So…how are you supposed to talk to your parents?
□ Pick a parent
You might feel more comfortable talking to just one parent in particular instead of both. If so, put some thought into who would be the best to talk to: mom or dad? You want to make sure you choose the parent who will take you seriously and get you help.
□ Pick a place
This is especially important if you have a busy parent or you’ve noticed your parent wanders off in the middle of conversations before. They can’t escape easily if they’re at a restaurant. Also, if you’re worried they may yell or cry, they’re less likely to “make a scene” if they’re in public.
□ Pick a time
Don’t confess something to your parents as they are furiously multi-tasking or walking through the door to or from work. You want to make sure that you have plenty of time to talk to your parents and that they aren’t distracted with something else.
□ Watch your moods
Don’t try to discuss something when emotions are high. Find a time when everyone involved is calm. If you can tell that you or your parents are getting angry, it’s okay to take a time-out for a few minutes.
□ Follow Up
There’s always a chance that they may not know how to respond initially. Give your parents some time, and follow-up with them later. Touch base in the next day or so and ask if they have any ideas on how to help you. There’s a good chance they’ve already been thinking about options.
What If Talking Is Sure to Backfire?
Communication between kids and parents may not always be a success. If you’re pretty sure that you won’t get your point across by talking, there are other methods:
You can be as lengthy as you want, no one can interrupt you, and your parents can re-read it if they need to. Letters are great because you say everything you need to say and just leave the letter in an obvious place where your mom or dad are sure to find it.
□Send an email.
It’s pretty much the same as letter-writing. Some kids who email YLYV forward their email and our responses right on to their parents. You have already shared your concern with us, now you can pass it along to your parents.
Still anxious? What about a third party, then?
If you’re still not sure if you can do any of this on your own, you’ve got plenty of adults out there who are willing to help you. You just have to seek them out and ask.
- School counselors or administrators are trained to help you. They are often willing to call your parents for you or with you, and they can sometimes even set up meetings so that you and your parents can all talk together at the counseling office.
- Relatives can help. Think about any adult siblings, cousins, aunts and uncles, or grandparents that you have. Sometimes it’s easier to explain things to Grandma or another relative who knows both you and your parents.
- Teachers, coaches, neighbors, and clergy can help you, too. Any trustworthy, responsible adult will be able to help point you in the right direction, and they’re often more than happy to help you talk to your parents.
- You can always contact us through Your Life Your Voice. Call, email, text or chat—we are here to help!