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I'm a 16 year-old junior in high school. I often spar with my parents over the fact that I'm failing many classes. The issue, however, is not that I do not understand the material; it's that "failing" is simply my approach to passing.

I tend to get high 70s to low 90s in the first quarter of each semester without having to study, pay attention in class, or even do the work. Then, in the second quarter (which usually comes with more "difficult" work), I can exert about the same level of effort and pass the class.

For example, in class #1, I earned a 77 in the first quarter. Therefore, I only need to earn a 63 in the second quarter to pass.

77 + 63 = 140
140 / 2 = 70

Often, I sit in class programming on my laptop while listening to music. When this is not an option (because of a strict teacher, etc.), I generally write down math problems to solve, or zone out.


I'm a fairly knowledgeable guy, IMHO, and I know most of the things that my high school teachers (public school) are teaching. My standardized test scores have always been pretty good for my age (for example, I took the ACT at age 12, and got a 26). I may or may not go to college (I want to be a computer programmer), but if I do decide I want to, I will apply for scholarships that are based solely on ACT scores (planning to take it this spring).


My parents have different goals for me. They feel that I should have a 90 or above in every class (they've lightened up from 95 to 90), and to get a full ride to college. They constantly push for me to do more than expected (often bribing me, or threatening to take away my things if I don't comply).

I've had a discussion with them before about possibly not attending college and instead going straight to the work force, and they seemed quite disappointed. They said many things like: "it's so sad that you think that", and other demeaning things along those lines.


I'm not trying to spill my whole education history online, but I thought some background information might be helpful.

My real question is: How can I get my parents to accept that I'm only trying to pass (that I will, in fact, pass), and that I'd like to spend my time doing harder/better things?

They often tell me that I'm smart, but they are constantly pushing me to get better grades, or get onto me for having sub-par grades (by their definition). This trend has occurred throughout my life, even when I was younger when they would require I read x number of chapters or for x number of hours to earn time on a computer or watching TV.

I'll be 17 soon, and I believe I'm being treated like a young child. How can I get them to treat me like the age I am? Also, I feel like they rarely hear me out when I disagree with their way of thinking. How can I even start this conversation without them immediately shutting it down?


Note: As I type, they are arguing with me over schoolwork I haven't done.

  • 48
    I am a professional programmer without a degree and this sounds somewhat familiar. I have found good employers who weren't too bothered by the lack degree, as I hoped, but I also had unexpected difficulties: even with a job offer, it was very difficult to get a visa to work in a different country without a degree. I was initially rejected, had to appeal, and was stuck in limbo for six months. Personally, I also found the transition to normal workplace structure rougher after I'd just been doing my own thing for so long. Just be aware. :) – Jeremy Banks Nov 11 '15 at 0:24
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    I think this is an interesting question, but it invites a lot of advice about/reasons why your approach should be avoided. Also, you are asking a number of questions, and the focus of your bolded statement is lost. Maybe you want to edit out the questions that are really mostly rhetorical? I'm trying to respect that you're smart enough to know the dangers of this approach. Please, folks, stay on topic. – anongoodnurse Nov 11 '15 at 1:55
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    Keep comments on-topic. Avoid answering, arguing, or meta discussion in comments. The OP wants to know how to approach a discussion with his parents about academic performance. If you want to help clarify the question, feel free to comment — otherwise use chat. – Acire Nov 11 '15 at 15:23
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    "How can I even start this conversation without them immediately shutting it down" You could put your thoughts in writing, as you have done in this question. – user17024 Nov 11 '15 at 17:12
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    You don't have to convince your parents of anything. You are 16 years old. Convince a judge that you are ready for the adult world and get an order of emancipation. The law in my jurisdiction says minors must go to school until they are 16 years old. You don't have to go to school. Drop out and stop wasting your time. – emory Nov 13 '15 at 2:50

10 Answers 10

76

If you want them to accept your approach, you're going to have to show them you've truly mitigated that risk. The only way I can see to do that is landing some good-paying ($25/hour+) programming work and delivering to satisfied customers.

