How To Persuade Your Parents

This truly is one of the greatest skills I’ve developed in my seventeen years, and because I’m such a generous person, I’m going to give a few tips to help you teenagers out.

*Disclaimer: since I’ve only dealt with one set of parents, my tips might not work with everyone. But hey, they’re worth a shot.

 

1: Baby Steps. Never ever pitch the entire idea to your parents to begin with. Never. Always begin with the tiniest, least-threatening portion of your plan.

For years, my parents insisted that they weren’t going to let me get my license until I was seventeen, in order to ensure that I’d have plenty of practice driving with them before I was on my own. They had this terrible picture in their minds of me wrecking and dying, so they seemed to think that twelve additional months of practice would eliminate those odds.

Instead of immediately pushing to get my license at sixteen, I slowly eased into the idea. I already had a job, and I mentioned that being licensed would make getting to and from work a trillion times easier. I was running cross country, and it was a struggle for my mom sometimes to make sure I had a ride to and from practices and meets, so I tossed up the idea that if I were licensed already, I wouldn’t need to find someone to bring me home. With my mom’s work schedule, it was difficult for me to make it to early morning meetings for the various clubs and organizations I was in before school, so I suggested that being licensed would be really helpful.

Finally, my mom gave in and agreed to let me get my license before I was 17, but there were a lot of stipulations. I’ll get to that later, though. On to the next tip.

2: Pick The Easier Parent. You guys know the drill… if Mom says no, always ask Dad. If Dad says no, then go ask Mom. That’s how it was as a little kid, going back and forth until you got the answer you were seeking. But by your teenage years, you should know which parent will say yes, depending on the circumstances. Always start with that parent, and once they’re on your side, it’ll be much easier to drag their other half along for the ride.

In my case, I’m much closer with my mom than I am with my stepdad. To be honest, I wasn’t entirely sure where he stood on the case of my license, whether he was just agreeing with my mom or if he truly cared about my waiting ’til I was seventeen to drive alone. So, naturally, I worked on my mom first, and once she broke down and sided with me, she just filled him in on what was going to happen and things went pretty smoothly from there.

3: Compromise. Remember earlier, when I mentioned those stipulations that my mom gave me for obtaining my license? Here’s where I’m going to hit harder on those. Mom agreed to let me get my license, but told me I could only drive to and from work, to and from cross country, and that I could only drive to school on days I either had practice or a meeting before or after school. I was a little put-out by that at first, since I really was longing for the freedom of being able to drive wherever, whenever without being accompanied by an adult, but I know my mom very well. I know that if I let her think things will go according to her plan, there’s always a little room to wiggle around her rules later. And so, I agreed to her stipulations. Only months after I got my license, I was allowed to drive into town and to my friends houses. Today, I mention heading an hour or two away into the city with a friend, and my mom barely bats an eyelash. Baby steps and compromise work hand in hand in getting your way.

Another thing I should add is that I volunteered to pay for my driver’s ed class, which was two hundred dollars, and my mom really didn’t feel like paying for it. I’m pretty sure that by stepping up and responsibly saying “Mom, this is so important to me that I’m willing to pay for it in its entirety,” I really gained some brownie points.

4. Slow Extension. This, too, was already mentioned in my last point. At first, I had to follow my mom’s stipulations exactly. But slowly, I began extending the boundaries, and now, there really isn’t much of a boundary set at all. In a matter of months, I’m going to be eighteen, and I’m really proud of my mom for how well she’s doing with slowly letting go in preparation for the day I move out on my own. (Which is nine months away, for the record.) The idea here is that you need to slowly push your limits, and eventually, the limits will begin to expand.

5. Guilt Trips. Of all the tips I’m giving you, this is by far the dirtiest, sneakiest, most manipulative. It’s also extremely effective when it’s done properly. You can’t overdo guilt trips, or they’re annoying and make you look irresponsible (and when you’re trying to get your way, irresponsibility won’t help you out a bit). You also can’t entirely discount them from your plan of action.

In my own example scenario, while I was trying to convince my mom to let me get my license, I constantly hit on the fact that it was getting colder and darker outside, and that pretty soon walking home from work (even though it’s only about a quarter of a mile) was going to be dangerous and difficult. I also mentioned how terrible it was to have to wait an hour or more outside in the wind after practice or a meet for her to get off work and come pick me up (I didn’t mention that I sort of liked the quiet time to myself while I waited). Moms are compassionate. They love their babies, even if sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. That’s why this tip can be so effective. If my mom thinks for an instance that I’m too cold or that I’m too hungry or that I’m in some way not taken care of, she immediately wants to fix it and make sure I’m safe and secure. Hit on your mom’s motherly instincts and it’ll be a struggle for her to turn you down.

