OC HIGH: STUDENT NEWS & VIEWS : An Open Letter to Parents

This letter was written by Jennifer Beauvais, a junior at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana. It first appeared in a school newsletter

Maybe you’ve noticed I’ve been changing lately, not only physically, but emotionally.

I’m very moody, sometimes depressed, sometimes angry and sometimes cheerful. We argue with each other more and have so much trouble agreeing on anything. I’m even more secretive than ever, sometimes concealing the truth from you. But trust me when I say that there are reasons.

Things are happening to me, inside and out, that even I don’t understand! My emotions, other than existing as confusing, are like an out-of-control roller coaster: up and down, topsy-turvy, sometimes fun and sometimes forcing me to want to get off. I’m trying to find my identity, who I am as a person. This is not to be mistaken as an easy task.

Anyhow, while trying to be myself, when sometimes I don’t even know who that is, I am constantly being influenced by peer pressure, new fads, drugs and society in general. By society, I mean the pressures put on teens by advertising agencies, AIDS, pregnancy, gangs and the like. I also worry about my physical appearance. Am I pretty enough, thin enough, strong enough, tall enough . . . ?


Adding to the stress of my hectic lifestyle is school. In the social aspect, I am trying to make friends and keep them. People of the opposite sex are suddenly introduced into the scene. Besides the weirdness of the nervousness around them and the fear of acting really stupid, other problems are presented after I get to know them--like whether to remain a virgin. It’s a scary thought, but it is real! I don’t need these bizarre emotions to add to the enormous pile I already have.

High school is a major stress-inducer, and, believe it or not, I feel large amounts of stress; most teens do. First, I’m in a new, big school trying to meet new friends. Grades are more difficult to keep up, especially with those dreaded quarter exams, and even the sports are more competitive than in the lower grades.

Later, there is an endless series of long, late nights doing excessive amounts of homework. At school, I am expected to know my way around and the rules. No more excuses for getting in trouble. And I have to keep my grades up. On top of worrying whether I am taking the classes required by colleges, I have to find a parking spot--every day--that is within a two-mile radius of the school--a feat in itself!

Now, while all this is happening to me, I am trying to grow up and be independent; I’m preparing for my future in the “real world,” where parents won’t make my decisions or do my laundry. I have my fair share of problems, and though you say I can come to you about anything, I don’t because you get upset and angry, and we end up fighting.


So I either lie or say nothing. I know you want to help me because you love me, and it’s hard to let go of your baby, but I’m growing up. I’m trying to be an adult and will one day, very likely, be in the position you are in now.

So, as I change and strive to be my own person, please try to understand what is going on inside me. Remember this when you see me crying for no apparent reason, pounding my pillow in anger or acting unusually happy.

Remember this when I argue with you, disagree and try to make my own decisions. But, please, also remember that, though I am a bit strange right now, I am willing to cooperate.

Just please love me as I am, for these feelings can make me feel alone, and I need that reassurance. Please try to support me in what I do, because I need that also.

I love you,

Your Teen-Ager