Standing up to your parents is never easy, yet we all have to do it sooner or later. It feels especially weird if you’ve always followed their rules or if they’re very strict and set in their ways. Unfortunately, though, learning how to stand up for yourself to authority figures (any anyone, really) is part of growing up. It’s not about making a power play, being emotionally manipulative, or acting like a brat. It’s about holding your ground and being mature, showing people you take yourself seriously and you deserve to be heard. You can demand respect from your parents even if they don’t want to respect your point of view, you just need to learn how.
If you want to be taken seriously by your parents, you can start by acting more serious when you need to actually get your point across and they’re feeling really resistant about it. Mind you, these are the people who changed your diapers, know you inside and out, and have seen you at your absolute worst, so if you try pulling some tricks on them, know they’re going to be two steps ahead of you. The good news is that standing up to your parents is how you learn how to disagree with someone in a fair way and assert your perspective. The moment is bound to happen, and it can be rocky at first. So, want to know how to state your point, get your way, and have your parents take you seriously? Here are some easy tips on how to stand up to your parents the right way.
Walk Them Through Your Thought ProcessUnless you're super close with your parents and tell them every single thing, they don't know what's really going on in your head. They are also used to seeing you as a little kid who doesn't know better. So if you want them to understand your way of thinking, you need to walk them through your thought process and explain the logic behind whatever it is you're standing up for. To be honest, this won't always make them change their mind or give you what you want, but it will give them an opportunity to see you as someone who thinks through their actions instead of someone who impulsively acts on their whims, and that's a good thing. Source: iStock
Admit Fault When You're WrongStanding up for yourself when you're in trouble for something? Start by admitting you did something wrong (if you really did). Acting as if you're completely in the right when everyone knows you aren't is childish and won't impress anyone. Admitting that you did the wrong thing will make you look more mature - holding yourself accountable is so important. Instead of making excuses or lying, be honest. For example, if they're mad at you for missing curfew, say something like, "You're right, I messed up and missed curfew. I'm sorry, I did it because XXXX." Explain yourself while admitting it was the wrong decision so that they can at least see where you're coming from.Source: iStock
Justify Your Point Of View Using FactsSome parents are more willing to dismiss your feelings over facts. So, for example, saying, "It's not fair, I'm always left out of these things because you're so strict," is a less compelling argument than saying something like, "Their parents will be home and I promise to be home by curfew." Whining about how things aren't fair or they're ruining your life isn't going to change their mind - showing them what's really going on will help more. Source: iStock
Make Your Case Using "I Feel"You should definitely speak calmly and state facts, but you should also talk about how you feel - they can't fault you for your feelings. The trick is talking about your emotions in a mature, level-headed way, rather than a whiney way. Say, "That hurts my feelings" instead of "You're wrong!" Say, "You're making me angry" instead of "I hate you!" They can maybe better understand where you're coming from or how you were feeling when you made whatever decision that made them upset. The feelings are the "why" behind whatever is going on, so let them know hwy.Source: iStock
Set Some BoundariesParents often think they can do whatever they want when it comes to their kids, but that's not really fair. If you feel like they're doing something that is out of bounds for you, speak up and set those boundaries. Ask them not to speak negatively about another parent to you, tell them it makes you really uncomfortable when they go through your private things, and ask for respect. To be honest, they might not listen, but that doesn't mean you can't try. Source: iStock
Apologize For Any Mistakes Before Asking For What You WantPretending mistakes didn't happen and getting defensive about them as if they didn't is a key sign of immaturity. Before you ask for whatever it is you want, say, "First, I just want to apologize for..." Nothing says "I'm here to make this work and I'm someone who can argue in a healthy way" like admitting that you made a mistake and still staying strong. If you did something by accident and it was not your intention to screw up, just admit it and say you're sorry so you can move forward. Simple as that. Source: iStock
Don't Be StubbornIs getting what you want more important than successfully standing up for yourself? Being flexible and willing to compromise is a real show of emotional maturity, and being stubborn, when dealing with your parents, might remind them of when you were a toddler throwing a tantrum and would not stop until you got exactly what you wanted. While everyone knows you aren't a baby anymore in that respect, it goes a long way to not be stubborn when dealing with your parents. Source: iStock
Listen To Them TooThe key to any discrepancy involving more than one opposing point of view is to listen. Show your parents that you're listening to what they're saying and that you are not solely focused on winning. When I say listen, I'm not talking about taking mental notes of how you can poke holes in what they're saying so you can use it against them later, I mean really take it in and listen to them. Be a part of a two way discussion instead of just barraging them with your demands or getting angry in an unproductive way. It sounds a lot easier than it actually is, especially if your emotions are involved, but it's very important to listen.Source: iStock
Have you ever had to stand up to your parents? What was it about? How did it go? Do your parents take you seriously? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.