece of gum under a park bench? Special. A toad that just peed in your hand when you picked it up? That's a new level of special. Telling that kid that a particular toy is special because it once belonged to Grandma is just a string of nonsense words.
Then, thanks to the mysterious trickster god known as Puberty, suddenly a whole new range of things are "special," and your teenager develops a deep sense of dread and loathing toward anything old or outdated. Tell them a boring activity is REQUIRED because it's SPECIAL to the OLD PEOPLE, and you've only given them a nice horror story they can share with their friends on Monday.
This is when you realize you'll pass along lots of things to your children, including many inheritable diseases, but the warm feeling you get inside when doing something "special" is probably not one of them. You can totally think it's special to go Christmas caroling and then sip non-alcoholic eggnog until you pass out in front of It's A Wonderful Life. No one can take that away from you. But it's the right of every teenager to walk past and roll their eyes so hard that they can see the bottom of their own brain, knowing that when they grow up, they'll be the coolest parents ever.
Mags writes books about dead people and kissing. You can bother her on Twitter. Bring cookies.
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