What kids should do when their parents are unreasonable

SeeGee95 asks: What should I do when my parents are unreasonable?

This is one of the toughest lessons for any young person, or dog, to learn.  I thought Handsome was perfect, that he always did what was right.  And then one day, he put me into the back seat of his car, and he slammed the door – right on my tail!  It hurt, of course, but even more than that, I was shocked!  He wasn’t perfect!  He didn’t mean to hurt me – he’d made a mistake!

What a great lesson that was.  Since then, he’s made lots more mistakes (and something tells me he’s made a ton more that I didn’t know anything about).  Now he has never cared about anything as much as taking care of me.  But he still sometimes makes mistakes, even about me.  So if that’s the case, why should I listen to anything he says, or trust him at all?

Well, there’s a very good reason why I should.  Because he always does what he thinks is right.  And if he’s wrong, he’ll realize it and change his mind.

So you say your parents are being unreasonable.  Maybe they’re demanding you do too many chores.  Or that you’ve got to do all your homework before you can play, and there’s so much homework that that means you can’t play at all.  Or they won’t let you watch your favorite shows or play your favorite games.  Or there’s someone you like at school, who they don’t let you hang out with.  Well, because you’re a human, there are a few things you can do about it.

First, talk with them about it.  And by that, I mean really talk.  “That’s unfair!  You stink!  All the other parents are nicer than you!” is not what I mean by talking.  Have you tried to understand your parents’ point of view?  Do you really understand why they’re being the way they are?  If so, maybe you can help them find a better solution.

Maybe they’re worried that you’re not getting good enough grades, so they’re being too demanding about your homework.  Well, if so, you could tell them that you’ll actually be able to concentrate better if you get some play time after school, or get to spend some time with friends.  So that, by letting you have more time to yourself, they’ll actually help you get better grades.

Maybe they’re afraid that your watching violent TV or playing violent video games will give you nightmares, or, worse, make you a more violent person.  Talk with them about it.  They might be kind of right.  But maybe there could be different levels that would be okay.  “CSI” has lots of gore, but it’s not very actively violent, for example.  And most older horror movies (before the late 1970s) aren’t as mean-spirited as a lot of the later ones, so they wouldn’t inspire such violent behavior.  And not all video games are as amoral as “Grand Theft Auto.”  So you could try to negotiate.

But again, what I’m suggesting is that you start by seeing their reasons.

Okay, second, if they’re being so obstinate that you can’t talk with them, try talking to someone at school.  A kind teacher, or better yet, a counselor if you have one.  Or if you go to a church, mosque, or synagogue, you could talk to someone there.  Maybe they can talk to your parents and help them see how they could do something better.  But of course, the problem here is that they might agree with your parents!

The third is what I have to do every day, when Handsome goes to work.  I hate being left alone.  I know he is happiest when I’m with him, so he’s being totally unreasonable by leaving me at home.  So what do I have to do?

I wait.  I just wait.

And I hate waiting!  But I do it.  Because I know he’ll come home eventually.  In the same way, you might just have to wait.  Give it a few months, and then try to negotiate again with them.  Eventually, you’ll grow up enough that they’ll have to listen to you!

And the fourth is only if things are really bad.  If there’s something that your parents are doing that is so wrong it’s immoral, or even illegal.  If that’s the case, then you do have the right to report them.  A school counselor, or teacher, or principal, will usually know what to do.  Or you could always tell a police officer.  But again, this is only if they’re doing something extremely bad.  Much worse than making you do your homework before you can play.

And last, but maybe most important.  Try to remember: almost all parents spend almost all their time trying to give you the best life they can.  Like when Handsome slammed the door on my tail, he was in the middle of taking me somewhere I wanted to go! So I saw that he’d made a mistake and forgave him.

Probably, your parents aren’t meaning to treat you wrongly.  So, just as you want them to give you a break, try giving them one.  Who knows, maybe that will show them how mature you are, and they’ll start being more reasonable after all.

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