I am sixteen years old and just graduated from high school…. I come from a low-income family who are smothering me with their constant advice that I should work, even though they know that I can’t; but they also want me to study what they prefer, and not what I am passionate about, which is psychology. I don’t feel supported and, if I get a scholarship because of my good grades, I’m not sure if I can make it as an adult.

Lately I’ve been very rebellious and aggressive with my mother and sisters, but it’s because it’s the only way that I’ve found to minimize my stress and frustration. I just want peace and to be able to sleep well… and feel that someone understands and can help me get rid of my frustration.

Dear friend,

Congratulations on your graduation and your good grades! You have accomplished a lot in sixteen years!

You say that you are not sure that you can make it as an adult. That is a very wise thing to realize at your age. Studies show that your brain will probably not be fully developed for another few years, so there is a biological reason why you are correct in thinking that you are not ready to act as an adult.

However, you want your family to leave you alone and let you make decisions for yourself, especially as to what you want to study. You feel like they don’t understand you and don’t support you. You lash out at them because you are stressed and frustrated.

Unfortunately, when you handle your negative emotions by acting out in rebellion or aggression, you are giving your family a good reason to think that they need to help you with your decisions. Your behavior is evidence to them that you can’t even handle your own emotions, so they believe that you certainly shouldn’t be trusted to make important decisions. You are interpreting their actions to mean that they don’t understand you, but they can understand you and still not agree with you.

If you get a scholarship and can attend a university, there are almost always general courses to take that will get you ready for any career path. You can take all those courses and then choose a career after a couple of years. You already know what you want, but you don’t need to lock yourself into anything so soon. This decision will help you get along better with your family.

We don’t understand why you say you cannot work. All countries have different laws, but those laws are to keep minors from working until after they finish high school. Since you have finished high school already, there should be some legal permission that you can obtain so that you can get a job.

If you don’t get a scholarship, you can take the next best option. Work and save most of your money to go to the university later. Of course you should also help with household expenses as long as you are living with your family.

Peace doesn’t come from having people understand you or agree with you. True peace only comes from God. If you will trust your life and your future to God, He will give you the peace that you are looking for.

We wish you the best,