Before we begin, I know that many teenagers don’t have two parents living with them, or their caregiver might be a grandparent or someone else. In this article, when I am referring to parent or parents, I am referring to the person who is your caregiver or guardian(s). Now let’s get started.
Let me ask you a question that you probably have never asked yourself; Are you mean to your parents? Before you answer that, stop for a moment and think about the way you talk to them, how well you listen to them, and how often you spend time with them. Perhaps your parents’ happiness is not high on your list of priorities, but in this article I am going to show you why it should be.
There are many reasons to be more kind to your parents. The first reason is that they gave you the gift of life. That is something to be thankful and appreciative of. After all, if you weren’t here, you could never have experienced some of the wonderful moments that have already happened in your life.
The second and most important reason is that your parents are people too. What I mean is that some teenagers may expect their parents to be in control of their emotions at all times. They may expect them to put up with rebellious actions and words and not be hurt by them, but that is an unreasonable expectation to have.
Parents are just like you, and just like every other human. They get hurt when they feel they are not wanted, appreciated or loved. They get frustrated when the people they love disrespect them, are mean to them, or just make their life harder than it needs to be. Do you make your parents lives easy or hard? What are some of the ways you might hurt your parents?
Don’t say words out of anger
Words can be devastatingly painful and can have lasting effects. Have you ever had someone say something mean to you that was very hurtful and hard to get over? Even though your parents have more life experience and have better coping skills, it doesn’t mean that words still don’t hurt.
Some teenagers say mean things when they feel frustrated or angry. It could be because their parent said no to something they wanted to do, it could be a criticism of something they did or it could be some advice they were not ready to hear. For whatever reason, a teenager can feel powerless. When that happens, they can feel like the only power they have over their parents is the ability to hurt them. Have you ever done that?
Now that you are becoming an adult, it is important to understand the power of your words. If you are quick to say mean things to someone when you get upset, you are going to have a tough time in life. There are better ways of handling disagreements with someone, including your parents.
Here are a few tips:
- If you disagree with someone, make the conversation about what the disagreement was over and not about the person you are disagreeing with. Don’t call people names or attack their appearance.
- Don’t say things just to hurt the other person as a punishment for disagreeing with you. Learn to deal with disagreements without resorting to trying to inflict pain.
- Don’t use confidential information you know about the other person against them. If you break their trust by bringing up private details, they might not ever trust you again and your relationship will never be the same.
Spend quality time with your parents
How much time do you spend with your parents? Do you go out of your way to ignore and stay away from them? Do you give one word answers to their questions? Do you drop whatever you are doing with your parent to go out with your friends? If that is you, I want you to understand how hurtful that can be. Let me tell you a story that I will never forget.
When I was a teenager, my father took good care of everything we owned. Even though he wasn’t a mechanic by trade, he knew how to do proper maintenance on the family car. He could replace the spark plugs, change the oil and set the timing. He showed me what he knew so that I would know how to do it when I got my own car.
I remember one day he was going to change the spark plugs and invited me to help him. I agreed and we both went into the driveway and started working on the car. After a couple minutes went by, some of my friends stopped over to say Hi. They said they were going to go hang out at the park. Without any hesitation, I said I will go with them. I immediately said goodbye to my dad and went with my friends.
As I left, I remember a weird look on my Dads face. He looked like he was puzzled. I didn’t think much of it though and went off to hang out with my friends. As I grew older, I still thought of that incident from time to time. I don’t know why it stayed in my memory. After I became an adult, I had a realization that made me understand why that moment was so important.
I realized that my dad wasn’t puzzled in that moment when I left, he was hurt. I never talked to my father about that day and I doubt that he would remember, but I am sure I hurt him in that moment. With my adult perspective, I could see how my father could feel rejection, disappointment and frustration. He wanted to spend time with me, invited me to participate and I left him without hesitation to go hang out with my friends. It must have hurt him deeply to have your son, the one who you have been loving and nurturing, to just decide to leave and go stand around with your friends at the park.
There is an emotional aspect of being a parent that many teenagers never see. Being a parent is not just about teaching you things and correcting you, it is about sharing the ups and downs of life with you. It is also about laughing at the crazy moments that happen in life. It is about smiling and having fun with you. All those moments are very rewarding to parents. The good news is you can have more of those moments with your parents by spending quality time with them, but you need a new awareness of how to do that.
Here are some tips:
- Put away your phone when you are speaking with them. Don’t look at it or bring it out during your conversations. This is especially important when you are eating together.
- Be more open with your parents about what is going on in your life. Don’t give one word answers to their questions. When they ask how your day was, don’t just say “good”.
- Laugh more together. Tell them a funny story that happened to you or ask them to tell you a funny story that happened to them in their life.
- Honor your commitments to be with your parents and don’t break plans with them. Can you imagine how good they would feel if you said no to going out with your friends and said you would rather spend time with them?
Treat your parents like you would like them to treat you
When I think back to the many times I hurt my parents, I wondered why I didn’t care about my parents feelings. I realized that I didn’t have a sense of awareness of other people’s feelings. It is no wonder I hurt them unintentionally. The key to not hurting others is to start being more aware of how your actions are impacting them.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to start looking at how you would feel if your parents did to you what you do to them. How would you feel if you asked your parent how was their day and they said “fine” and walked into their bedroom and closed the door? How would you feel if you asked your parent to help you with your homework and they let out a loud sigh and said, “Nah, I am going to go watch TV”. How would you feel if your parent said they were going to take you to a movie and then changed their mind last minute to go take a yoga class with their friends?
The above scenarios might sound funny, but they would not feel so good if they were to actually happen. I hope this article has inspired you to treat your parents a little kinder. The truth is you can have a much better relationship with them by following the tips in this article. So give them a try and see what a difference they can make in the quality of your relationship with your parents!
About the Author: Michael TARBY, Monthly Mentor, is a life change expert and author of the best-selling book Living Your Big Juicy Life, The Secrets to Having More Love, Joy and Success. His varied background allows him to resonate with people from all walks of life. He has been everything from a police officer to an actor. In college, he was the class president and graduated with a 4.0 GPA. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services and is also Board Certified in Radiography. Michael has dedicated his life to helping others learn from his successes and many failures. He has spoken all across the country and received standing ovations from large and small audiences. Read More…