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How to Raise Your Parents
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Thursday, 22 March 2001

How to Raise Your Parents

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A Letter from Jenny, 16, to her Mother

Dear Mom,

You did something last night that hurt me very deeply.

This letter is being written after a lot of thought, because it's not the first time I've been through this with you.

On more than one occasion I have found myself talking to you, but actually talking to myself. It happens when I speak to you about trivial, everyday matters, but - even worse - it also happens when I open my heart to you about personal, sensitive subjects that are the most important thing to me at the moment.

The insulting response I often receive is indifference. Then I understand that I haven't really been listened to.

I would like to emphasize that I mean I haven't been listened to, not that I haven't been heard. If at the end of the conversation, I ask you, "What have I said up till now?" you always know how to answer correctly, claiming that you heard every word I said, but you usually wouldn't show any empathy or understanding with what I said.

Almost every time I comment on this problem, your reaction is either, "You are too vulnerable," or "I am tired, I had a hard day at work. I'm sorry."

So, with all due respect to your tiredness, which is a result of hard work (and I really do appreciate your hard work), I hope you now understand.

Love,

Jenny

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