What to do when a parent stops speaking to you

Naina asks: I just had a fight with my mom and now she is not talking to me what should I do now?

Hi Naina –

Now of course I don’t know you, or her, but I can’t help but guess that this is a very abnormal event in your home.  That her not talking to you is new, or at least rare.

And usually it’s the other way; usually parents are begging for their kids to talk with them, open up, stop being so secretive.  So my sense is that this argument really bothered her.  More than maybe any fight you’ve ever had before. 

I find that, when something like this happens, it’s really a chance for you to learn about the other person.  Something bothered them that badly.  What was it?  Why did this bother them more than other things (that might have seemed like bigger deals to you)?

When I was a puppy, I was a horrible chewer.  I chewed and bit everything around me.  And while Handsome, my human friend, would often get annoyed, it never went beyond that.  Until one day, when he was taking a shower, singing along with one of his favorite albums, a record that he’d had since childhood .  And came out to find the cover in a hundred pieces all over the floor, and me with the rest of it in my mouth.  He flew into a rage, picked me up, opened the back door, and threw me across the back yard!  (Before I even touched the ground, he suddenly felt horrible guilt, and has never totally forgiven himself, even though I came through it fine – landing as well as any cat!). 

So let me tell you, I’m not quite sure why an album cover has more meaning to him than, say, the leg of a table.  But I learned quickly that it does – and have never so much as sniffed another record ever since!

So, like that, something specific happened in this fight, that’s driving your mom nuts.  So your job is to find out what it is.  (Please tell me you didn’t chew up Abbey Road like I did!)

And once you do, or even if you have a good guess, then your (tough) job is to go to your mom and tell her.  “Hey Mom, I’ve been thinking a lot, and I realize it was really hurtful when I told you I’ve always hated your hair,” or “really hurtful when I said you’ve never been a good mother,” or “really hurtful when I said I want to move out.” 

And here’s the funny part.  You might be wrong.  You might think it was about her hair, when all she cared about was you saying you might move. 

But even if you are wrong, your effort will show her that you cared.  That you thought about it.  That you were anything but the thoughtless, inconsiderate, stinker she was feeling you were.  And that instead, you were the angel she’d fallen in love with the moment you were born, but maturing into a caring, trustworthy adult. 

(And it’ll be even better if you’re right!)

So give that a try.  And even if you’re no better a mind-reader than I am, you’re still very likely to win her heart – and her voice – back!

The Very Best of Luck!


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