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Dear Coleen: My fun-loving parents are always embarrassing me



Dear Coleen

I’m a 21-year-old girl and recently had a big birthday bash at my parents’ house. I don’t know why I agreed to it, as I didn’t trust them to behave.

They’re both only 39 and had me when they were 18 and in their first year at university. My friends all love them and think it’s great they’re so young – most of their parents are in their late 40s or early 50s – but I find the situation stressful.

I’m an only child and I feel as if I’ve spent my entire life being responsible for them. They never curtailed their partying lifestyle while I was growing up and often I’d come down in the morning when I was a child to find people asleep on the sofas and empty bottles and beer cans around, which I’d then tidy up.

I feel especially angry right now because at my 21st birthday party both of them got drunk and were hanging out with my mates, dancing and being ridiculous. I just found the whole thing a massive cringe.

My parents don’t see anything wrong with their behaviour at all or even consider the impact it has on me.

It’s not like they’re alcoholics or anything – my dad runs his own ­business and my mum has a good job – and they only go for it when they’re out for the night together or having a party at home.

I had a huge go at my mum after my party and think I crossed a line because I told her she was an embarrassment and too old to behave the way she was.

I know I upset her but it was the last straw. How can I make them see how I feel and put things right with mum?

Coleen says

I hate to break it to you, but it’s part of the job description to embarrass your kids. Sometimes it’s by accident and occasionally it’s by design.

I think it would help you to ­understand them better if you could try to put yourselves in their shoes – imagine having a three-year-old child now at your age. Imagine all the stuff you couldn’t do – study, work, hang out with your mates whenever you wanted to. It sounds as if your parents are making up for lost time. Bringing up a child is very hard work, as well as being rewarding, and especially tough when you’re only a teenager yourself.

I take my hat off to your mum and dad because they had you so young and made a success of it – you’re a great young woman, they’ve forged good careers for themselves and they stayed together. Wow!

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I think you’re carrying a bit of resentment from when you were younger and maybe you also grew up feeling a bit different to your friends if all their parents are older.

But if you have things you want to get off your chest, then talk to them in a calm way and explain your feelings instead of letting them build up into an argument.

There are so many advantages to having young parents. Hopefully they’ll be around for a long time and will be wonderful grandparents to your kids, and because they’re younger, they should be able to connect a bit easier to the things you’re going through at your age. So, celebrate it instead of looking at the negatives.





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