Most of us teenagers are thirsty for liberty; we want to do things out of our own instincts and judgment, completely ignoring what older people – more experienced people – would advice us. We think that living in an age where the world has become smaller in the advent of modern technologies makes us smarter and wiser, we think that we know a lot more than our parents do and more than our teachers in the university do. What we don’t understand is that, some concepts in the past are still very much applicable to the present and these still affect us – in one way or the other.
However, there are some things that we know that our parents don’t. Say, we know that we are of the generation where we need to be understood from our stand point because it differs from our parents’; or we need openness because not having one would often times result to stuff that would cost us far greater than what’s intended.
So how exactly do you, as a teenager, want to be understood by your parents? What would you tell them? These are some tips that I would suggest:
- Write them a letter. Coming clean won’t hurt. Most of us teenagers are anxious to talk to our parents verbally – like me. And it is very important for me to have that sort of talk because I am the type of person who always wants to be understood regardless of whose stand point is it. So I write letters to my parents explaining what I want to say. But make sure you make your point clear and write it in a light tone. Remember, your parents are still your bosses, so consider it as though you’re writing an application letter where you’re selling yourself and hoping to get a chance for an interview/callback.
- Talk to them verbally. It would take a lot of courage and maturity to do this. I think this is the most conventional way to make your parents understand you. Your parents are coming from a different point and you from another. Emotional cues, facial expressions, the pitch and tone of your voice matters. Unlike in a written communication, talking verbally will open an avenue for both parties to really express their sides more vividly.
- Don’t make a mess. Due to our nervousness and high emotions, we often throw all the trashes everywhere. It is imperative to make your point clear and so, you have to make them clear one point at a time. If you’re talking about wanting the liberty to do some stuff, then expound on that first before moving to another point. In psychology parlance, one stimulus at a time.
- Never let your emotions drive your judgement. The point is to make yourself understood. Sometimes, we feel a lot braver when we’re angry that is why we opt to talking to our parents when we’re at such a state. That is a huge no no. Remember, when we’re angry, we tend to burst out unnecessary and unintended words and before you could even take them back, your parents have already given their verdict. So make sure you are sober and in a right state of mind before talking to them.
- Be creative. Albert Einstein once said, “Imagination is better than knowledge.” Making yourself clear would take a lot of creativity. Hit your parents at their emotional aspect but never leaving their intellectual aspect. We Filipinos are intensely emotional and we tend to be swayed easily once our emotional aspect is under attack. So do a little dramatics but don’t over do it.
- Always wait for the right time. You have to talk to your parents when they are not running late for an appointment or when you’re accompanying mom to the grocery. Perfect timing means perfect results. Talk to them when they’re free, or while watching TV after dinner, or on Sunday lunch. Also, make sure they are not clouded with worries and other circumstances that might hinder your plan.
- Never assume. Never expect. “Maybe we got lost in translation and maybe I asked for too much,” as the lyrics to a Taylor Swift song goes. Yes! Your objective might be to make your parents understand from where you are coming but one thing you have to understand is that your parents might not immediately get you. Nothing in this world comes easily. You have to earn it. And this is where number eight (8) comes in.
- Don’t just tell. Show them. Sometimes, our words can be as empty as a used up box; they may look stuffed up outside, but hallowed inside. You have to keep your side of the bargain. Asking your parents to understand you means you have to take a lot more responsibility than you already are taking. Show them you are worthy of their understanding and trust,
There are so many ways to which we can be understood as teenagers. It just really depends on how we want it to be. We have different concepts of reality and different strategy but in stuff like this, it always pays to take your parents’ side into account. It takes two to tango, right?
Good luck if you’re planning to make yourself understood to your parents. And I hope it’ll turn out to be well. May the odds be ever on your favour. – (Juseph Elas)