I wish you the best of luck, but I highly advise you to keep as many options open as possible. Life rarely works out the way you plan.

  • 6
    Great, short answer. There a lots of freelancing sites that you can get started on. Try doing a google search for 'programming freelance' to see whats out there. – Hoytman Nov 11 '15 at 17:09
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    +1 for this. My mom used to always get on my case about playing around with video games instead of developing useful skills. It's kinda funny: I don't think I've heard that one a single time since told her how I solved a nasty race condition on a major project using a technique I learned writing StarCraft event scripts. – Mason Wheeler Nov 11 '15 at 18:58
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    My parents used to get very annoyed by the number of computer 'toys' I had (servers, old computers I salvaged, tiny computers for their small energy footprint). That is, until I started getting job offers while still in high school because I could talk fairly openly about server technologies, having played around with them for a while. Basically, love what you do, but parents that are concerned for your future are right to do so - so figure out a way to show them that your future will be fine – Jake Nov 11 '15 at 19:05
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    As a professional programmer who has done some freelance work in the past, think twice before using sites like freelancer.com and such. The companies that list jobs there, do it there because they want as least to do with the project as possible, giving no more help than "just make it work". – Kevin Nov 12 '15 at 20:26
  • I don't really see what making $25 an hour has to do with the parents being happy. As a parent I am happy if my kids are. Part of my kids being happy might be that they make a certain amount of $$. Part might be that they like their friends. Part might be they like their job and where they are living. You are assuming that a 16 year old knows what will make them happy in 10 years. In 10 years he may want to teach kids or work on rocket ships. That $25 an hour job isn't going to matter... – blankip Nov 13 '15 at 22:45
54

If you are ever going to be able to convince your parents about this, you first need to understand them. If you don't understand what they are thinking and what they value here, your arguments are likely to miss the mark and have no effect.

I assume your parents are like most in that they want the best for you. They want you to have a better life than they have had. And to ensure that that happens, they are trying to push you towards success. Since you mentioned in the comments that they both have advanced college degrees, they probably feel that college is a fairly good way to achieve success. Which would explain why they want you to do well and not merely pass your classes. Their reasoning probably goes something like this "Better grades lead to better colleges and a better education which typically leads to better jobs and a better life."

Also, no parent ever wants to see their child fail. Your parents don't want to see you have to repeat a class or grade in school. I know the chart above was merely an example, but if it were my child I would be concerned. Some of those numbers don't leave much padding for passing. If you had stellar grades all thru the year and slacked off the last week or two I would be far less concerned about you failing. From that example tho, you aren't exactly squarely in the victors circle, but poised on the precipice of failure.

All that being said, if you want to convince your parents that you need to first ask them why they are so concerned and what they are pushing you towards. Then you have to assuage their fears. If they are worried that you won't get into college, you need to show them that you can or that you don't need college at all. Do some research. How easy is it to get a programming job without a degree versus with one? Would your earnings change because of a degree? What kind of opportunities do you gain or lose out on by going to college? By going directly into the workforce? Obviously as the motivations and concerns change, the arguments you need to make change.

Also, you need to pick a favorable time and place to have these conversations. Trying to do this when your parents are stressed is not going to make them more likely to listen to a well reasoned objective argument. Even less likely when the arguments become subjective and have emotions and judgements attached. Also, if you bring your grades up, you are in a better position to talk about the subject. With better grades, the conversation is more easily focused on what both you and your parents want and is less likely to deviate into a lecture on why your performance in school is unacceptable.

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    Their concern may go beyond just "can he get into college" -- poor academic results from not turning in work or not paying attention to teachers can be an indicator of poor work habits and therefore limited opportunities in a future career. Again, addressing how work performance is going to be different from school performance is the key to helping them understand why that's OK. (And +1 for this answer, which covers pretty much everything else that I would have to say!) – Acire Nov 10 '15 at 21:25
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    @Erica Agreed. I just used college as an example. What I hope came thru here is the idea that he needs to understand what his parents want before he can argue his point. And if he discovers that their reasoning and motivations are valid or desirable, he may want to reevaluate his position. – Becuzz Nov 10 '15 at 21:28
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    You've done a great job of answering the OP's question without trying to dissuade him from his course. Understanding the parental process can be constructive in finding ways of dealing with them. Nice answer. – anongoodnurse Nov 11 '15 at 1:58
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Having gone through to almost the same process and ending up in a position that works out pretty well, I can say that this approach can work, assuming you really are as smart as you claim to be. A good programmer without a diploma is more likely to be hired than a poor programmer with a diploma. (In my area

