One Thing Writing Young Adult Taught Me & a Giveaway

“You just don’t understand!”

How many times have you heard that line from an unhappy teen?  As the mother of two grown kids, I’ve heard it plenty of times.  And for what’s it worth, many of those times, I heard it, but didn’t really hear it.

What I mean is, our teenagers have a point. We sometimes don’t understand.  Oh, we understood at one time, but as we grew into adults, as we became parents, protective beings out to assure our children avoid the pitfalls of life. I think we forgot.

We forget what it was like to be a teenager.  And I don’t just mean the surging hormones or peer pressure.  But yes, that is certainly a part of it.  What I mean is we forget that they are adults in the making.  They have their own personalities.  Their own goals.  Their own likes and dislikes.  That they have their own lessons to learn.

And yes, that last one is the hardest for us as parents.  We want to protect them from facing anything close to dire consequences.  And yet so many of the lessons we learned in our early years are the ones that helped shape us as human beings.

We often forget how hard it is be under the control of someone else.   We decide where they’ll live, if they move from state to state, and where they’ll go to school.  We decide if they’ll live with both parents or with only one.

Yes, so much of this is out of our control.  And yet we forget how those decisions can affect their lives.

We try to oversee who they are friends with.  What career path they’ll move into.  We try to dictate who they’ll love.  What clothes they’ll wear.  How they’ll wear their hair.

And yes, as parents this is our job.  We are meant to lead. To guide.  And yet so often our guidance is directed by our own beacons and sometimes even our own prejudices.  We neglect to remember how our own paths led us away from that of our parents.  That an essential part of growing up is discovering who we are and how we differ from those around us.

Sometimes I think we forget a valuable tool we have as parents is the one to step back and not to crowd, to listen and not command, to advise and not rule.  Yet sometimes even though stepping back is exactly what we need to do, we overlook that option.  And yes, knowing the when it’s right and when it’s wrong sometimes feels impossible.

I think as parents we often forget that our children are not immune to our mistakes, our missteps, the consequences of our bad choices, and even the bad luck we encounter.  Even when we have no fault, when life hits us hard, it hits them, too.

In my young adult books I plagiarize from real life and often from my own teen years.  In my novel that releases March 26th, In Another Life, a young adult thriller, I write about how Chloe’s life is turned upside down by her parent’s bitter divorce and her father’s adultery.  Add her mom’s cancer and depression and you have a girl who is more emotionally stable than her own parents.

In Two Feet Under, the second book in my Mortician’s Daughter series that releases in December, Riley lost her mother when she was young and is being raised by her father who is an alcoholic.  A man who drinks to hide the pain of his past.  A past that Riley senses holds secrets about her own life and now she’s determined to unearth them.

When I was asked to write young adult, I questioned my ability to do it.  Could I crawl into the skin of teenager and relate?  I believe I accomplished this by taking a long stroll down memory lane.  Amazingly, I discovered that teens today deal with most of the same issues I dealt with as a teen.  Yes, they have social media and it makes it’s harder, but the underlining issues are the same:  parents, peer pressure, drugs, alcohol and sex.

I wish I’d have gotten into writing young adult books sooner, when my children were younger. I think it would have made me a better parent to them as teenagers.

And just as writing these books opened my eyes as to how I could have been a better parent, I believe reading them can offer the same benefit to others.

Do you look back at your own coming-of-age time?  Do you remember one thing in which you wish your parents had given you a little more leeway?  Do you recall something that your parents did that felt so unfair and yet, now you see they were right?  If you are a teen, is there something that you feel your parents just don’t understand?

One person who leaves a comment will win a $15 Amazon card.

Happy Reading!

25 thoughts on “One Thing Writing Young Adult Taught Me & a Giveaway

  1. I loved reading you books when i was in highschool. Sad to say i havent read much of anything in the past year. I had two young kids and one baby, so find the time is hard. You are one of the writers who made me think about maybe making my own book someday. I’m a very visual writer. I like to make the reader imagine they are in that place with the character. Someday i hope my words can capture people’s imaginations and feelings. So much that they dont want to put the book down because once they leave that book they are leaving the world i created for them. I want to make people long for that something that only exists in those pages. I envy you.

  2. Everyday I think I can’t be more grateful I didn’t grow up with social media or the high speed internet and so far everyday I’m proven wrong. Having a teen daughter and constantly hearing how kids are being abducted not from being snatched at home but from them going to meet up with people makes my heart hurt. My child probably gets tired of hearing about internet safety and so on but it’s a dialogue I don’t want her to forget.

  3. I am an adult who reads a lot of young adult books and because of that I get to look back on my on my own (not too far away, I’d like to think) teen years pretty often thru reading. My parents are great. Not strict at all but lacks enough time with me and my sister because they had to work and provide. We turned out okay, I guess. The only thing that I mainly regret from my younger years is that I didn’t got a boyfriend!!! I was too nerdy and studious to notice boys then.

  4. Living in a dorm room, and being in college in general. Both of my parents went straight into the workforce after high school.

  5. The thing I remember most was my mom always being gone helping my aunt during my senior year of high school. While I understood that my mom was helping out there because my aunt was dying from cancer, I still wanted my mom. My best friend’s family basically adopted me in to their family and my best friend’s mom did my hair and took our pictures before Prom. I also remember the next year when my sister was a senior she chose to not go to prom and I was so mad because our mom was there and could have seen her go to prom. I think I was upset because I love my aunt, but I also wanted my mom there. And it was difficult when my aunt did pass because now I miss her and my mom had more time with her and I wanted my sister to experience something that I didn’t. But I am forever grateful to my best friend’s family. They are the best and they are still like my second family and they are super supportive.