It’s important to note with this tip that saying things like “but mom, it’s not fair. All the other kids get to…” will potentially backfire and ensure that you do not get your way. Never use the phrase “not fair” or compare your situation to that of another child. And again, don’t over do the guilt trips. That’s also ineffective.

 

I wish you luck on your mission of persuasion.

Teach Me Money Management

What is money management and how do I obtain such a skill?

I’ve got those really fun parents, the kind who make me pay my phone bill and for my car insurance and gas and pretty much for any and everything I want. It would be a bigger issue if I didn’t have a job, but (thankfully) I do. And as much as I would love to spend every single dime on the most pointless things, I know it’s for the best that I’m getting a taste of the real world while I’ve still got my parents to fall back on. Sure, they wouldn’t be too happy with me if I didn’t give them the money for my phone and insurance every month, but if I couldn’t, they’d pay it for me, and at least I’d only be indebted to them, rather than some company who doesn’t actually care about my personal circumstances.

I think I’m doing really well, actually. I hand over the money for those bills weeks early almost every month. I’ve been licensed for over a year and I have yet to ask for gas money (although one time, they actually gave me a little bit just for the heck of it). I pay for almost everything on my own– shirts from my cross country meets, trips with my friends, clothes, random food runs, etc. I even paid to book a flight for myself to visit some family down in Florida next month.

So what’s the problem? The problem is that I basically break even every month. I have hardly anything saved up, and since I’m going to be moving out in nine months and paying rent and putting myself through college, I’m going to find myself in a pretty big pickle, much sooner than I’m prepared for. I either need to be making more money (though I barely have time for my job as it is, between sports and homework and sleep), or I need to learn how to save.

I walk into a store, and I almost always walk out with more things than I need. I’ve got plenty of clothes. I’ve got plenty of nail polish. I’ve got plenty of shoes. And yet, I can’t seem to stop buying more and more. It’s a serious problem, guys. I have a problem. I admit it. What’s the next step?

Teach me money management.

This is a cry for help.

Help.

HELP.

What My Bedroom Says About Me

I was sitting in bed, attempting to get a few more scholarship applications done posting homecoming pictures on my various social networking sites, when I began glancing around my bedroom, and I realized that it’s been at least since last April that I actually cleaned my room. This sparked a curiosity that led me to Google “What does my bedroom say about me?” and the following is what I discovered…

 

According to the first quiz, I “become sad easily and am subjected to wild mood swings.” As much as I would love to brush this one off and complain about how terribly incorrect it is, I can’t. One minute I’ll be laughing so hard I’m crying, and the next I’m bawling my eyes out because of some stupid thing that a boy did. Classic teenage girl, eh?

The next quiz called me “Miss Messy!” and said that I’m “laid back, and I like my bedroom to show it.” This one is probably the most accurate of all.

My third result labeled me as “Hippie Chic.” Once I stop laughing at the utter ridiculousness (is that even a word?) of this one, I might have a real comment.

The next test told me that I’m “Sexy, Childish, Romantic, and Dreamy.” How a person can be simultaneously sexy and childish, I don’t know, but hey… I’ll take it.

Number five was a quiz I discovered on some teenage gossipy website, and it for some reason took what I said about the state of my bedroom and told me that I’m “Shy around boys and don’t really give off vibes when I like them.” I’m really not sure how they came up with that (and it’s actually really inaccurate), but I’m a little put out that the website seems to take everything about a girl’s life and lead it back to boys. That’s a rant for another day, though…

After that, I discovered that since my room is supposedly “bright and cheery,” I’m an “energetic and bright person who’s room only gets messy when gaming systems are left lying around.” I don’t even own a gaming system.

The final website I encountered wasn’t a quiz, but rather it was a set of slides that showed a picture of a bedroom and described the type of person who lives in such a room. I’m still not sure how I feel about the fact that my bedroom looks most like the one described as a “Teenage Boy’s Bedroom.”

 

Since there really wasn’t too much of a correlation between the answers I found online, I’ll give you a brief little description of my bedroom, and then you can tell me what my bedroom says about my personality.

