How to Have a Serious Conversation With Your Parents
If you've read the title, then you would know this task is a daunting one. This might even be equivalent to walking into a lion's den. However, it's also very important to discuss any serious matter with your parents in a constructive way, whether it's about your mental health or life decisions.
Take some notes.
NO HEADS UPS
Contrary to what you might think, it's not always a good option to give your parents a heads up that you are going to talk about something really serious. Personally, whenever I have started a conversation in a casual way setting the precedent that it's perfectly normal for us to be having this conversation, it prevented my parents from having a big reaction or being dramatic. This doesn't mean you should drop a bomb from nowhere. Rather stay composed and try to bring up the matter as casually but sincerely as possible.
REVERSE THE ROLES
Sometimes it's also important to treat your parents as the children and let them know that you are willing to listen to their opinions with as much as support you yourself would have wanted. Tell them in clear words that you are open to their opinion and want to have a free discourse with them. When your parents see you actually taking their opinions into consideration, they will also treat your opinions with more seriousness. Showing that you think all of you are comrades in the same battle conveys your feelings and perspective way better than you'd imagine. Besides, it's important to also check their mental health state and be considerate.
SHOW THEM YOU'RE AN ADULT TOO
Not that they mean any harm by it, but parents often find it difficult to understand their children have grown up and are capable of being rational and logical beings too. But when you do show your mature side to them, they start considering you as confidants. Being concise, clear and honest about yourself is always the best way to show them where you stand. After striking up a conversation, often it's not possible to continue it in a peaceful way. But in that case, you must try your best to let them know that you want to reach a consensus or go right to the bottom of it.
That doesn't necessarily mean instantaneous unanimity, rather if it's suitable, take breaks and give them space. You also take your time and establish the fact that you want to be heard and understood too. Respectfully let them know what hurts you and what you think might be wrong on their part. This often enables parents to calm down and see your point of view better than ever.
Not everything goes by the book but it's always important to remember that at the end of the day, a successful conversation is one where both sides have gotten their points across. Sometimes a conversation might take time; it's important to persist and not give up after the first try.
Maisha Nazifa Kamal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org