At 12—“Mami, how does this dress look?” Often translates to “Mom, you’re a good dresser and I know you wouldn’t let me leave the house looking stupid. Let’s face it, I need new clothes.”
At 16—“Mami, what do you think about Ben?” means “Mom, I respect the strength in your relationships and I really want to break curfew with someone you can approve of.”
At 19—“Mami, I need help with a paper?” equates to “Mom, you are so smart and without your help, I will probably get an F and waste the money you worked so hard to earn to pay for those college credits.”
Okay wise guys, even a well-behaved, and no malice, best-intentioned kid has been honing their manipulation skills from around birth.
But don’t you know, since that same time, we parents have understood the meaning of your every cry: From the high-pitched to the low groan. We know when you are full of – -it! And not just because we learned from you, but because we were you.
When you think you’re getting away with something, likely we are letting you.
Yes, College is a time for you to explore and find yourself, but it is also the time when you need to accept the full responsibility of your workload. It (like us) is meant to prepare you for the world that awaits you.
So the answer, “So flattered that you think I am so smart… and I am. Do your own work.”—Translation: “I love you baby, I know you can do it. You are a strong Latina and you can conquer the world! I’ll proofread it.”