My sheets and blankets and pillow cases don’t match–they’re all different colors and patterns because I use the first clean thing I find. I have piles of college mail piled so high on my desk that it’s practically impossible to see it most of the time. My shoes used to reside in a rack on the back of my door, but they’re currently scattered all over my floor, wherever I happened to kick them off. My dresser is overflowing with clothes, so I’ve taken to piling them in baskets and on my rolling desk chair and on the floor wherever I find room. On top of my dresser are dozens of body sprays and lotions and hairsprays and leave in conditioners and earrings and nail polishes and all those other things that girls have stockpiled in their bedrooms. I’ve got quotes and number bibs and ribbons from cross country hanging on my walls. Inside my closet hangs my prom dress from last year, and that’s also where I keep all of my books and bags full of clothes that I’ve been intending to donate for years.

So what does my bedroom say about me?

Dear Boys…

Dear Boys,

Why do you like me? Wait, no. That’s not how I wanted it to come out. That makes it seem like I don’t want any boys whatsoever to like me, and that certainly is not the case. What I really mean to ask is this: why do you never like me when I want you to?

When I make sure to shower and spend some time on my hair and dress like a girl and wear makeup just to impress you, you never pay me any mind. In fact, I can’t name a single time that I’ve actually made an effort to look presentable and gotten the attention of a boy that way.

No, instead, the ones who seem to fall for me are the ones who see me at my worst. The ones who see me with a red face, all sweaty and stinky after I get done with practice. The ones who’ve talked to me when I’m a vulnerable little wreck of a girl. The ones who I don’t touch my hair or makeup and only wear cutoffs and baggy running shorts around. Why are you boys like that? It just doesn’t make any sense at all to me.

What am I supposed to do here? It seems to me that showering actually deters boys. So is that the solution? No more showering?

Worth a try, I suppose.

Buckle Your Seatbelts… We’re In For A Wild Ride

Boy oh boy, it’s been a while, eh? I can’t say for sure exactly what it is that made me log into my blog for the first time in a year-ish today, but I’m glad I did. I loved blurting out my thoughts and interacting with the wonderful world of wordpress, and I’m happy to announce that I’m back.

In our time apart, I managed to do lots of silly things and get myself into plenty of mischief… memories that I’m excited to share with all of you. I’ll also be sharing my struggles with college planning, and later on, my stories as a broke college kid who’s struggling to pay the rent.

So buckle your seatbelts, grab the reigns (or the “oh-shit!” bar) and hold on, because we’re in for a wild ride…

 

Hate’s A Strong Word, But…

I don’t like to hate people. And I also don’t really like to gossip, because it just makes me feel bad. But I’m going to make an exception today. Except that I’m not going to mention names, it’s going to be a generalized post, so does that count as gossip? I don’t think so.

 

You know how they say that the longer you know a person, the more their personality influences your perception of their physical looks? For instance, if you meet a less-than-attractive person who is extremely sweet and bubbly, they instantly become so much better looking, and vice versa. It’s that inner beauty shining through, or in the case I’m referring to right now, the utter lack of inner beauty that shines through.

So there’s this girl I know, and she’s not the nicest person. I’ve stuck by her side, being her friend though. I mean, everyone else thinks she’s a rude word that I’m not going to say, so she really doesn’t have any other friends. Me, being the kind of person I am, I decided that I’d be there for her because I think everyone deserves a friend.

But then she stabbed me in the back, probably more times than I can count. And I’m talking big time, like starting a horrible rumor about me that lasted for three years, insulting me behind my back almost constantly, calling me her “heavier” friend (note: I’m not even remotely close to overweight, so who even knows where that comment came from), and insulting my family. It’s one thing to start rumors and insult me, but it’s entirely another to call my siblings names. That’s a big no-no in my book. But still, after everything she did to me, every time I was in tears trying to figure out what to do about her, I stuck by her. Because I’m a forgiving person, and everyone deserves a second chance. And a third chance. And a fourth chance. And a fifth chance, and so on.  And for some crazy reason, I thought that maybe, just maybe, she’d see that she was in the wrong and change. 

