Riley H – 18 year old- Surgery/Dating/Friends

18 year old- Surgery/Dating/Friends

A show for parents of teenagers. Each week, I interview teens so they can share their experiences growing up in today’s world.

In this episode of A Teen’s Perspective, host Dr. RJ Jackson is helping parents see the future.In this episode, Dr. RJ interviews Riley, an 18-year-old high school senior.

To start off, RJ asks Riley about her upbringing, she is the youngest of four other siblings, the oldest of which was thirteen when Riley was born. Growing up, she describes her parents as being very laid back, with trust as the foundation of their relationship with one another. Since her parents trusted her so much, breaking their trust was almost worse than any other punishment they could have given her. With her siblings, even though the age difference was hard growing up, they are all very close to one another now and even all live in the same city. Growing up, Riley described herself as fairly popular, especially in middle school. She shared a story of her first boyfriend in middle school and ensuing drama that caused between her and her best friend. They dated each other for eleven months and she looks back on that time lightheartedly, remembering the innocence of middle school romance. In high school, she has had one serious relationship that lasted for a year and half. The relationship ultimately ended before he went to college because Riley saw that it wasn’t going to last once he left and she didn’t want to string it along and longer. After spending time with her friends and seeking advice from her mom she finally made the decision to end the relationship. She describes both her and her boyfriend as feeling a weight off of their shoulders once the relationship ended. Even though it ended, she is still friends with her former boyfriend, who is in college now. Reflecting on that relationship, she learned that she needs to be more relaxed about relationships and how to tell when someone actually cares about her.

After discussing the topic of dating, the conversation shifted to a very scary experience that Riley had when she was in middle school. When she was 12-years-old she had to have her appendix removed, which was not ideal, but relatively normal. When she went back to the doctor for her follow up appointment, the doctor told her that they had found a cancerous tumor on her appendix. While there was only a 20% chance of the cancer returning, her family decided to take aggressive measures to make sure that the cancer did not return. She ended up going to MD Anderson in Houston where they preformed several surgeries to remove pieces of different organs to prevent the cancer from coming back and potentially spreading. Even though this was a very scary time, she was able to overcome the physical pains and anxieties as a result of the cancer and operations. She describes heavily relying on her Christian faith tradition to comfort her during that time. During her sophomore year of high school, she really was struggling with the weight of anxiety. This is the time of her life where she believes that her belief system finally became her own, rather than a reflection of her parents’ faith. Another way of coping has been through keeping active by going to the gym and being involved in athletics throughout high school. Today, she is looking towards finishing high school and transitioning into college. She has applied to several schools and her parents even hired a college admissions advisor to look at her college resume and give advice on how to put her best foot forward during the application process. She is currently taking time to decide which school she wants to attend, especially which one will be best suited to her ultimate goal of being an accountant. To close, Riley tells teens to live in the moment and realize that things that seem huge in middle school and high-school aren’t as big of a deal in the rear-view.

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