My Parents Just Don’t Understand


We all feel like this at one point in our lives. I feel like I’m being redundant, because I say this in a lot of articles – but it’s the truth. When we are in the moment feeling a certain way, we often feel like we are the only ones going through that struggle. The truth is, many people before us have often gone through – and survived – that very same tough experience.

The parentals. They are the governance in your household, at times your best friend, and at other times, arch nemeses with an advantage over you.

Before I go into the most-case scenario, let me preface that by saying that some parents truly don’t understand you. It’s usually not for a lack of trying. But something about your teenage experience is drastically different, which can cause a disconnect. It is up to you to communicate to your parents, open up to them. Barring those few exceptions, they want you to open up to them. They have all of this life experience to share with you, they have all of this desire to protect you from harm and see you excel in everything you do. Granted, at times it doesn’t feel that way. When you divulge to your parents that you want to drop out in sophomore year, they might look at you like you’re crazy. Don’t assume that this is because they don’t understand you. And when they seem near to the point of being volatile at the sheer thought of you dropping out so you could attempt to be the next Dave Grohl, it isn’t because they don’t understand – it’s because they have a larger understanding of the world. It’s because they have seen others try and fail, and are trying to protect you from that same failure.

You might cringe at the thought of a real heart-to-heart with your parents. For some teens, this is a normal, nearly everyday occurrence. For others, they’d rather give up their cell phone for a week. No matter how strict your parents are, and no matter how closed off they seem, try to have a real conversation with them. If you do want to go so far a to confess wanting to pursue a career in music, don’t just approach them with that one-liner and then walk off: approach them with a solid plan as to what you plan to do, how you plan to succeed at your goal. They want to see that you’re taking your goals seriously. If your parents are so closed off to a real conversation, or if they claim to be busy, try again. If that doesn’t work, try again.

Remember when communicating with them that they, too, were teenagers once. They might not have had the wonders of Instagram or Twitter at their disposal, but for the life issues and decisions that really matter, they can be a wealth of knowledge. You’d be surprised at how much easier life can be when you attack issues or concerns with a team mentality rather than shouldering the burden on your own.


“Angry Parents” by Warlockss on DeviantArt

Something else to remember is that if your parents always seem angry or irritable, it doesn’t always have to do with you. I’d go so far as to say usually it’s not about you at all. Adults have worries that plague them throughout the day: work alone can cause a lot of stress. Then there’s bills to pay, mouths to feed, a house that needs cleaning, and every other task in between. If the majority of your conversations with your parents are in shouting-match-form because they seem to yell at you for no good reason, your mom or dad could be allowing the stresses in other areas of their lives to affect their treatment of you. They would avoid it if they could, trust me. But stress is a monster. You’re no doubt dealing with your own stress at school.

So your parents don’t yell at you – you get along just fine. They still don’t understand you? Introducing the most-case scenario, which is…some parents forget what it feels like to be a teacher. Depending on their age, they may be far-removed from that phase of their life. They may have selective memory and choose to forget what it was like, if they had a hard time in school. Or they might have so much going on in their current lives, with family and work that it doesn’t even occur to them. Or him. Or her.

When it seems like your parents don’t remember how hard being a teenager can be, it’s up to you to remind them. Not at the top of your lungs, and not in an overdramatic way. In a calm tone, just asking them, “You don’t remember how hard it was to be a teenager? You never had a problem with ______?” Sometimes it takes that prodding for them to sit down and really remember what it was like. In turn, let them know that you can’t imagine all of the craziness they’re dealing with at work. Surprise them once in awhile, by making a meal – if you know how. If you can’t operate a stove, then maybe whip up a nice sandwich lunch for them or something. LOL.

Once you establish that common ground, and once you are seeing from their perspective while they’re remembering what it’s like to see life from your perspective, ongoing communication should at least be easier. And so should the rest of your interaction with them. As people, we sometimes make life and relationships more complicated than it has to be. Interacting with your parents doesn’t have to be complicated at all.



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