However, if you want to get hired, people need to be aware that you're a good programmer. This might also be why your parents are having a hard time with your approach. To a non-technical, non-directly involved person it's very hard to see the difference between someone wasting their time away on a computer and someone working on their future.

So start showing your parents (and the world) that you're not just being lazy in school. Show everyone that you're simply working on a different curriculum that the one school teaches you, because you think your own choice of curriculum will get you further in life than theirs. The only ultimate proof is doing it, but you can still increase the odds that people see it.

Here's a bunch of stuff I did that helped my parents (and school counselor, and others) see that I wasn't setting myself up for failure:

Build stuff that is useful to others and show it to them

You'd be surprised how many new friends you make if you build tools for your classmates. When I took classes, we had graphical calculators that could be programmed. Learn the language for them and build programs that help people with their classes. Bonus points: if you know how to build a program to solve the problems, you can also pass the exam.

Make sure to explain/demo them to your parents so they can see what you're doing. In this modern day and age, you can certainly do the same thing for people's smartphones.

Another valuable skill for a developer is hearing problems and fixing them. Next time you hear your parents (or family, friends, anyone) complain about a certain problem, try and come up with a way to fix it. Build it. (Don't just tell them you can build it. DO IT.) Show them how it improves their life. Being able to do that is the very core of being a good (and hireable) developer and everyone will see the value you deliver.

Make sure you put all the work you do online somewhere and build your own resumé. Get it out there. Show your parents how you're building up a professional skill set.

And of course, get some real professional experience in the software business. The best place to start is being a freelancer, either by hunting down jobs on one of the various online freelancer-wanted websites. You can also build some apps and try to sell them in the various app-stores.

Show, don't tell.

You know you can do this. But a professional developer is more than someone who can program. A professional developer can convince other people that he can do it. Start building up those professional skills and your parents will see that you're not just playing with your computer, you're working on your future. Which is what people go to school for in the first place.

Stop having discussions about how you're going to be fine. Start showing them how you're going to be fine.

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    This is a great answer, but I'd encourage OP to still be wary. I'm a self taught, and professional, programmer as well. I can without hesitation say that OP will have to work twice (or thrice) as hard to succeed if they choose not to pursue a degree. There are benefits though too, getting into the workforce earlier and without student loan debt isn't something to be taken lightly. – RubberDuck Nov 12 '15 at 0:47
  • I would say that depends on the OP's location, which I do not know. I have not yet found an employer in my country that even looks at my diplomas (or lack thereof) let alone cares about them. – Erik Nov 12 '15 at 8:54
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    I can tell you that in the U.S., it remains difficult to find a position without a degree, even with years of experience. – RubberDuck Nov 12 '15 at 17:04
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    @RubberDuck's advice should not be taken lightly. Same boat, and I'd say having to work 3X as hard is getting off lightly. I still to this day after almost 10 years of professional experience get the look in interviews like "oh great, another hobbyist programmer." My first pro job was as a flash developer, I had been writing articles featured in Adobe's blog, tutorials viewed by tens of thousands on flash sites, published open source code and I still was greeted with extreme skepticism in that interview because of a lack of a piece of paper. – user17824 Nov 13 '15 at 13:23
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I was in a similar situation when I was younger, though somehow I figured out how to have my parents work with me on it. I didn't do well in school because it was illogical to spend so much time on subjects that could be fully assimilated in hours. Explaining this did nothing, but when they saw what I was actually spending my time on instead of school work they may have seen my intentions and shifted their concerns toward getting me into an alternate program that allowed me to graduate early.

You say you spend your time programming in class. Do you have something material to show? Is there anything about these programs that would impress upon them that the standard curriculum is indeed a waste of your time?