After a while of being good friends with her, I went downhill. I started gossiping, starting rumors, telling lies, and insulting people, just because that’s what she did. I for some reason thought that everyone loved her and that they’d all love me if I acted like her. (Again, back to my post ‘Perfection where I mentioned that I’ve always cared too much what others thought about me.) She and I were the same. We were just as bad as one another. The only difference was that my conscious ate at me. I stayed awake at night trying to figure out why I was doing those things. I zoned out in class after being rude to someone, asking myself what made me do that. And then it hit me–once I was around her so long, she influenced my behavior.  As much as I had previously thought that I could change her for the better, that’s not what happened at all. That plan never works, whether it’s a friendship or a relationship, the good always turns bad if they’re in it too long.

So I told myself I was done with that ridiculous behavior. I was going to go back to my natural, nice self. A friend of mine was actually the catalyst for my decision to change when he asked, “when did you get so mean?” And he then proceeded to shake his head in disappointment and walk away. We haven’t really been friends ever since, though I’ve been slowly patching up that relationship. It hurt a lot to know that my behavior did me no good and in fact earned me the reputation of a, well, you know what word to insert here.

Slowly but surely, I reversed my wrongdoings. I apologized to people. I started smiling and laughing more (now people joke that I never stop laughing) and went back to my easygoing self. And I’m happy. Really happy. Honestly, being nice just puts you in a good mood.

I haven’t talked to the girl I mentioned earlier in almost eight months, and to be honest, I’m perfectly content with my decision to leave our friendship. The bible talks about forgiving someone 7×70 times, and you know what? I forgive her. I’m over what she’s done for the most part. But the bible doesn’t say that we have to keep putting ourselves in situations that can only bring us harm, so I no longer feel obligated to stand by her. If she wants a friend, she can turn to the dozen people who are just as fake and mean as she is that choose to associate with her on occasion.

Here’s the moral of the story: 1) if you’re good, stay away from the bad ones because they always influence you before you get to them, and 2) your reputation is dependent on that of your friends. If they’re known to be mean, you’re going to be known as mean. That’s just how it is.

Well, then. Glad I could share some hopefully enlightening words with you.

 

 

FOOTBALL!

First Day

 

Well, it’s August. That means fall sports are really kicking off, everyone’s rushing to the mall to get their school clothes (already got that out of the way, bam!), and the July heat is finally starting to let up. All of those things are great! I love new clothes, I love that fall is just cool enough to wear a hoody and some jeans but not cold enough to need a coat, and I definitely love the way sports rally my classmates and their family together. Yeah, I’m one of those people that gets decked out in the school colors and paints my face, then stands in the student section for the duration of the game while simultaneously screaming so loud my voice is undoubtedly gone by the next morning. Well, I do that for some of the games. Other times I just don’t feel like leaving the house so I stay up and check twitter for the updates that half my school is sending every other second. Whatever works, you know.

But with all of that good August stuff comes bad August stuff. And I mean bad August stuff. Yep, you guessed it! The first day of school. Dun, dun, dun.

Don’t get me wrong–I get awesome grades and I’m one of those kids that’s loved by almost every teacher I have, mostly because I actually turn in the majority of my homework in a decent amount of time. Usually I don’t even mind going to classes. But this year is different than all the others. Why? Because your clever narrator here decided to schedule seven out of her eight classes as college prep courses and the eighth as art.What kind of idiot does that to herself? Me, apparently. And so, for the next nine months of my life, I’ll be balancing hellish amounts of homework, a job, sports, other extra-curriculars, and anything my family decides they want me along for. Sounds fun, eh?

Alright, alright. I’ll admit it: I’m excited. I’m excited to see everyone who I haven’t seen the last three months. I’m excited for everyone to see me, because I feel a thousand times more confident now than I did at the end of my sophomore year. I’m excited to show off my new clothes, especially the new jeans that I blew my entire first paycheck on. I’m excited for my first meet. I’m excited to be an upperclassman. I’m psyched for football games. I’m even excited for Homecoming, even though it’s really not that fun, since nobody actually dances. I won’t go into the details of what usually happens at dances, since I’m guessing the majority of my readers went to high school at a time where dancing actually occurred at dances, and I wouldn’t want to ruin any happy/innocent memories for you with the trash that happens now-a-days.

So here’s the bottom line: I’m excitedly-slash-dreadfully awaiting the new school year. I guess I’m leaning more towards the excited end of the spectrum, but my mind keeps flickering back to the fact that I’m not going to have any downtime whatsoever to enjoy my life until next summer. Oh well. It’s my own fault, really.

For now, I’ll ignore my impending doom and focus on the happy things, like seeing friends and attending football games. It’ll all work out for me. It always does.