Tough love

By Ishani Ranasinghe

They are having one of those must-attend parties, and all your friends are going for it. You really want to go for it, but the chances of you being allowed to go is pretty much zero; minus, to be exact. You try anyway, asking nicely first, and then end up having a huge argument with your parents. Unfortunately the effort is wasted because they don’t budge from their decision.

Admit it, sometimes having over-protective parents can really be a little annoying. You look around, and all your friends get to do whatever they want, and you are stuck at home arguing with your parents. This constant never-ending argument with your parents can get very frustrating Telling them that you are old enough to do certain things, with them very angrily disagreeing – this is what you call living with over-protective parents.

So, what’s it like to have over-protective parents? Trust me, it’s very annoying at times, but there were times I was glad that my parents were very protective. Those times were very rare and almost non-existent, nevertheless there were times.

Someone (please do note that this someone was way older than me, making her proverbially wiser) once told me that I should feel sorry for my parents. Imagine the look of bewilderment on my face, not to mention the horror. Why in the world would I feel sorry for them, I thought?

Think about it, your parents spend the first few years of your life making almost every decision for you. They decide what kind of clothes you wear, what is a healthy breakfast for you, what school you should get your education at, etc. In a way, they do have a right to say things, because you could say that they moulded you. Interesting thought, don't you think?

They say that old habits die hard, so imagine how hard it must be for them to break this habit of figuring out what is good for you and what is not. So all those parents who are being very protective of you are just having a hard time adjusting to the fact that you just don’t need them anymore... They are having a hard time letting go.

I was enlightened. How should I approach things so that I don’t end up going mad, but actually work towards a better relationship with my parents? Moving on from the whole ‘why are they freaking out every time I want to do something pretty safe and what every other kid is doing’, it was time to figure out a way to get around all this.

It was time for a new perspective – wear whatever you like, go out with your friends or just paint the room deep purple.

The key to getting through to your parents is to express yourself. You’ve got to be honest with them. Telling them how you really feel can go a long way, and help you in the end. Most people agree that no one respects your opinions if you keep it all in, and not let yourself be heard by others.

Sometimes you think what they are saying is very far fetched and illogical, but try to listen to the reasons they are saying no to whatever it is you want to do. Maybe this might help you understand their point of view, or help you admit that they maybe right. Come on, no matter how right they are, what are the chances of us jumping to agree with them, right? The rules they come up with and hold you on might not really be that great, but just hang on to this one, because it’s going to help you with the next step.

Try addressing the issues that are there, one by one. If you feel that they are being unfair (remember to be reasonable about judging what’s fair and not), say so, but always try to be very calm and sensible about it. It will help if you try to show them reasons as to why you think they are being unfair, and also try giving examples or even evidence. One thing that always seems to help is when it looks like they are questioning your ability to be responsible, to bring up a time when you did act responsibly. It is just so they know you are no longer five years old, needing to be under watchful care all the time.

If they just don’t see your point of view, try meeting them halfway. You have to realise that as long as you are living under their roof, they pretty much have the final say in things. But then again some gentle negotiation can help you. Say they want you home by 9 p.m. and you want to stay till midnight. Try to reach a compromise so that you can be back by about 10.30 p.m. That way they know you do respect what they have to say, and maybe in the future they will cut you some slack.

At the end of the day you just have to be a little realistic. Your parents are not being spiteful when they don’t let you go out in the night. There is always a genuine reason why they say no. Yes, I know sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. But remember they are just looking out for you, no matter how ridiculous it may seem. So next time, discuss it, because if you don’t discuss it, you’ll never know.


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