You can program from anywhere. When you do it for you, you are more likely to change the platform we all use. You are more likely to be inspired to build what you want to build, what you want to play, what you want to read. Your rewards will be so much greater than any programming job in the medical sector, or fast paced client driven web sites choking on their drupal back end. If you're a good programmer, or even a bad one with tons of experience, you'll probably get where you want to go. How much do you want to enjoy the ride?

Maybe your parents want you to achieve what they never did. Maybe they know how depressing the cycle of a 5 day work week is and they want to give you the highest probability of avoiding such a cruel fate as they can.

If you want them to realize your potential, show them. Let's see these programs you're writing. What can they do and how can they represent your motivation to excel beyond the standard curriculum which is slowing you down? And is there an alternative way to get you out faster, possibly at your own pace? You might explain why you are so eager to get a job?

Programmers think logically. So I want to know the logic behind these things beyond the math of technical graduation. The way I see it, you have formulated an excuse. It will give you the most time to do what you really love doing.

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    If you remembered how you got your parents to go along with you, this might be a better answer. – anongoodnurse Nov 11 '15 at 2:05
  • I was going to post this same answer. And I think the way to get your parents along with it, is in the answer: "If you want them to realize your potential, show them." Maybe the doubt in the first line just needs to be removed and the answer will stand stronger. – Erik Nov 11 '15 at 9:51
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I'm an older version of you...

Your situation is almost exactly my own. I've been a computer programmer for 12 years and I have no degree.

My father did not get a degree, and it hurt him immensely in his career. My mother was a home maker who did not have a degree and did not know how to enter the work force when she needed to later in life. So they both pushed hard for good grades in high school and for me to go to college.

My parents won the battle, and I wasted three years in college and didn't finish a degree. I wish I would have never gone because it was a colossal waste of money. Not only did they force me to go, but they did not help with finances at all.

I was not in any way hindered by not finishing college. I have a good job, with good pay, and get offers on LinkedIn every single week for other jobs. After you have 5 years of experience you will do fine, even without the degree. But getting that first job is very difficult. You should have experience somehow. Perhaps create an app and get it into one of the various stores? Create a website that serves some purpose and has some traffic? Something. You need to be able to say "I can do this job, here's proof." Without that or your degree, you are in for a rough start.

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    One note to add: Companies are generally acceptable to programmers who are self taught. It shows initiative, and it means you learn well. On the other hand, no one would allow a surgeon to operate on them who said "I taught myself all this!". So my answer is mostly based on your choice of profession. I expect my children to go to college. And yes it can only help (not hurt) yourself as well. – Paul Nov 11 '15 at 22:07
  • A caveat is that a self-taught programmer has no idea how to work for someone, because they have been working for themselves. There are details of this in the other answers, and you REALLY need to know your stuff, not just the technical side of things, but proper etiquette in working in teams. Either that or you have super charisma (Steve Jobs, read his book) and basically make people do impossible things. – Nelson Nov 18 '15 at 10:03
  • That would really only apply if a programming job was your first job. That seems extremely unlikely. You are not getting hired with no experience, no schooling, and no prior jobs of any kind. I worked a number of other jobs before getting a programming job. – Paul Nov 18 '15 at 14:27
  • @Nelson: Someone fresh from university doesn't have any idea how to work for someone either. – gnasher729 Aug 28 '16 at 19:37
5

How can I even start this conversation without them immediately shutting it down (they rarely hear me out when I disagree with their way of thinking)?

Note: As I type, they are arguing with me over schoolwork I haven't done.

You start with 2 things:

  • Giving them your full attention
  • Listening and Understanding their position

You can't start this conversation by talking. You start it by listening.

The first bullet is because your parents probably consider it rude when they're trying to tell you something and they think you aren't paying attention. That is, they're talking to you and you're looking at your computer. When you choose to do that, you're the one shutting down the conversation before it's even started.

