Expressing yourself openly and candidly with your parents can often feel like a challenging task. For many, engaging in open conversations with parents can be awkward, difficult, anxiety-inducing, and, in certain situations, incredibly challenging. Whether the topic is a problematic teacher at school, a simple issue that requires resolution, or a more serious and urgent matter, the prospect of confiding in anyone—be it peers, friends, siblings, or even consulting online resources—may seem more appealing than approaching your parents.
Perhaps you convince yourself that you don’t want your parents to worry or become upset, that the matter isn’t significant enough for their attention, that they lack the time to address it at the moment, or, worst of all, that they might judge, perceive you differently, or misunderstand you.
Discussing feelings can be a challenging endeavor. Many of us find it more comfortable and secure to share our emotions with our best friends rather than our parents. This preference may stem from the sense of familiarity and safety that comes with talking to peers. However, both we and our best friends are likely in the same age group, sharing similar levels of experience. In times of difficulty, seeking advice from an adult, especially your parents becomes essential, as their perspective and life experience can offer valuable insights that may.
Here are a few tips on how you can talk to your parents about your emotions;
1. Know That Your Parents Will Always Be There For You
First things first, you need to have at the back of your mind that your parents will always be there for you no matter what. Initiating a conversation with your parents about your feelings can feel daunting, especially when broaching sensitive topics. The uncertainty of their reaction adds to the intimidation. However, carrying the weight of emotions alone can be burdensome, and it’s crucial to share with someone trustworthy, such as your mom. To alleviate the intimidation, remind yourself that your parents are there to help. They are your allies, not enemies, and acknowledging this can help create a more supportive and understanding environment for open communication.
2. Define Your Conversation Intentions
When anticipating a challenging conversation, take a moment to define the purpose or desired outcome. Identify whether you need your parents to meet a specific need, provide clarification, or help solve a problem. By understanding your intentions, the objective of the conversation becomes clearer, making it easier for you to maintain focus when engaging with your parents.
3. Prepare And Organize Your Thoughts
Prior to the conversation, take the time to organize your thoughts. You can choose to write them down, type them out on your phone, or practice articulating them in front of a mirror. This preparation helps boost your confidence during the actual discussion. Once your thoughts are organized, designate a suitable time and place for the conversation.
Instead of catching your parents off guard, inform them that you have something important to discuss. Ask for a mutually convenient time when they can be fully present and attentive. Consider suggesting an activity, such as taking a walk or having dinner together, to create a more relaxed environment and ease any nervousness you may feel.
4. Express Your Emotions Using “I Feel”
When discussing matters with your parents, shift from stating only facts and opinions to expressing how you feel about a situation. Using the pronoun “I” carries a sense of personal accountability. For instance, saying, “I feel like you don’t think I’m responsible enough to make my own decisions” can be more effective than the accusatory “You never let me do what I want.”
Avoid employing absolute terms like “always” and “never” as these can trigger a defensive response.
5. Address Negative Emotions
When discussing challenging topics with your parents or any trusted adult, such as difficulties, anxiety, a significant mistake, or a poor grade, if you find it challenging to open up due to feeling overwhelmed and distracted, consider notifying them beforehand that you’re about to broach a difficult subject. Expressing your feelings in this way can help diminish the intensity of emotions, making it easier for you to share your concerns.
Also, by letting your parents know that you’re navigating a tough situation, they can take the initiative to create a comfortable space for you and lend a listening ear.
6. Try To Understand Their Point
Recognize that disagreements with your parents are normal, often influenced by the generation gap. To bridge this gap, actively listen to their perspective and make an effort to understand their point of view. Employing an approach grounded in intelligence and rationality, rather than solely relying on emotions, can help clarify differences and facilitate a more comprehensive understanding between you and your parents.
7. Clearly Communicate Your Needs
To ensure a productive conversation, it’s crucial to be explicit about your expectations from your parents. Clearly express whether you are seeking advice, understanding, or simply sharing your feelings. When your parents are aware of your needs, they can respond more effectively, creating a more supportive and constructive dialogue.
8. Prepare Your Mind For the Worst-Case Scenario
Acknowledge the possibility that your parents may disagree or outright deny your request. Proceed with the conversation despite this uncertainty. Reflect on the question, “What’s the worst that can happen if I have this talk?” and come to terms with the idea that the conversation may not immediately lead to the changes you desire. Accepting this outcome can bring a sense of fulfillment for having made the effort.
While your parents may not immediately meet your needs, the act of fully expressing yourself is a victory in itself. If, at any point during the conversation, you sense it isn’t progressing as you hoped, it’s perfectly acceptable to pause and resume the discussion at a more suitable time. Remember, there’s always another day and another opportunity to revisit the conversation.
9. Be Genuine
When discussing your feelings with your parents, honesty is paramount. The conversation serves no purpose if you’re not being truthful. To foster effective communication, prioritize honesty. Avoid embellishing or exaggerating to garner sympathy; instead, stick to expressing your genuine feelings and presenting the facts.
In conclusion, initiating a conversation with your parents about your emotions may seem daunting, but it is a crucial step towards building a deeper connection and understanding. Remember that your parents are your allies, and they are there to support you.
Approach the conversation with honesty. Remember that the journey of understanding and communication is ongoing, and there will always be opportunities to revisit and strengthen the connection with your parents. Try doing these, and you will pave the way for a more open, supportive, and constructive dialogue with your parents about your emotions.