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Communicating with parents

Heart-to-heart talkI don’t know what to talk to my parents about.

Parents are most interested in their children’s lives at school or work, but there are many other things that you can use to start a conversation:

  • Common interests you share with your parents: sports, music, movies, books, traveling, collections, etc.
  • Something you find interesting: a new movie, video game, current event, or story you heard.
  • Watch TV together and talk about the shows.
  • Ask your parents about their day.
  • Help set the table while your parents prepare dinner, ask what else you can do.

 

Whenever I tell my parents anything, they start asking a lot of questions.

Understand that when your parents ask about your life, they are just interested in your activities and want to show support. It is not their intention to pressure you, and they may not even realize that you find their questions intrusive. If you think that not telling them anything at all is the answer, you are wrong! They may think that you are hiding something and start to set rules that you feel are unreasonable. Not communicating will just make matters worse. Let your parents know how you feel, and be patient and kind when you do this. The more information you offer, the less they need to ask. Talking to them about everyday things also show them that you are mature and responsible enough to make good decisions.

 

How do I avoid turning a conversation into a fight?

  • When your parents are talking, look at them so they know that you are listening.
  • Let them finish and don’t interrupt. Ask them to do the same for you.
  • As they open up to you, you have to open up to them also.
  • Show them you are interested in the conversation.
  • Share with them what you think.
  • Don’t expect the conversations to always be light and cheery, but being patient is always the best strategy.
  • Remain respectful and keep your voice calm. If you raise your voice, they will do the same too.

 

What if I have to disagree with what my parents say?

Everyone can feel offended when his or her views are being challenged. This is true for both you and your parents. So when you have to disagree with what they say, try to do so without disrespect. Showing respect helps you get your points across. Acting respectfully also demonstrates maturity, which convinces your parents that you are a mature grown-up capable of making decisions. The following tips may help:

  • Use respectful language and behavior. No sarcasms or yells.
  • Listen to their point of view, so they will listen to yours too.
  • Don’t make it personal. If you disagree, try to remember you are upset at the idea or concept, not the person raising it.
  • Don’t put down their beliefs. Instead of saying, “That’s a stupid idea,” say, “I don’t agree, and here’s why.”
  • Use “I” statements to communicate personal feelings because “You” statements can sound argumentative.
  • Put your ideas into a letter if this is easier.

 

How to tell your parents about a bad grade or a mistake that you made:

  • Talk to both parents at the same time. Any angry reaction may be controlled by the other person’s presence. Plus, it saves you from having to have the same conversation twice.
  • Enter the conversation with a good mindset and talk to them politely.
  • Never lie, it only makes things worse.
  • Tell them exactly what is going on. Give them all the details in order for them to understand.
  • If they get upset, stay calm. It will make things worse if both of you are arguing and stating your points at the same time.
  • Always promise to do better next time or not make the same mistake again and stay on course to fulfill that promise.
  • Involve them in your improvement process by letting them help you. This way they know you’re trying.
  • Although you may not believe this: Parents are parents; they discipline you for your own good. Just remember to keep trying!

 

Other tips to improve relationship with your parents:

  • Be open to them and show them love.
  • Little words like “Good morning” and “Thank you” can warm their hearts.
  • Give them small presents just to let them know you remember them.
  • Understand that your parents were brought up differently. This is part of who they are, and you need to accept the fact that it is not easy for them to change at this point in their lives.