The foundation of any good relationship is communication. It took my parents and I years to learn how to properly communicate effectively with each other.
What Does Not Work
I do not respond well when I feel cornered or attacked. When I was sixteen, my parents would approach me almost aggressively and demand I give them answers to what they were asking. They would push until I would crack, and I would just give them the answers they were looking for so they would leave.
For example, if I was noticeably upset, my parents would demand I tell them what was wrong. If I said, "I don't want to talk about it," they wouldn't leave my room until I gave them some sort of answer.
I realise now, they weren't trying to be nosey. They just cared a lot about me and wanted to make sure I was okay, but they just didn't know how to express it.
In the past, most every conversation I had with my parents ended in yelling. We were all quick to raise our voices, and I often said things that purposely hurt my parents.
I would try to communicate my needs to my parents, but I didn't do it in an effective way. I would scream at them to get out of my room, and then they wouldn't want to leave me upset. Therefore, they wouldn't leave, and I would get more and more mad until I would yell something incredibly hurtful to them. Then, that would escalate the situation even more. It was a super unhealthy cycle that always ended in tears on both ends.
Honestly, we didn't know how to positively communicate with each other. It took years of hard work and family therapy to discover better ways to effectively communicate.
What Does Work
Something that really helps my parents and I best communicate is I tell them what I need, and they let me come to them while creating an inviting environment.
Communication in the past wouldn't work with my parents because I didn't want to talk, so the conversation would be one-sided. Now, I approach my parents when I'm ready to talk, and I tell them what I hope to gain. I tell them if I just need them to listen and not respond or if I am looking for advice. This helped significantly because it set boundaries before the conversation even began.
Nowadays, my parents still are free to ask me, "What's wrong," but I'm also free to tell them I don't want to talk about it. They respect that and don't push. Also, if I tell them I want to be left alone, they'll leave. I know this is very hard for my mom because when I'm upset, she doesn't want to leave me alone. She knows that nothing positive will come out of her staying, but it's painful for her to see me upset and not be able to help. She's learned that I know what I need, and if I need her, I'll tell her.
I knew this was tough on my mom, so I allowed her to check on me whenever she felt necessary. Also, she would text me and ask if I needed anything. This helped because I knew she was thinking about me and was there for me.
Respect Your Teens' Boundaries
By giving teenagers the space they ask for and want, they'll feel more comfortable coming to you when they're ready. As parents, it's okay and good to still ask questions because this helps your teen to know you are there and care, but respect your teens boundaries if they aren't ready to talk. Also, approach your teen in a caring and non-aggressive or attacking way. This will help build trust and a better line of communication.
Thank you so much for reading and for your support. I hope I can be an example that relationships can and will improve if you put in the work and have patience. Feel free to E-mail me @uyournose.com with any questions or comments! Thank you!
-Under Your Nose :)
A note from Louise & Anna:
A massive thank you to Under Your Nose for writing this really insightful blog post for us. You can find the Under Your Nose blog here: https://under-yournose.com/ and the Instagram account here: https://www.instagram.com/under_yournose/