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Teen Health

I Can’t Talk to My Parents

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How to Talk to Parents

With a little tolerance and persistence, you can get your parents to listen to you and at least consider your point of view. Here are a few guidelines that might help when you talk to your parents:

  • Get your thoughts together. Before you talk to your parents, jot down some concerns and/or problems that you have with your normal communication. You'll feel more prepared when your thoughts are in order. (You can scratch through thoughts that may be hurtful or disrespectful. It's probably best not to bring these up just yet.)
  • Plan a time to talk to your parents . Schedule a time with no distractions so you can focus on your issues. Avoid talking before bedtime or dinnertime, or right after your parents get home from work. Make sure you and your parents are rested and not hungry. If you have siblings, ask that they leave so you can be alone with your parents. You don't need brothers and sisters chiming in with their own thoughts.
  • Don't throw dirt! When you do talk to your parents, speak about the here and now. Avoid bringing up what they said the last time you asked, or how they ignored you when you discussed this previously. Start fresh, with no grudges. Make sure they agree to the same rules.
  • Keep it all about "you." When you talk to your parents, avoid telling them what your best friend's parents allow or what they let your sister or brother do several years ago. Avoid threatening them, and keep the talk on a personal, caring level.
  • Be sensible and even-tempered . Suggest to your parents that you explain your concerns or needs first. Then ask if they can give their reaction without being critical or emotional.
  • Keep your composure . Be cool. State your side logically, without throwing darts.
  • Try not to be defensive . That's when parents' moods often turn sour! Stay objective and logical. Deal with facts.
  • Stand tall. By attempting to talk to your parents openly -- and without emotional outbursts -- you are showing them you are adult enough to be responsible for your actions.
  • Ask for feedback . Let your parents know that what they say is important to you. Tell them you want to open up to them because you have confidence in them. They will be impressed you are going to them instead of one of your peers.
  • Get a third party to mediate. If talking to your parents is simply impossible (and only you can judge that), perhaps a mediator might help. A mediator is a third party who helps people talk with each other and make compromises. A good mediator might be a mutual family friend, a relative, a trusted teacher/counselor at your school, or a neighbor you know well. In some situations, teens may stand a better chance of getting their parents to listen when there is another trusted adult in the room.

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