How To Handle Difficult Parents
How To Handle Difficult Parents
These days, the communication between teenager and parent is more difficult than it ever was. A counsellor and psychotherapist gives some helpful tips and techniques for teenagers who have trouble talking to their parents.
Hi, my name is Niki and I'm a counsellor and psychotherapist, and I work a lot with teenagers. I'm here to talk to you about some of the issues that you might find that you're dealing with as a teenager and to hopefully give you some tips that might be useful. So you're wondering how to handle difficult parents.
First of all, I wonder how your parents are difficult. Because difficult can range from parents that are actually abusive and that you can be in danger with.that would be violent or otherwise harmful. In which case, to handle a parent like that you're going to need to have someone else help you because that would require adults, other adults to support you, whether it's social services, or friends or another adult.
But if you're talking about difficulties which are the more usual difficulties that parents and young teenagers can get into is more around communication and how well or how badly people listen to each other. So if I'm assuming that the difficulties are more around that your parents aren't listening well to you, or that there's a lot of shouting maybe, or there are a lot of arguments in the family, or between you and your parents and that is causing your problem because there's a lot of tension in the house and things are quite difficult. So how does it affect you? How does the difficulty with your parents affect you? Is it causing you stress? Does it mean that you feel that you can never communicate well with your parents? Your relationship with them has gone downhill and you want to improve things? There can be a time where the atmosphere in the house and the family can feel like a battlefield and you might need some tips to just work out how to negotiate and come through the battle with your parents.
So just some tips to ease communication with parents that are difficult. The main thing would be that if you're having a situation where there's a lot of shouting and people aren't being very respectful to one another, is that you need to find a way to try and calm yourself. We can't calm someone else but we can certainly calm ourselves and try and encourage the other person to respond better to us. So the most effective way of calming is to take deep breaths.
Deep breathe, count to ten. Try to find a time when it feels best to talk to your parents about the difficulties you're having with them. Find a time when you're calm.
When you know they're more likely to listen, when there's perhaps less people around, and then talk to them about what you feel, what's been going on for you. And be specific. Give examples.
Talk about a time when you and them were just having a row and how it left you feeling. Be responsible for your part of it too. Acknowledge that you may have lost your cool just as much as they did, and that you want something different from you and them.
And don't blame. The things that really get in the way of good communication is if people attack each other. I don't mean physically although obviously, that is going to get in the way, but verbally attack each other, blame each other, or get defensive.
So it's about trying to be the opposite. Trying to drop your barriers and be calm and be assertive but clear without being aggressive or hostile. Try and be yourself.
Be specific, as I said, and prepare a good argument. Explain to them what it is that's going on and how you're feeling and the kind of relationship you would prefer to have with them. And see what they want.
See how it makes them feel. Ask them. Or at least listen to them when they explain what it's like for them and what's been causing them, whatever's been getting in the way of their relationship with you is usually on both sides.
Both people usually contribute to a relationship being difficult. Prepare for the kind of arguments they might put up. You know your parents well by now, so you can predict some of what they might say.
So just have a think about what you might ask before you go