The second bullet is to demonstrate to your parents not just that you've been listening and can regurgitate their words back to them, but that you truly understand the ideas they're attempting to impress upon you. This doesn't just mean the immediate "you want me to get high scores in my classes", but the deeper understanding of (what might be) "doing well in my classes gives me more options of how I will succeed beyond high school by potentially qualifying me for more and greater scholarships OR demonstrating to potential employers that I am a hard worker and high achiever."

When parents want their children to do or accomplish something, they are putting their entire adulthood of life experience and accumulated wisdom behind it. You won't always be able to see or understand the underlying motivation, and that's OK. What you can do to help you both is to try to find out what that motivation is, where it comes from, and why it's there.

You may still disagree in the end, but if you can show them that you understand and appreciate their way of thinking they may be more interested in the dialogue about how you think. That's when you find you're in a constructive dialogue.

You're not going to win them over by dismissing their concerns and attempting to deconstruct their arguments point by point. This is a classic case of "even if you're right, you're not going to win."

How can I get my parents to accept that I'm only trying to pass (that I will, in fact, pass), and that I'd like to spend my time doing harder/better things?

You're going to have a very hard time convincing them of this if you don't know why they want more from you. This is where understanding what they want from you is critical so that you can attempt to explain to them how you intend to exceed their expectations and demonstrate to them the progress you've made towards doing exactly that.

Other answers and comments have also gone into the extended discussion of how trivial and uninteresting things are part and parcel of life, and how those can be perceived to either offer you greater opportunities or limit you from them.

Even in a dream meritocracy, being perceived as "can't do easy things well" is going to be a severe progression limiter, no matter how smart or skilled you are.

Perhaps your parents are trying to get you to understand that they think you might not have the chance to do those harder/better things that you want to do if you don't do the easier/trivial things well first.

I may or may not go to college

In regards to the workplace in general: There will be opportunities that are closed off to you without a degree of some kind. Many first-line HR processes will immediately disqualify or reduce the priority of resumes from applicants without them, simply because it's a fast and easy way to turn a large pile of applications into a smaller one. You can still be successful, but it requires more effort.

5

My story is very similar to your own. I was bored to death in school, I missed more school than I attended (in high school years) and still managed to keep passing. In my environment I was exceptionally smart. But you're not in the adult workforce with other professional programmers. You have not held a job where you need to perform alongside people who are better than you at your common craft.

Things change drastically when you become a fully independent adult. Things happen that are beyond your control constantly and you must adapt to them. As others have mentioned and I can confirm, you can do this the way you propose, but you must invest a lot more time and effort. You need to be exceptional to prove that you can perform in your chosen career without a piece of paper that says you can.

Your parents know these things. They know how adult life unfolds in an unpredictable way, how you're spending more time reacting than calmly watching plans unfold exactly as expected. They are trying to help you, but I think you do have a valid point though about how they're trying to help you.

Actually, the way they're trying to help you is a perfect example of how people plan and strive so hard for one thing, and end up getting an unpredictable, undesirable result. By forcing you to work harder and harder and set your sights higher, they've only contributed to the overall attitude that is making you want to withdraw from school, not excel at it.

What they're trying to do is prevent you from running into situations like the ones I and others have described. They know that getting a leg up before hitting full adulthood is important, because it becomes exponentially harder as the years pass once you do.

I agree with you entirely on measuring the depth of a person by some test scores, but unfortunately this is how the world works. At the end of the day, I would not have had any of the problems I described to you if I simply had a piece of paper. I've worked beside people who were numbskulls in the same field as I, yet they were instantly hired on into better positions with better money because they gave the initial time, money and jumped through the hoops to get a piece of a paper. That's the facts. No matter what, they were going to get at least a foot in the door somewhere with almost no questions asked.

It sounds to me like this whole situation can be resolved by having clearer, more open dialog with your parents. Both sides need to be open to being wrong and having their plans scrutinized by each other. You need to explain to your parents that you've dug your heels in and decided to go against their direction for your life. It might not be pretty, but it sounds to me like this is because they've already dug their heels in too.

However, if you were to leave the door open for some hope of a compromise, they may become flexible to opening dialogue to try to salvage at least some of their hopes. Don't be harsh, but communicate your position firmly.

