By Hannah Margaret Allen, our guest blogger from the lovely blog hm who loves offering advice, loves saying "love," and never, ever, ever argues with her parents. At least not while writing this article. My lovely loves, it has been too long. My hope is that the holiday break was filled with movie watching, cookie eating, friend hopping and perhaps the occasional date or four. The year is now yours to claim. You know the ropes because you’ve been at it for at least half a year now. Your midterms or finals are over for a spell, and you are getting ready to take a deep breath and get comfortable. Then those tricky parents show up.
How do you actually deal with your parents? How do you handle being told what to do? How do you react to being coached, reminded or scolded? How respectful are you required to be? Each breed is different, and each relationship is unique. Here are the basics, in my opinion:
• Always listen. Listening is a big issue with kids. When my mom and I get into it, which unfortunately still happens as a 22-year-old, it’s typically because she told me to do something, and well, I didn’t. You all know that pain don’t you? I told you to clean your room/empty the dishwasher/fold your clothes, but alas, you forgot. This could also be used when discussing bigger issues. The times I have listened to my parents and did what they suggested have always turned out better off. My mom for instance, is always getting me to apologize to this person, calm down or respond with kindness. It almost always works.
• Think about their position. When you take a second to think about what they are dealing with, how they have sacrificed for you (even if they aren’t the best parents, they still had you) or what they are trying to teach you, it usually ends up being more positive. I get so annoyed when I am told to do something (I’m the most stubborn girl you’ve ever met), but when I realize that my dad is hounding me on something because he want to help me, I realize that I am being ridiculous.
• Talk to them. Be open and honest with them. They are, in fact, real people. They may be busy with work or home stuff, so ask them about it and see where you can help. If you’re bored, call them up and check in. If you’re getting picked up from school, actually answer them when they ask how your day was. It’s nice when you can communicate, and they might in return have more sympathy for you because they know how busy school is/hard friends are being/etc.
• Don’t talk to them. By this I specifically mean: don’t talk back to them. I am guilty, guilty, guilty of this, and it is not pleasant. If I could learn one thing at an early age it would be to know when to stop talking. There is no way you can/should argue with everything your parents have to say. Sometimes they are going to be annoying, bite your tongue. Sometimes you are really going to be offended, and if you can’t stop yourself—go for it, speak up. Just realize that you may have consequences. I would have saved many-a tear if I had just moved on.
Parents are tricky. With age you see from their perspective more, and it’s extraordinarily enlightening. Heck, I’m only 22, and I already see and understand it more fully. Be as kind and grateful as you can. Realize that they love you. And then move out at some point! It’s the circle of life, cue The Lion King soundtrack.
Like always, email me if you have questions/concerns/want to chat: firstname.lastname@example.org
**Also note that there are many parental relationships that these bits of advice wouldn’t help in any sort of way. Some parents aren’t good parents, some are the best. If you or someone you know is dealing with physical or verbal abuse from a parent, contact help.