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TIP: Do You Have a Problem Talking to Your Parents?


Why is it so hard to talk to your parents?

You may be hesitant to get your parents involved in problems that you are dealing with. Below are some reasons that teens give for not wanting to talk to their parents, and some explanations for why they should:

  • "My parents don't have enough money for treatment."
    • There may be places in your community that will "see you on a sliding scale."  That means they're willing to lower their fees if your family is on a tight budget. 
  • "My parents have enough to worry about without this new problem."
    • You may feel bad piling on another problem if you feel your mom and dad are already loaded down with their own issues. Getting help from your parents now may actually prevent the problems from being worse down the road.
  • "My parents will be disappointed in me."
    • Your parents may feel confused or frustrated, but most parents wouldn't feel that their son or daughter is a "disappointment" because they came to them for help
  • "My parents won't believe me."
    • If you've been good at hiding whatever you're suffering from, they may not believe you initially!  If you tell your parents you're suffering and they don't seem to believe you, give them a day or two and then approach them again. 
  • "My parents just won't understand."
    • Quite a few parents probably don't understand what's going on in their kids' heads.  A parent may not completely get what is going on, but will almost always understand one important thing: "My kid's suffering, and I have to do something." 
  • "My parents will make it worse."
    • In the short-term, it might feel like that   If you go through periods of self-neglect or self-injury, they may "nag" you more often.  But it's is a great thing in the long run – and you know it.
  • "I think my parents are part of the problem."
    • If you think your problems stem directly from your parents, go to another trusted adult for help.
  • "I think the problem will fix itself."
    • If you're dealing with something dangerous, painful, and/or persistent, don't wait for it to get better on its own.  A lot of things don't get better until you get help.
  • "I'm too ashamed to talk about it."
    • Shame is a strong emotion. Your parents will probably ask most of their questions when you first tell them, so it may be intense in the beginning but you will feel better afterward.
  •  "I'm afraid my parents will send me away."
    • Unless your specific problem threatens your own safety or the safety of others, there usually isn't an immediate need to remove you from the home. 
  • "I'm just uncomfortable or scared to talk to my parents in general."
    • Life is full of unpleasant things.  Don't shy away from a task because it doesn't sound like "fun."
  • "I don't talk to my parents much anyway, so it's uncomfortable."

If you don't feel much of a connection with your parents, you may be uncomfortable bringing up a serious issue.  Even if they're not good at expressing themselves, have faith that they care and want to help you. 

You don't have to face your problems alone! Counselors are standing by.

4 Ways to Get Help