Astrid asks: How do you talk to you parents about stuff that happens. Like stuff that happens online and at school. Maybe stuff that kind of scares you?
Hi Astrid –
Your question is a little bit tough to answer, because I don’t know exactly what “scary stuff” you’re referring to. And of course I don’t know you or your parents at all. But it really comes down to a gigantic question: Who Do You Trust?
I’m very glad (and honored) that you trusted me enough to ask me about this. But you definitely need to find someone in your own world who you can absolutely trust, to share these things with. Most often, parents are the best choice. But if your parents aren’t people you can trust with this information, you might want to talk to a teacher or administrator at school, a member of the clergy, or even a therapist or counselor who can help you.
Remember, stuff happens to everybody. Every person (and dog) in the world has experienced being in a horrible position due to something they’ve done. Everyone’s gotten in trouble, said something they shouldn’t, gone somewhere they shouldn’t, and done things they shouldn’t. And your parents and teachers and all those other people – they know this.
And absolutely everyone has found themselves in a situation where they’re frightened, and don’t quite know what to do about it.
So I’m going to make a wild guess here. I’m going to guess that your parents are mostly trustworthy, but you’re not sure how they’re going to take it if you tell them about something you did that you weren’t supposed to have done.
If I’m right, then those parents of yours really are the best people to talk to (because they’re likely going to find out anyway!). The trick is in how you present it to them.
I’m a big fan of saying things like this: “Mom, Dad, I need to tell you something. Now I know you told me not to ____________________, and you were right. And the reason I know you were right is that I kind of stupidly didn’t do what you said. And I’m really sorry I went against you, because now I’ve gotten myself into something that really scares me. And I know you must be mad at me, and you’re right, but I really need your help right now.”
Do you see what I’m doing here? First, I’m admitting everything, including that I absolutely knew I was breaking the rules. Second, I’m showing that I’ve learned my lesson about why they made that rule. Third I’m apologizing. And fourth, I’m letting them know that their kid is in a scary situation.
Now does this mean that they won’t get upset, or that they won’t punish you later? Nope. But it probably means that their natural love and concern about their child’s well-being will come first, and they’ll do what they can to get you out of the mess you’re in. And then? You know what I’ve usually found? By the point they’ve done that, they know you’ve learned the lesson you need to, and they probably won’t worry a lot about punishing you.
It’s like when I got so excited about barking at a cat that I broke a window. Now if I’d pretended I didn’t do it, or if I kept the barking up, Handsome would have been really mad at me. But instead, he (after rolling his eyes and calling me a few names) was checking over my nose to see if I had any broken glass in it, and carrying me out of the room to make sure I didn’t step on anything that might cut my feet.
You see, what really irks most parents is when they see their kids not learning, or not caring about what they’ve told them. You’ll be doing the exact opposite. And parents know that their kids are going to break rules sometimes; it’s expected. So you’re probably going to be alright.
Now again, if your parents aren’t fully trustworthy people, I can understand why you might not want to do this. But if that’s the case, I really do want you to find someone else who can help you. Because when I see my pack friends getting scared, I get scared too!
So please, Astrid, let me know how this goes. And especially, let me know you’re all right.