Remember that no matter how strict they are, they are your parents and love you immensely. It's from this love that these plans come, no matter how flawed they are. Communicate this to them as well, as I'm sure you love them. I have yet to encounter a conflict where a clear expression of love from my children can't soften my heart in even the worst of moods. As someone else mentioned in a great answer, a letter may be the most effective method to break the ice on this issue.

3

If you are a person who is only willing to do just enough to get by,

(A) how does that prepare for your more difficult, higher level tasks which you aspire to?

(B) why would anyone want to hire or pay someone's who's approach is to do the absolute minimum level of achievement or competence to get by?

In a competitive business environment, companies that have the people who do the best work for the companies, who, in turn, supplies the best products for their customers are the ones who win the business, make money, and stay in business. They aren't going to be interested in someone who scrapes by. How do they measure that without knowing you, very well? They look at your grades, etc. If your history at the high school level is one of mediocrity, they're more likely to say "high school isn't that hard, and this person barely made it" vs. "this person is the genius/superstar that will vault us to excellence, and they've been saving it all up for our challenge."

As someone who has always been considered or described as very gifted or brilliant, but not effort-focused, and who has often been deemed as not fulfilling great potential, I can say your explanation sounds more like a justification for not trying, more than a reason.

I instilled the exact opposite attitude in my own kids because it burned me badly throughout life. I've had to scrape and toil all through my adult life, while those who were definitely less bright or creative than me, but much more willing to work, have been able to enjoy much nicer and more comfortable lives.

I like who I am, but you're setting yourself up for a lot of drudge and grind that is unnecessary. It doesn't end, when you're on your own, because that's all you have. It's not like when you're in high school and your parents provide for you.

Your parents simply know better than you, on this topic. Regardless, I've framed it in a way that removes the parents and their expectations from the equation. It's self-destructive on a personal level.

I'll be 17 soon, and I believe I'm being treated like a young child. How can I get them to treat me like the age I am?

Excuse-making to justify lazy, self-defeating behavior is not adult behavior. Harsh as that is, you need to behave responsibly to earn that respect and treatment. You're not demonstrating it on this issue.

1

Clearly you are not at all interested in school. If the world becomes boring or more limited for you in the future, (presuming you leave school as soon as you can) you can always go back. While your parents may not like or accept that reality, it does exist.

Likely you are in the US, where things like apprenticeships are not an option (such as in Germany). The monolithic schooling system is simply failing you, rather than you failing it. It has no way of engaging with you other that minimal force attention. The fact that your parents are unable or unwilling to question this reality is the sad part here. Personally, I don't think it is a choice for you, but simply where you find yourself, disinterested and disincentivized.

I had much the same experience myself. I dropped out of school at 17, and got a GED. Later, at the age of 22, I was able to demonstration some basic intelligence through an SAT, and after two years in community college, was able to transfer to a top university. I was interested in school at that point, and in succeeding, something that I did not experience at all through all of primary, secondary, and highschool.

Hopefully this experience might shed light on possible other outcomes.

Years later, rummaging through old papers, I ran across a report card/note to my mother from an 8th grade teacher. It said that I was disengaged in the classroom, either looked out the window, or read my own books (not classroom books) and while I was "smart" I wasn't at all applying myself.

I asked my mother what she thought when she got that, and she said she just didn't know what to do (so obviously, she did nothing). To me it seemed so obvious, I was bored out of my mind, and should have been put somewhere else. Obviously. This kind of disengagement is really something our parents have responsibility for. After all, the bored, but basically intelligent students don't have much choice in the matter.

1

Now that I see the question, you're probably a senior in HS with 2 years of "doing just enough" to pass the semesters.

To directly answer the question of "How?" the answer is you don't. Based on your post, I see that your parents have tried to entice you into the thing that they believe is best. And by avoiding that, and even actively opposing that, you now have a couple problems . . .

1) a 70% C- average (using your example in the original post) limits your options for tertiary education. Colleges that matter tend to have a higher GPA requirement.

2) Every college has a minimum GPA requirement for scholarships and grants.

This one is the biggie:
3) You now have no study habits.

