We all crave freedom. When we reach adolescence, there is a strong yearning to enforce one’s independence. One begins to feel one’s ideas are far superior to one’s parents’. A significant point of discord between parents and children is the issue of going out – whether with friends or on one’s own. Here’s how you can put your point across to your parents and be allowed some freedom.
1 Accept that your parents have a right to differ: Parents (or anyone for that matter) have a right to have a different opinion. No two people can think in exactly the same manner and their thought processes would have their idiosyncratic characteristics. It is important to accept this because it helps one see that it is not their unwillingness to listen to you, but a genuine difference in opinion.
2 Your parents don’t always have to abide by your wishes: Always remember that the way in which your friends may not always accept what you say and do, your parents, too, do not always have to fulfil your wishes.
Everything has its own time and often parents do in fact know better as to whether something should be done or not.
3 Do not compare them to other parents: Comparisons breed discontent. Just like your parents can have views different from yours, their views can also differ significantly from those of other parents. Their views are formed on the basis of their individual experiences and upbringing. So, accept this inherent difference and do not allow it to become a source of discord between you and your parents.
4 Listen to them with an open mind: We frequently feel that what we think is ‘the way’. However, this is not the case. There is always a chance that you may have missed an alternative perspective. In a discussion with parents, go with an open mind and listen to what they are saying so that you can reach the best conclusion possible.
5 Explain your position clearly: Many a times, the problem is one of lack of understanding on the part of families as well due to your inability to explain your intent clearly. So, always try and explain your view as clearly as possible so that there is no confusion about what you think.
6 No tantrums: Throwing tantrums and becoming rigid about what you want to do would only make your parents rigid too. Instead, take a more rational approach. This can brighten your chances of your parents listening to you and accepting your perspective.
7 Do not be stubborn or aggressive: Stubbornness and aggression are a strict no-no because rigidity and aggressive behaviour will ensure that your parents stick to their point of view, doubting your ability to think through things clearly and logically.
8 When out, keep them posted: Learn to gain the confidence of your parents through small gestures. Inform them of where you would be and what time you would return. The more confident they feel about your sense of responsibility, the more likely they are to listen to you.
9 Follow all home rules: A basic mistake that most children make is that they tend to overshoot the time limits and other rules set by their parents. Even though for the moment one has had a good time, what one does not realise is that you lose the trust of your parents. This diminishes the chances that they would agree to your plans again.
10 Be responsible: Demonstrate a sense of responsibility towards yourself and your life. Being responsible helps generate confidence in your parents regarding your decision-making ability.
The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcare