How To Talk To Your Parents

by Pia Dedace   |  Apr 4, 2010
photo by Patrick Martires
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If your big dilemma consist of how to get your folks to listen to you, read on! For every situation, there's a specific approach. Here's a guide on how to talk to your parents, whether you're bringing up a touchy issue or an everyday topic.

Talk To Them About Your Day
Start with: "I can't wait to tell you about what happened to me this morning."
Make sure they understand: the amusing details of how your day went, no matter how mundane they may seem. Be interested in their day too by sharing and listening to the seemingly trivial things. Establishing good communication with your parents is a way to build a strong connection. Bear in mind that lack of this is one of the root causes of huge misunderstanding between parents and their teens.
Don't say: " There's nothing to share because there's nothing interesting about my life."

Talk To Them About Your Friends

Start with: "I feel happiest when I'm with..."
Make sure they understand: how your friends help you become a better person. If your parents don't like them, it's important that you highlight your friends' good qualities. When you go out with them, update your parents on your plans so they won't assume you're hiding something. Keep the communication lines open between your folks and your girlfriends, too, so they can get to know each other more.
Don't say: " You're ruining my social life!"

Talk To Them About Asking For A Higher Allowance
Start with: "The demands at school are starting to drain my pockets."
Make sure they understand: what your daily expenses are so your parents can recognize which activities cause you to spend more. Has an allowance increase become necessary, or did you just run out of money for Friday night gimmicks? Avoid complaining when making your request. Suggest a compromise like volunteering to do more household chores. If they agree to give you a raise, don't forget to thank them.
Don't say:" I'm always broke. You're depriving me of my needs!"


Talk To Them About Getting Low Grades
Start with: "I had a really hard time this quarter..."
Make sure they understand: the real reason for your less-than-stellar report card. Let them know you wanted to achieve more but some subjects were really tough for you. Assure them you'll do better next time by getting help and managing your time well. If your parents have high expectations, explain that grades aren't the only measure of how brilliant a student is.
Don't say:" I don't need high grades. School is so useless anyway!"

Talk To Them About Staying Out Late
Start with: "There's an event I have to attend this weekend..."
Make sure they understand: the nature of the event you're attending. It's normal for parents to be protective, that's why they may get apprehensive when you ask permission to stay out late or to extend your curfew. The best approach is to let them know who you'll be with, what time you'll go home, and who will give you a ride home. It will also help if you ask permission days in advance and not on short notice.
Don't say: "Everyone else is going. I don't want to be stuck inside this house forever!"

Talk To Them About Having A Boyfriend
Start with: "I've known this guy for quite some time and..."
Make sure they understand: that you are mature and responsible enough to enter a relationship. Be truthful about your special friendship with your guy. When asking for their consent, honesty is essential because it builds trust. Tell them you will be careful in every situation because you value their trust. If they say no because you're too young, understand that your parents are only after your best interest.
Don't say: "I'm old enough to decide when to have a boyfriend."

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Talk To Them About Starting A Business
Start with: " There's something cool I want to try out and I need your opinion."
Make sure they understand: that you want to improve yourself and learn more. Make it clear to your ‘rents that you did sufficient research and that you made the necessary preparations for your business to be successful. They'll surely be proud of your first-hand attempt at independence!
Don't say: "You're not providing well enough so I want to start my own business."

Talk To Them About Your Hobbies And Interests
Start with: " I inspire a lot of people because I excel in what I'm passionate about."
Make sure they understand: how reaching for your goal boosts your self-esteem. Show your gratitude for their continued support. If, on the other hand, your parents are stopping you from pursuing your passions, admit that you feel pressured because you want to follow your heart but want to gain their approval as well.
Don't say: "You never let me do anything I want - that's why I feel like failure."

Talk To Them About Serious Problems
Start with: "I need your help."
Make sure they understand: how much you need their support. If you've committed a major violation in school, you're being abused, or you think you're pregnant, the guidance of your parents is highly important. They've been through teen life and they have the gift of hindsight. Confess that you made some mistakes and you're willing to start over. Stop them from worrying by picking the right friends and changing you priorities.
Don't say: "This happened to me because you always took me for granted."


The Five Commandments Of Good Dialogue

  1. Pick a good time to talk.
  2. Refrain from talking in an argumentative tone.
  3. Avoid "You never" of "You always" statements.
  4. Pay attention to your nonverbal actions.
  5. Respect begets respect.
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Pia Dedace
Council of Cool 7
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