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TIP: Dealing with Parents


You probably have the most problems with your parents when you can’t communicate or compromise with them.  It doesn’t matter who is at fault – both sides may be wrong to some extent – but it is important to be able to work through things through calmly.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that you feel a need for independence.  Your parents aren’t ready to let go, and they may think that you want to do more things than you can handle.

You will likely never be totally independent from your parents.  They will always be your parents, and they will always do “parent things.”  Your goal should be to have a mutual respect for each other. 

There are some steps you can take right now to help your parents realize how responsible you are.  They will help you begin to build a stronger, better, and more adult relationship.

  1. Set a time to be home, and stick to it.
    This develops trust.  Mom and Dad are more likely to be flexible if they can trust you to get home on time. 
  2. Check in.
    If for some reason you’re going to be late, let your parents know.  If your plans change, tell them.  When you get home, don’t head straight for your room; talk to your parents.  
  3. Keep your promises.
    Keeping promises not only shows a great deal of maturity and develops trust; it also shows how responsible you can be.
  4. Put aside some time for Mom and Dad.
    Your friends are important, but so are your parents.  They also can be great friends if you give them a chance.
  5. Share your feelings.
    If they have to guess how you are feeling, it’s likely that they will guess wrong.  That can lead to more questions or negative statements or consequences.  Then you or they feel irritated or upset.  It’s simpler to tell them what’s going on.
  6. Admit your mistakes.
    This scores huge points with parents.  Instead of making excuses when you mess up, calmly say that you made a mistake.  If your dad or mom criticizes or scolds you for what you did, don’t respond angrily.
  7. Accept consequences.
    Accepting a consequence is one of the toughest things for teenagers to do.  You must avoid making matters worse by arguing or getting angry.  You may feel upset, but for now, practice self-control.
  8. Do good things.
    Take charge of your life so that you can make a difference.  Do good things.  When your life is finished, people should think that the world is a better place because you were around.

Who’s in the Mirror? Finding the Real Me, Ron Herron & Val J. Peter, Boys Town Press, 1998

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