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Do you not get that the world is waiting for them with open jaws, ready to chew them up and spit them out, and that it will not hesitate any time it has the opportunity to do so? Do you not get that around every corner lies hard and inescapable lessons for your teenager? Do you not get that the last place from which your teenagers need to be getting this kind of crap is from you? In your home?

Come on.

You were a teenager once.

Do you not remember how incredibly frustrating, yet distantly conquerable the world was to you then? Do you not remember how difficult finding that delicate balance between your parents, school, your friends, your teachers, and the entire rest of life was? Do you not remember how badly you longed for freedom to really be who you believed yourself to be? To really do what you believed you could do?

I was a teenager once too, and I hated myself, especially as a younger teen. I hated my parents. I hated my family. I hated my peers. I hated my teachers. I hated everybody

Each day I went to bed feeling… worthless. I felt worthless because the channels of love that I knew deep down should be flowing through my human heart were obstructed. They were clogged. Nothing was flowing in or out. I felt worthless because nobody wanted me around. I felt worthless because nobody cared if I ceased to exist. I felt worthless because I was told that it’s what I should be, and I was told it again, and again, and again. By just about everybody.

Over the course of my teenage years, every rock hard, hurtful, and damaging sentiment I listed above, was one that I myself heard, directed at me, by somebody. Often by those who supposedly “loved me.” 

And I’m not alone. I’ve received dozens of emails from teenagers about this, but I’ve received hundreds from adults who still carry the hurt, resentment, and anger from what happened to them during their teenage years. The story is almost always the same. My mom. My dad. My siblings. My grandparents. My peers. My leaders. My teachers. They treated me like crap. They hurt me. They were ruthless. They said things that still haunt me. They said things that I still believe. They said things that are still a part of me. They said things that broke me.

And I have to wonder, why? Why do human freaking beings treat each other in such a way? Why do parents treat their children that way? Why does anybody break anybody?

In the end, I realize that it’s all about one thing.

Power.

Who has the power?

A father who constantly unleashes on his child, impugns his child, or hurts his child wants only one thing.

A mother who constantly berates her child, nags her child, punishes her child, or hurts her child wants only one thing.

And, any teenager who talks back, fights back, or pushes back wants only one thing. 

They all want the power. Some power. Any power. All power.

Everybody wants to have the power over everybody else and every situation, and far too many people spend their lives trying to maintain the only thing that actually let’s them feel that power.

Control.

The father who thrives on power, works to control everything (whether he can or not) in his child’s life. He works to make sure that his child will always do and be what he thinks is best. He works to make sure that his child rises to some predetermined and idealistic life-station, and simultaneously he also works to make sure that his child never finds the ability to rise above that station. He works to guarantee that his child will be successful in whatever way he believes success is achieved. He works to force respect. He works to force love. He works to force some sense of a relationship.

The mother who thrives on power, works just as dutifully to control everything (whether she can or not) in her child’s life. She works to make sure her child always believes exactly what she believes. She works to make sure her child always learns the lessons that she believes need to be learned. She works to mold her child into the person she believes her child should be molded into. And, just like the power-craving father, she also works to force respect, love, and the non-existent relationship but forced relationship.

But let’s be honest. None of it can be forced. Ever. Maybe it can be faked for a while, but it’s impossible to force…

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Dan Pearce is an American-born author, app developer, photographer, and artist. This blog, Single Dad Laughing, is what he’s most known for, with more than 2 million daily subscribers as of 2017. Pearce writes mostly humorous and introspective works, as well as his musings which span from fatherhood, to dating, to life, to the people and dynamics of society. Single Dad Laughing is much more than a blog. It’s an incredible community of people just being real and awesome together!