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Having Difficult Conversations with Parents

There maybe something you’ve been wanting to tell your parents but it’s difficult. You worry they won’t understand you, they might get angry, it will be stressful and you risk being misunderstood. Even if you feel close with your parents and you get along well it doesn't always mean the conversation is going to go well.

As you enter the teenage years and are trying to figure out who you are, sometimes it's difficult to navigate becoming your own person while still feeling connected to your parents. It's not your parents fault either, parenting teenagers is one of the most challenging jobs on the earth and none of us are the perfect parents. As you grow up you may notice the way your parents are relating to you is changing.

You may not know this but even adults sometimes struggle to have difficult conversations; it's one of the hardest things for all of us to do. Whenever we need to do something that we're not comfortable with or not experienced at we may have some resistant and fear come up. But if we are open to learning some new skills it can make the whole process a bit easier and give you some tools to put into practice when attempting difficult conversations with your parents.

Here’s a few simple counselling tips to help young people have these difficult conversations.

• Slow down your breathing, breathe in more deeply, pause, exhale. This can help reduce your bodies stress response.

• When you feel big emotions it can be easy to misunderstand things. Try repeating back in your own words so you are understanding and staying grounded.

• If things get too intense and you’re feeling reactive or overwhelmed it’s ok to ask for some time out. Connect again when you’re feeling ready.

• It may not feel like you're making progress when talking to your parents but it is better than not saying anything all

• Plan out what you're going to say. You could use your journal or diary to jot down some of the main points you want to get across so you have clarity.

• Practice the conversation with the school counsellor or a close friend you feel comfortable with.

• Try to keep it focussed on a couple points only so you can get your message across.

• Make sure you find a time that works for everyone. When your mum and dad first get home from work and the family is hungry might not be best but ask them when they think they will have some space for an important talk.

These tips are guidelines to help you have those most difficult conversations. Remember it's ok to say "I find this really difficult but I want to talk to you about something important to me." You can ask them them for their advice or to just listen and be there for you. It's ok to get support with this and you can always see a counsellor for more help.


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