Streetwise’s agony column, Advice Special, gets hundreds of letters from young people asking for help and advice on how to cope with their parents. Make a list of three of the problems you have most frequently with your parents. Share your list with the class. Which problem is the most common?
Read this letter from Jane and Advice Special’s comments.
Dear Advice Special,
The problems with my parents started when I was sixteen. I wanted to get a Saturday job but my parents ordered me to stay at home and study for my exams. Whenever I pointed out that all my friends had Saturday jobs, they always replied, “ We don’t care what they do, it’s you we’re worried about,” and yet, whenever my school marks were bad, I was always compared to everyone else. Their double standards infuriated me so much that I did whatever I could to provoke them. I purposely dyed my hair white blonde and plastered my face in make-up before I went to school. However, all I managed to achieve was mass arguments before I went anywhere.
It was a rule in the house that I was only allowed out once during the week and on Saturday till 10 p.m. Every time I attempted to go out in the evening, my parents asked me who I was going out with and where we were going. They even insisted on my giving them my friend’s telephone number in case they needed to contact me. I always argued about the last bit; I felt that if I gave them the number they’d use it to check up on me. It never for one moment crossed my mind that they were just worried about me.
Once I asked if I could go to a party on Saturday night. The party finished at 11.30 p.m. They agreed, but on the condition that my Dad came to pick me up at 10 p.m. I argued and argued about it but in the end I had to agree. I knew I was going to be really embarrassed when my father came to pick me up, so I spent the whole party worrying. I didn’t speak to my parents for three days after that. My mother tried to explain how they both felt, but I didn’t want to listen. It was then that I decided to break all the rules they had set down. So instead of coming home at 10 p.m., I would arrive back at 11.30 p.m. and then refuse to tell them where I had been. I somehow felt that if I broke their rules, they would realize I was old enough to look after myself, and leave me alone. However, the arguments got worse and worse, and the more they tried to keep me in the house, the more I sneaked out. Finally, one Saturday night I didn’t come home till 2 a.m. My father wanted to know why I was so late. I refused to tell him. We had a huge argument, which ended with me getting a taxi to my sister’s house. What was wrong?
Jane went about trying to solve her situation in a wrong way. Instead of trying to show her parents that she was more adult by reasoning with them, she chose to ignore all their rules and regulations. This made her parents even stricter. Part of the problem with Jane and her parents was that neither of them was willing to see the other side’s point of view. Therefore, before they knew it, things have gone out of control.
If you are having problems with your parents, try talking things over with them. Tell them what you think but be prepared to listen to them as well. Remember that your parents love you and, in the end, no matter what, they only want what’s better for you. Discussing your problems calmly will help you and your parents to understand each other better and the more mature you are with them, the more likely they are to treat you as an adult.