  6. I remember my mom not being there for Prom night. While I understood that she was taking care of my aunt who was losing the battle with cancer, I still felt like she was missing a big part of my life. My best friend’s family became a second family for me. My best friend’s mom even did my hair for Prom. Looking back I think I was upset because my mom was getting time with my aunt and I did not get much more time with her. I wanted my mom, but couldn’t be selfish and that has impacted my adult life to this day.

  7. I remember not being allowed to go to a Drive-in movie, on a date, until I was 17! I thought this was unfair as all my friends were going!
    I now realize that my parents cared enough to prevent me from getting into a situation that I might not have been able to handle!

  8. I remember being so stubborn & sure I was right as a teen. Even though my mom was and is my best friend I really didn’t trust her judgement on a lot of things. I became a mom in my very early teens and I didn’t value my Mom’s general advice on not trying so hard to make everything perfect for my kids. Now, I know that she was right about not stressing over every tiny detail of parenting

  9. Even though my parents are divorced now and it was rough going for a few years, I appreciate how they raised me. When I was younger I hated the chores I had and the fact that me and my sister had a lot of cleaning to do, but it made me a harder worker and more detail oriented in the end. The biggest thing they did for me was let me rebel, though. When I was 14 I had an accident that landed me in a wheelchair and in school I had an aide who helped me get books, take notes, etc. With always having someone there I didn’t have the typical teenage experience. There was no skipping school, procrastinating on work when there’s always someone there, and conversation with boys was not happening. Talk about awkward! So when I wanted a tattoo they let me. I also had my tongue pierced. It was their way of letting me “rebel” and experience life. I appreciate the normalcy they gave me.

  10. I always wished my friends were allowed to come to mine for sleepovers, I was always at theirs instead. I thought it was so unfair, it’s only as an adult that I realize my mom said no because of how much of a drunk my dad was x

  11. I wish my parents at times would have maybe tried to point out some of the undesirable traits the guys I dated growing up had. Instead my mom held her tongue because she didn’t want to say something and that be the guy my HEA was with and there to be a wedge. I spent way to much time with people who didn’t deserve it. While I’m thankful she let me learn and was always there to catch me if I stumbled I sometimes wish some of those experiences could be erased.

  12. As a child, into my teen years, I was raised by a strict, catholic grandmother who is southern. I want allowed to do much if it wasn’t things that pertained to church and I really didn’t rebel much unless it was the rock music I listened too. That young, I felt tied down and repressed which caused me to become super shy and timid. Which, also carried over into me become an adult. It’s only in recent years that my shell has begun to crack and a bit of my inner light shine through. Parents, they want to protect their children from the possible wrongs in the world. Most forget what it was like themselves as teenagers until they begin to remember when their children distance themselves. I adore your stories, how real relationships are between parent and child. Even in the fantasy books. The struggles.

  13. When i was young i didnt understand why my mother always went off on a fit and why i could never ask her about anything without her getting angry about random things that had nothing to do with the topic. Now as a mom of 3 i understand that she was a stressed out single mom. She was so stressed that should couldnt take care of herself and then was unable to take care of us. Sure she fed us and gave us a home and games but she couldnt sit down with us and help us study, talk about our future plans and how to get there, or how our day was at school and how we were actually feeling. She was to burnt out to go in depth with us and because of that we kind of found our own ways. We either did great on our own or we failed on our own. Im trying to not make the same mistakes with my children and let them know that im always here to listen and help.

  14. I wish my parents were more social so I learned how to be. We weren’t allowed to have friends over to the house because my mom is a clean freak. Now I love having people stop by anytime to hang out or eat. But it took until my 30s to do that.

  15. When i was in high school i wanted to go see phantom of the opera live on the original stage in canada. I begged my mom to let me go or to go with me. Neither happened. I was upset for a while. It was the last time it would be ever performed on the stage that was built for the show. I get why we didnt go but it was still upsetting back when i was in high school.

  16. I think I learned a lot from the mistakes my parents made raising me. The biggest lesson I learned is communication. There were things I got into trouble for where assumptions were made about my intentions. But if we had just talked about it, things could have been a whole lot different. If I have kids, I will do my best to encourage discussion and not jump to conclusions.

  17. I didn’t really have anything unfair I can think of now. I remember fights with my mom about not being able to stay the night at friends houses and not being able to go places. Her answer would be “Because I said so” and that would set me off. Looking back as a parent now I can see why she said no… hahaha
    I appreciate my childhood now and wish my son would be able to step away from the computer and his cell phone more to engage with the outside world more.

  18. I never remember a time when my mom “didn’t understand” because she always took the time to sit down and try to understand. My mom was such a lax mom but she always looked out for me. I really aspire to be my mom because I turned out so well. I hope my son turns out like me haha

  19. I would always tell my mom that “you just don’t understand “ ! Now as an adult I kinda understand that she did get me but I was always blinded by whatever was happening and was always wanting instant gratification! I now see that everything she taught and would lecture me about was her way of say hey I’m here and I get you and I’m listening ! Also I love your books so far shadow falls will always be my most favorite series ! !!!

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