Sometimes we don’t feel like our parents listen to what we’re trying to say. That can be extremely frustrating and often leaves us feeling misunderstood. Here are a few tips to getting your parent to listen to what you’re saying, whether it’s asking for permission to hang out with friends, explaining your grades, or simply talking about your favorite TV show!
Be clear on what you want to communicate. Sometimes we aren’t even sure what exactly we’re thinking or feeling about a given topic, and if we don’t know, our parents surely won’t either. Take a minute to plan out what you want to say.
Let them know what you’re hoping to get out of the conversation. Parents typically want to make things better, but sometimes we just need our parents to listen and not fix a problem or bombard us with advice. Let your parent know upfront if you just need a listening ear or if you need them to have an open mind. It might not always work, but it can help avoid misunderstandings.
If you’re planning to have a difficult conversation with your parents, try rehearsing the conversation with a close friend, relative, therapist or anyone you trust. This can help you figure out your thoughts and think of any challenges that might arise during the conversation.
Find a specific time to talk to your parents. Ask them in advance if you can talk to them after dinner or anytime that they can give you their undivided attention. Give them a brief overview of what you want to talk about; otherwise, they might be worried and anxious before you get a chance to talk to them.
Make sure your body language or tone isn’t sarcastic or showing attitude. Our body language non-verbally communicates what we’re feeling, sometimes unintentionally. Watch those rolling eyes or increased tone when trying to talk to your parents or anyone, for that matter – it makes them more receptive and less defensive.
Cut your parents some slack! This can be difficult because we expect adults, especially our parents, to have it all together. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes they misunderstand what we’re trying to tell them because they’re tired, have had a long day, or maybe got stuck in traffic. As personal as it might feel that they aren’t fully listening to you or don’t understand, sometimes it has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with whatever they’re dealing with.
Don’t be afraid to try again later or to talk to another trusted adult. Sometimes communicating with our parents doesn’t always work out and it’s frustrating. Give yourself and your parents time to process the conversation and attempt again at another time.