When you are living under your parents’ roof, it is their rules that you have to live by, regardless of how old you are. Does this mean that you are stuck where you are without any room to grow or become independent? No. This just means that you have to be smart about negotiating with your parents to come to terms with where you can both become comfortable with each other and establish proper boundaries.
Your parents may be strict for many reasons. It might be a lack of trust for you to make responsible and mature decisions, that you are not ready to admit that you are growing/grown up, that they are hesitant to give you freedom in case something goes wrong, or that they are not willing to let go of the control they had over you when you were young. Whatever the reason may be, it is likely that case that your parents are not out to get you. Here are some ideas on how you can try to get rid of your strict parents:
1. Be respectful.
When you don’t feel like you are being heard or your parents requested something of you that just seems ridiculous, we often speak from a place of frustration. As a result, our mind is jumbled up with many different emotions and we are just focused on how strict our parents are. What can you do to make sure that you are being heard? Speak from a calm and understanding place.
Respect your parents by talking to them when your mind is clear and calm – not when you are in a fit of rage. Demanding that they listen to you or screaming until your face gets red is not the way to talk to your parents about listening to your perspective. Remember that your parents are people too, and will respond better to your request if you speak to them respectfully.
2. Show them that you are responsible.
Instead of telling them that you are a responsible individual, demonstrate this to them through your actions. Oftentimes actions speak louder than words. It is up to you to determine what is seen as responsible in your parents’ eyes. It may be keeping up with your chores so that your parents don’t have to nag at you to do them, or receiving good grades in school.
Little things like showing that you can be reliable, punctual and can take care of yourself are different ways of showing that you are a responsible individual. This part is essentially proving to yourself and your parents that you can be dependable and can be trusted.
3. Take on more responsibility.
Taking the initiative to handle more responsibility may show your parents that you are more than capable of handling what you have been assigned. However, if you cannot handle more responsibility, do not feel pressured into taking on more. This option may backfire if you cannot manage more than you take on. It may end up making you look like you are not mature enough or lack the trust for you to make appropriate decisions.
You need to prove that you can handle your own original duties and tasks, as well as any additional responsibilities that you choose to take up. If you do decide to take on more responsibility, learn how to manage your time properly. Purchase an agenda or set up an electronic agenda to schedule in appointments, assignments, or meetings so that you can budget your time properly.
4. Talk to them and communicate with them.
Open the lines of communication. Talking to them and actually listening from where they are coming from is important. Try and see the situation from their perspective while taking into consideration everything from their past experiences, or how they view letting go of control over your life. We are so busy growing up and learning to be independent that we often forget that they are also growing old in the process.
Another thing to keep in mind is that when you are externalizing what you are feeling or thinking to your parents, they may not be internalizing it the same way that you intend them to. As a result, miscommunication occurs as well as the possibility of conflict may arise.
There are many ways to communicate with your parents. If you find that your parents speak over you or you don’t get a chance to speak your mind, why not try another method of communication? Write a letter or an email to your parents and have them read it. Even when your parents can choose to ignore your letter and not read it, all of your thoughts and feelings are written down for them to read in an organized manner. It also takes the confrontation out of the situation so that nobody ends up frustrated with each other.
Be clear about what you would like and explain. You may assume that some things are clear and do not need an explanation, but this may not always be the case. Your parents may not see why you ‘need’ that tattoo or why you ‘need’ to attend that party.
5. Ease them into transition.
Depending on how your parents are, they may either be resistant and do not handle change well or they are open to change without you realizing it. For example, if you are negotiating to have a later curfew and they want you back home at 9 pm sharp, ask about the possibility of you keeping in touch with them through the night if they are willing to allow you to stay out until 9:30 or 10 pm.
Small steps build to success and show that you are both a responsible and trusting person, and will hopefully allow your parents to ease up on being so strict on certain rules.
6. Be considerate and look at the situation from their perspective.
When parents are strict, it usually means they are doing what they believe is best for their children. They don’t want them to go through life making the same mistakes that they did when they were young, but this often gets misdirected as being “strict”.
Keep in mind that society and certain worldviews are changing. Many trends in society are changing due to socioeconomic demands. For example, nowadays, couples are choosing to move in together before getting married, as it is harder to hold a high paying job that can pay for life expenses. It also allows the couple to figure out if they can actually live together before making a big life commitment like marriage.
The increase in this trend is due to how society and the job markets are currently. It has changed drastically from when your parents were around 18 to 35 years old. Give your parents time to accept these changes and to get used to the idea that things are not what they seem to be back when they were younger.
7. Negotiate to meet in between.
If you can’t see eye to eye with your parents, negotiate on terms where you can meet in the middle. There are usually more than two solutions to the problem, and it is up to you to communicate with your parents while searching for all possible solutions. An example might be that your parents are not lending you their car because they have to use it. Why not negotiate a certain day or time of when you get to use the car, except for when emergencies arise?
Define these emergencies with your parents so you both have clear expectations. Or why not negotiate that you can drop them off wherever it is that they need to go to, and will later pick them up after you run your own errands?
8. Set boundaries.
Parents want what is best for their children, but oftentimes it gets redirected and comes across as a lack of privacy or trust if they keep prying for answers. Laying out the guidelines and having boundaries set in place will give a better understanding of how you both navigate each other’s worlds. Expectations are set in place so that everything is clearly defined without any surprises. Either verbally agree on these guidelines or write them out on paper. Seeing it written down is somewhat more binding than just verbal agreement.
9. Be prepared and do your research.
Depending on what you are trying to convince your parents, doing a bit of research ahead of time to have solid facts to support your research may not be a bad idea. Try using a splatter diagram (check out other uses for splatter diagrams and being innovative) to brainstorm and figure out all possible angles of your argument. From there, do your research so that you have supportive evidence to persuade your parents to agree with your side of the argument. This will not only impress your parents, but it will show them that you have thought about things thoroughly and are knowledgeable about what you are getting yourself into.
Strict parents are not stubborn parents. Keep in mind that they often want what is best for their children even if they seem ridiculously unreasonable to you. Open the lines of communication and talk to them about how you are feeling. Check in with them to see if they are okay on their end of communication. Staying up to date and being honest with each other is important to allow both parties to be happy with the changes in each other’s lives. Keep a level head and speak from the heart. Your parents will ease up and come around with time. Don’t give up hope!