Cara had always gotten along with her parents which made it even more frustrating. She was so confused. Her parents had suddenly become these horrible, angry people making it a point to argue any time she was in the room. They’d nag her about her hair, make her feel useless when it came to math, tell her she was lazy and hardly ever acknowledged her for doing something good. She was sick of it. Why couldn’t they be more like Samantha’s parents? They seemed so chill. They hardly ever asked Samantha where she was going and she was certain that Samantha didn’t have to deal with chores and random tasks that Cara was forced to do on the weekends.
Cara had had enough. She was sick of being treated so unfairly. She knew she had two choices. She could refuse to listen to them and continue living with angry, over dramatic parents or she could attempt to talk to them about the way things were going. Almost every ounce of Cara’s being wanted to ignore her parents and their rules however she knew that things would just keep getting worse. Somehow she knew that the only way things would change would be if she spoke to them about how she was feeling.
One evening over dinner, Cara decided to give it a try. She started out calmly, but soon enough her soft voice became a high pitch and the simple family dinner turned into a scream-a-thon fit for reality tv. Cara left the table and slammed her bedroom door. “It’s impossible,” she thought to herself. “They are both incapable of listening. They just turn it around on me.” Suddenly, Cara had an idea. She would write her feelings out on a piece of paper, put it in an envelope and leave it for her parents on the kitchen table before school the next morning. That way, she’d be gone and they would be able to hear her out without interrupting her. Finally!
The next day, Cara left the envelope with the letter on the kitchen table and headed out to school. When she came home that afternoon, her mom told her that her dad would be home for dinner and that they would talk about the letter when he arrived. Cara wasn’t sure what had happened. She hoped that her parents would take her seriously and reconsider some of the rules they had so strongly enforced in the past.
When Cara’s dad came home, the three of them sat down and spoke openly and calmly about the letter. At the end of the conversation, Cara felt relieved. Her parents weren’t monsters after all. They could actually listen to her without getting out of control and jumping down her throat. The letter had worked and the conversation that night led to many more open conversations in the future.
It’s easy to get frustrated with your parents, and it’s not always easy to see that they want the best for you. One of the most powerful things you can do is to express yourself eloquently and calmly, which, of course, isn’t always easy. That’s when a letter can do the work for you. A letter gives your parents a chance to listen to your perspective in quiet so that they can fully understand where you’re coming from. Be as open and honest in your letter as possible so that they can understand how you’re feeling and what they can do to support you. A lot of times parents are at a loss. They don’t know what to do. If you can help them see what would help you, they can consider your request and the two of you can reach an agreement together.
It’s not easy being told what to do and when to do it. I know that it can feel like no one cares about you. The truth is that your parents likely want the best for you and love you so much that they don’t want to see bad things happen. Don’t forget – your parents are human too. Just like you may not mean what you say all the time, the same goes for them. Give them a chance, write out how you feel and welcome a conversation about how to move forward. It could just be a conversation you’ll remember forever.
Copyright © 2013 by Maggie Steele