Points 1 & 2 can be worked around in various ways. I mean it's money, and everyone wants your money. Even if you don't like them, there are options.

Point 3 is something I bet nobody has articulated. Doing your homework and classwork with makeup opportunity (in middleschool), leads to being responsible with homework (without makeup) in HS, leads to self-starting study habits and responsibility in college, leads to responsibility and work ethic in the workplace. One thing leads to another.

I right now have 5 kids... 25, 23, 16, ~14, 11. I have explained to them all that middle school is about homework. Do your homework and you'll get good grades. Fuck off the homework, and you'll have a chance to make it up.

In HS, teachers make a point to tell you what the homework is and will generally be lenient about it with people that are trying to get it done. You've blown it off, consistently getting zeros for missed assignments, so you've likely gotten no such lenience.

In University, the assignments will typically be made early on or almost completely separated from classtime and you'll be expected to not only do it on your own, but make queries on your own time.

In the workplace, much of the time you'll be expected to see what needs to be done and do it/complete it without someone telling you what to do. If you're able to do this, you get raises and promotions. If you're just a cog in the machine that gets just enough done on a regular basis, you get nothing. If someone needs to regularly follow up on you or tell you the basics of how to do the job they hired you to know and understand, you'll stay right where you are. Maybe.

The Lesson: By making it your mission to do only what needs to be done, and stopping there, you've made a habit and built a work mentality where distraction and unfocus have a lot of power.

But I've completed a lot of [not what I was tasked with]

Doesn't matter. It's not what you were asked to do which requires energy and focus. Going off and doing "something else", even if you completed the "something else" to satisfaction, is nothing more than being off-task.

Dude it's ok. I'll just deal with that as I need to.

It's not that easy. Creating a new habit is difficult enough. My 16 yo is doing the same thing right now. After fucking off her homework 6-9th grade, she's now on a path to not graduate and is very lost on how to organize her life while her friends are coping, with more facets, without a problem.

Here, we're talking about you, trying to create a new habit, to prioritize something tedious, over the carcass and crack-like effect of, doing something you really enjoy doing... which is "something else".

Ask anyone that's tried to stop an addiction how hard it is.

Last thing.

I'm not here to prove you wrong, or gang up on you, or tell you "do what your parents/teachers told you to do". You are your own person, absolutely.

However, you have spent more energy trying to be right than you you have trying to understand what's best.

IOW Rather than accepting that your parents are trying to impart some wisdom, you have camped out at the opinion that you are right and have tried to figure out new ways to convince your parents they are wrong.

The problem you face is that nobody trying to help you cares who is right here because it's not about being right... it's about helping you prepare yourself for the real world.

Even if you don't believe for a moment that adults in your world have your best interest at heart, all opinions are worth considering and understanding at their core, and filtering into your decision making process.

Dude i'm almost 52 (lol i had to do the math) years old. I didn't even begin to figure out any of the shit I've written here till I was probably 35 years old by which time i had a 7 & 9 yr old.

Bottom line is that all phases of American school have an order. It was designed during the industrial revolution to create citizens that had a basic skillset and an appropriate understanding of hierarchies. You've actively ignored a major part of that.

[edit]
after posting this, I did a bit of digging and see that you've not responded to anyone. Like any teenager I've ever known, including myself, you've probably convinced yourself that "those fools don't understand me and my life. I know what I'm doing."

Yeah... well... this is the part where I quote a bumper sticker I saw a loong time ago:

Teenagers: Hurry up and move out while you still know everything.

  • 1
    I liked your down to earth approach, Monsto. I would add that both my my current husband and ex are in tech -- one as a software developer/engineer and programmer with a degree - and he does fine , and run his dept for one of the largest employers in USA. My ex husband, has no degree, and cannot stay in one job. Someone with less smarts and less knowledge but with letters after her/his name keeps overtaking him. His boss is in his 20s and my ex is in his 60s. So if you want to hustle and do not want to be the boss -- just carry on your way. The Geek Squad at Best Buy always has openings! – WRX Mar 19 '17 at 21:49

protected by Acire Jan 5 '16 at 12:22

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