Have you ever needed to talk to your parents about something important? Curfew extension? More independence?
This article contains some basic tips about how to talk to your parents in tough situations. The basis of good communication with parents I will divide into three different parts of which I will call the three B’s: Be comfortable, Be honest and Be mature.
1) BE COMFORTABLE: feeling comfortable opens communication
Talking with parents can be a very difficult task. Some teens shy away from the idea of having to speak to their parents and talk to their friends instead. Parents are bundles of knowledge and can be very helpful. Being comfortable with talking to them involves a few important ideas. When initiating a conversation, it is important to have undivided attention and privacy. It is best to find time where you can be alone and uninterrupted by other people or things. Before you start talking, ask your parents for their complete attention and lay out the “rules” of the conversation. Those rules are up to you but may include such things as:
- No interruptions while speaking: do not talk until the other person is finished
- No one leaves or walks away from the discussion unless it is over
- If things were to get heated, suggest a short break to calm down and then revisit the conversation.2) BE HONEST: “Honesty is the best policy…” – Mark TwainTalking to parents about a potentially serious topic, sometimes it is seen as being easier to avoid the conflict and hide things. However, the best idea would be to be open and be honest about what you’re going to talk about. Creating a positive space with honesty allows you and your parents to secure a relationship based on trust and mutual respect.3) BE MATURE: You will have to act less child-like to gain trust
Many teenagers often want to talk to their parents about gaining more independence as they age. It’s a normal process for this to take place, however sometimes it’s hard to remember to show them you’re more mature. These tips are some different ways to show them that you are mature and ready for independence or change.
- Speak to your parents as if you were an adult. Avoid sarcasm, jargon, yelling or whining. Speak to them in a strong voice with lots of confidence.Example:CHILD – “Mom, Dad, I would like to talk to you about my curfew. I feel that is it too early
and I was wondering if we could discuss extending it.”- This example is direct. The parents know exactly what the issue is about and they are able to gather their thoughts accordingly.
- Respect your parents: – Look in their eyes and show interest in what they are saying. Do not avoid eye contact even if you get upset. Sometimes it can be hard to concentrate on their eyes so to show interest look at either the bridge of their nose or between their eyes.- Do not interrupt one another. This can be an important ground rule that you can set in the beginning. Interrupting one another can often cause a nice conversation to become heated. Allow each person to take turns and it will lead to an easier flow of communication.- Try not to argue with parental opinion. It is their opinion and you can’t change it. Allow them to speak and then talk about how you feel about what was said.
- Make sure that you stay calm at all times. – Fighting and conflict only makes the conversation get off-topic. If you feel yourself getting upset, take a deep breathe in and out. Start talking again only when you feel calm.
- Consider compromising tough situations. Example: PARENT – I don’t think that you deserve more independence.
You don’t do anything to show me that you deserve more.CHILD – I understand what you’re saying but I am now eighteen years old. I think that I
deserve more independence. Is there anything I can do to earn more?
PARENT – How about you help around the house little more and then we can talk about this again?
In tough situations, both parents AND children can overreact making a simple conversation very difficult. Most parents love their children a lot; sometimes seen as “too” much. Children can feel as if they are being smothered or overly protected. When situations arise when communication needs to occur, speak from the heart. It is the only way to allow for smooth and open communication. So the next time you need to talk to your parents, think about these tips, remembering the three B’s: Be comfortable, Be honest, and Be mature.
Take care and keep smiling!