Sounds like you had parents who cared about your welfare but might be too close minded to accept you as an adult, or to express themselves to you in a verbal and emotional way. Therapy is never too late in coming, and might shed some much needed light for both of you...
My father never said he loved me until he was a week away from dying from an undetected cancer he'd had for 10 years. That was a good day for me
The high school years are not supposed to be the best in your life they are the educational stepping stone for you to be able to go to college.
So you can get the higher education that will insure your monetary success...If your best years happen between 14-18 you got gypped because normal life expectancy is like 75...Look to the future, you are not that scared little girl anymore. Make your life how you want it...
I can appreciate where you are coming from and seriously I wish things could be that simple for me. Unfortunately, my dad didn't give two sheets about me or my older sister. He is just a control freak. My older sister moved out before her senior year in school and has only had about 1/2 dozen conversations with him in 17 years. He is incredibly manipulative and generally an arse. He has a new family now with three young kids and he's pretty much just doing the same things to them as he did to us. Fortunately those kids aren't stuck in a messy divorce or being used to guilt trip their sister and mother. I hope they make it through his BS unscathed, but I won't hold my breath.
It sounds like you are at least trying to understand your kids, but try not to make up for your own experience. Parenting is a balance between not making the same mistakes your parents made, and not going too far in the opposite direction.
Personally, I hope that I am more like my coworker and his wife when it is my turn to parent a teenager. They basically lay out there that whole sex thing and tell them that they will make a great many mistakes in their life, but getting pregnant or getting someone else pregnant is NOT going to be one of them. Either they abstain or they use protection, no ifs, ands, or buts. But at the same time you have to tell them that they aren't yet ready and even when they think they are ready, they probably aren't ready. As long as they can come to their parents and talk about things and know they won't be judged... that is what is important IMO.
I don't necessarily think 14-18 should be the best years of your life, but I can tell you that not having any experiences during that time that make it even memorable or enjoyable to think about isn't normal. People shouldn't wake up one day at 25 and think, I have never really lived my life or made any decisions for myself! Well, I guess that is okay if you are independently wealthy and can then take time off from all of the daily responsibility and just travel and experience life utterly unafraid.
But personally, I was forced to grow up at 10 and act like an adult the rest of my childhood. When my friends were sneaking out, making out, going to parties, taking trips, etc. I was at home studying to make straight As or practicing a musical instrument I had little interest in. I was expected to be my parents designated driver at 17. I was taught to fear anything that may have negative consequences. I can't tell you how many experiences I passed up because I was just too afraid to have anything bad happen to me.
I grew up in the era where they warned you off of sex at 12 with the whole you can get pregnant from oral sex and you will catch AIDS if you even kiss a guy. While we know that now to be completely untrue, as a 6th grader in 1988-89 it scared the crap out of me.
So yeah anyway... without telling my whole damn life story or anything, kids should be kids and taught to think for themselves and to make good choices and whatnot. But when they hit 16 or so, they are no longer little kids... they need to be given more room to make some mistakes, but at the same time be given love and support from their parents to help them learn from those mistakes. I don't think anyone would say it is okay to just turn them loose and let them do whatever... but at the same time, you can't treat them like they are 12 either. In two VERY short years, those kids will be going off to college or getting out on their own in the world. If they don't learn how to care for themselves and make decisions while they are in these few tender years, then they are more likely to screw up bigtime when they get a bit older.
One of my coworkers does everything for her two girls to the extent that her 22 year old can't even balance a checkbook and her 19 year old still wants mom to do her math assignments for college. They both still live at home and they do not intend to move out until they get married. It makes me very sad to see kids like that... They aren't stupid or anything... they are just utterly unable to do anything without mom's approval and help. They cannot make decisions about anything beyond what to wear (I swear the younger one still calls to ask her mom what she should eat for lunch).
You have to find the balance... and sometimes the hardest part is letting go of them a little and letting them make mistakes while still being there to help guide them when they need it.