Bumpy asks: How can I make my parents trust me?
Boy, Bumpy, do I hear this one all the time from kids, teens, even some adults! Why can’t our parents trust us? We can be super-responsible in the eyes of the world, but these people, who know us the best and love us the most, have absolutely the worst opinion of our integrity and abilities!
Well, it’s one simple problem you’re facing: Diapers!
Yes, you read it right, I said Diapers! You see, when you were born, you were completely helpless – you couldn’t even lift your head up. And you’re here today and able to complain to me because your parents did absolutely everything for you back then. They knew you were helpless, and were there always.
Then you got a little older, and you started crawling around, walking, talking… you were feeling pretty powerful. But no matter how smart or tough you were, they knew that you were still helpless and had no idea how to handle life, because of the big bulge around your butt! You wanted to cross the street? You wanted to pet that big dog? You wanted to eat whatever you wanted? No way – you aren’t even potty-trained, you aren’t ready to make those decisions!
And this mindset… it kinda sticks in parents’ heads. So later on, even though you’ve been in underwear for years, they still think of you as someone helpless who can’t be trusted on their own. You got an A in all your classes? Great, but they still think you can’t be trusted to do your homework. You passed Driver’s Ed class and got your license on the first try? Good for you, but that still doesn’t mean they’ll trust you to take the car out at night. You have shown that you only befriend really nice good kids? Terrific, but you think that means they’ll trust that the person you want to date is anything other than a serial killer and thief?!
So if I’m right about your situation, what can you do? Well the main thing I’d suggest is to have a really good talk with your parents. Plan it out, make a time with them, sit down, maybe even have some things written out – make it as professional a meeting as you possibly can. Let them – or better yet make them – see how mature you are, how responsible you are. And most important of all, Listen! Teenagers often spend so much time defending themselves against all their unfair rules and restrictions that they don’t sit back and listen to the reasons for them all. Find out what they worry about. They were teenagers once too; maybe they have some good things to teach you. And when you listen, don’t just sit back politely and stay quiet – show that you’re listening, and understanding, by talking to them about their concerns.
And then, here’s the great trick – maybe you can find a new way to live together, where they feel that you’re safe, and you stop feeling over-controlled. Maybe you can agree to always tell them where you’re going and who with, so they don’t ever feel they needs to ask you a lot of questions. Maybe you can make safety plans with them, so they can trust in what you’d do in a bad situation. And best of all, maybe you all can become partners in making sure that you are safe. If you can take that attitude towards them, I’ll bet they start to trust you more.
Every day when Handsome goes to work, he gives me a hug and a kiss, and reminds me of the only rule that really matters. Sure, he doesn’t want me to chew up his stuff, or mess up the house, or dig under the fence and get out. But what really matters to him is that I’m safe. So every day he says to me, “Don’t break my heart.”
If you can prove to your parents that you won’t break their hearts by getting hurt, I think you’ll find you can get a lot more freedom.
Who knows, maybe they’ll even start to realize you’ve moved out of diapers now!
Good Luck! Tell me how it goes!