Some kids just don’t get the parents they deserve. It’s sad but true. Your letter shows you to be a sensitive, intelligent kid who is doing her best. Instead of living down to the expectations of your folks, you continue to try to obey the rules, at least most of the time, and you try to figure out how to make things change. Every kid wants and needs to be loved. But sometimes life is just plain unfair!
Please understand that your parents’ behavior has very little to do with you. They sound like scared people who haven’t a clue how to raise a teenager. When your dad accuses you of being a slut, he is probably really saying that he is scared to death of your emerging sexuality. When your mother doesn’t defend you, it’s because she is scared of bringing the wrath of your dad onto herself. You are living with parents don’t have a clue how to effectively protect you and give you guidance. Controlling you as much as possible is all they can think of. I have to wonder if either of them had a loving parent either. My guess is not.
Your best bet is to start planning now for when you are 18 and ready to be on your own. Get your grades back up to where they should be. Start working either as a volunteer or at a paid job to get some experience in a field that you like. Talk to your guidance counselor about how to apply for scholarships to college or how to get into a training program to prepare you for a good job. If you do these things, you’ll have the resources to move out and to manage on your own after graduation from high school. At that time, you’ll be in a better position to negotiate the terms of your relationship with your parents. Sometimes young adults are surprised to find they can have a civil relationship once they are no longer dependent.
Meanwhile, you do need some adult friends and mentors to provide the kind of guidance and support your parents aren’t giving you. I hope you like your boyfriend’s mother and that you can talk with her. Befriend a teacher or guidance counselor. Be on the look out for other adults who may be able to give you the respect and appreciation you crave and deserve. Cultivate those relationships so you have people to turn to when you need advice.
Sadly, you are not the only teenager who has this problem. I’ve received hundreds of letters much like yours. It takes more than genetics to make people into good parents. Fortunately, there are many, many older people who are ready and willing to be adult friends if you are willing to look for them and open your heart to them.
If you ever feel suicidal again, please, please make a call to the Boys and Girls Town National Hotline (800-448-3000). Counselors are available 24/7 to help kids like you.
I wish you well.
This article has been updated from the original version, which was originally published here on October 20, 2010.