Getting on with your parents can be hard when you're a teenager. It can be difficult for both of you - there are probably lots of things about them that bug you and it's likely they've got a list of complaints about you. Here are some tips for getting on better together.
Communication, or lack of it, is often the big issue between teenagers and their parents. Both of you can have fears, and many of them will be similar, yet it can seem so hard to talk to each other about what you're feeling.
A good place to start is to plan what to say to your parents. Be aware of what makes your parents angry and upset, try different ways to put things, or better times to ask.
If you want something, try meeting your parents on an adult footing. Let them know you want time to talk and choose a time when you're both not rushing out the door. Think about what your family's unwritten rules are about how you talk to each other. Treat them as you'd like them to treat you, even if you feel cross with them. Most people will respond to us in the same way as we talk to them -- so think about the kind of response you want.
Say what you want and why you want it, really clearly. And take time to listen to their response. Don't assume what it will be. If they give you an answer you don't want try and stop yourself from saying: "You always..." or "You never...". Instead, say: "I don't understand why this isn't possible. Can you talk to me more about it, can you explain what's worrying you?"
If their answer is still "no" try negotiating. Is there something else you can do that would make them happier? What are their concerns? In this way you can open up the conversation and stop it becoming a shouting match. These are really good skills to practise.
It pays to be realistic by recognising that you may or may not get what you want. If you don't and you feel upset about it. Find a way of expressing your feelings that's safe for you. Try and avoid behaving in a way that will make the situation worse -- that won't make your mother or father change their minds.
Recognise, instead, that by handling the situation in an adult way you've made an investment in the "good will bank". Next time you might get what you want -- it's often a matter of building trust.
If something is really worrying you it can help to talk to someone else -- your grandmother, perhaps, or an older brother, sister or cousin, or maybe the counsellor at school. It's also worth thinking about who else could do some talking for you.
If you're feeling bad about yourself or your parents, it's important not to bottle it up. Remember, no matter how bad things seem someone can always help you. If someone is hurting you in some way or you're hurting yourself it's important to tell someone you trust and to get whatever's happening to stop.
There are lots of good agencies that can help you, like Youthline on 0800 376 633. Relationships Aotearoa can also help you find the right service if we can't help you ourselves.
You can contact a Relationships Aotearoa counsellor on 0800 735 283 or telephone your local office which is listed in the Telephone Book.