I am a 16-year-old girl. My mother is quite old fashioned. Even in today’s day she expects me to keep my body fully covered and doesn’t allow me to be friends with boys. As a result I keep lying to her because I can’t always be fulfilling her expectations. Please guide me on how to deal with this problem as I don’t want to lie.
It is appreciable that you have intentions to improve the situation. Sometimes it is quite difficult for youngsters to be able to satisfy their parents and friends at the same time. Parents always have their children’s interests at heart and worry about them as they don’t want them to face difficult situations or land in trouble. If their concerns are not communicated properly to the children, however, the youngsters might start to feel they are being denied access to freedom or decision-making.
Any breakdown in communication happens because the parties involved are unable to address each other’s apprehensions, fears or beliefs. And unless and until we do that, we cannot come up with rational and realistic, mutually agreeable solutions. Therefore, I would suggest that you start by talking to her about your concerns. It may happen that she may not agree with your thoughts and be judgmental. Make sure you are not too pushy at once. Be diplomatic, if required, and focus on developing a healthy relationship. Spend quality time with the family. Try to understand her concerns as well. It is advisable for you and your mother to take a middle path to find solutions ie you follow some, she agrees to others.
What is important that you do not push her to get things done your way. Believe in her as your parents are doing their best to bring you up in a safe and secure environment.
The author is a senior psychiatrist and incharge, Institute of Life Skills & Mental Health Promotion, Moolchand Medcity, New Delhi. Send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, marked ‘Dr Nagpal’