Listen Up, Grown-Ups: An Open Letter on Adult Etiquette from a 13-year-old Girl

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photo of a girls legs wearing cuffed jeans pink sneekers
Adults: Let me give you some advice. Photo: Pixaby

A few things really pissed me off recently that I feel the need to say to grown-ups. Unfortunately, a lot, or most, grownups don’t listen to children, but here are some things you would hear if you did:

STOP teaching your daughters that abuse is a sign of affection.

When your daughter comes home and complains that a boy was mean to her, or that a boy pushed her, DO NOT brush it off and say, “Oh, he just likes you.” Well, guess what? I don’t want to hear that you think he “likes” me. What I want to hear you say (in your own words) is, “WHAT AN A-HOLE! PLEASE tell me you told a teacher on that SLIME BAG!”

If you continue to teach young girls (or boys) that abuse is a sign of affection, then your daughter (or son) will stay in an abusive relationship. DO NOT root in your daughter’s head that she should stay with her abusive boyfriend or girlfriend because they “just like” her.

STOP forcing your daughters, sons, nieces, nephews, and grandchildren to hug and kiss people.

I get it, I get it. You expect to have them hug you. But a few days ago an adult in my family grabbed my arm. When I shook her off, she acted all offended, and I felt like crap and guilty and all that because I didn’t want to be touched. That is bullshit. I shouldn’t have to feel that way. Teach your kid they don’t need to hug or kiss or do ANYTHING that makes them uncomfortable. Our bodies are our own. If you don’t get that point across, your daughter or son will feel like they can’t tell you if they are ever sexually abused, because we feel like we are REQUIRED to let people touch us.

STOP telling your teenagers when they want to be alone or aren’t acting the way you want them to that they are turning into “Moody Teenagers.”

When your teenager hears this, they feel really sad and dread being a teenager. I also feel like if I keep unintentionally being moody (BECAUSE IT’S WHAT TEENS DO, SO FREAKING DEAL) that I won’t be loved as much anymore. Do you want a depressed teen because you told them every time they were not gloriously happy and spitting flowers that they are becoming a “moody teenager”? NO? I DIDN’T THINK SO. So please STOP.

And one more thing…

TEACHERS, STOP letting students be a-holes to each other!

I really respect teachers, and I always have. But Teachers, you need to STAND UP when your students are a-holes to each other. I have seen teachers sit there as students are AWFUL to each other. I get it. I really get it. You are probably really freaking TIRED OF US, because middle schoolers can be real SOBs. But guess what? When you sit there as kids are going off on each other with racist, homophobic and sexist comments, and you ignore them and just hope the period is over soon, YOU ARE TELLING YOUR STUDENTS THAT THEY CAN NOT COME TO YOU FOR HELP!  We need you. We’re kids. And we need you to hear us.

Eliza Lastname is a 13-year old rising 8th grader who loves music, crabs, bike riding, and has only a slight fear of Maryland jellyfish.

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