Without mutual respect, any relationship will be an unhappy one. People who respect each other: a) value each other’s opinions, b) listen to each other, c) disagree without screaming or insults. And remember, your parents have lived longer than you — don’t discount their experience and knowledge.
This is your key to freedom. The way to build trust is through honesty and responsibility. Honesty means you don’t lie or manipulate. Responsibility means you are reliable and can be counted on to use good judgment. When your parents trust you, it’s a lot easier for them to say «yes». Your parents want to know what’s going on in your life. If you keep them in the dark, they won’t know when you need their help or whether they can trust you. Tell them what you’re up to, share your thoughts and feelings with them, and seek their advice for your problems (you don’t have to take it). Communication builds closeness.
If you’re always honest, a parent will be likely to believe what you say. If you sometimes hide the truth or add too much drama, parents will have a harder time believing what you tell them. If you tell stories, they’ll find it hard to trust you.
Using a tone that’s friendly and polite makes it more likely that parents will listen and take what you say seriously. It also makes it more likely that they’ll talk to you in the same way. Of course, this is hard for any of us (adults included) when we’re feeling heated about something. If you think your emotions might get the better of you, do something to blow off steam before talking: go for a run. Cry. Hit your pillow. Do whatever it takes to sound calm when you need to.
These guidelines work both ways. If, on occasions, your parents violate any of these guidelines, talk to them about it. Pick a time when you are both calm and feeling good toward each other (never when you’re angry). Then, explain to them what they did, how it makes you feel, and what you’d like them to do instead.
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