How to accept that your parents dont understand you

How to accept that your parents dont understand youElyssa Andrus

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

Before he was a husband, dad, and gazillionaire movie star, Will Smith was just a teenager with a bad ’80s outfit and a message: “Parents just don’t understand.”

Sure, he’d go on to battle aliens, save the world, and make out with Eva Mendes, but the stress the Fresh Prince was feeling as a young adult was real. His parents didn’t get it. And yours may not either.

School. Work. Extracurricular activities. Snapchat. You’ve got a lot going on. In fact, in a survey we conducted of more than 1,300 students, 74 percent of high school students and 68 percent of college students said their number one challenge was balancing their responsibilities. It’s hard to manage it all. Your young adult years can be totally stressful, but your parents may have a hard time sympathizing. Here’s why:

1) They didn’t grow up in the digital age. Sure, Mom finally figured out how to take a selfie (well, kind of) and post it to Facebook. Dad’s pretty stoked about his LinkedIn profile. But your parents didn’t come of age in a time where one’s every word, action and bad hair day could appear online.

They didn’t grow up under a digital microscope, and they didn’t have to deal with time-sucking smartphones and social media when they were young. Did your parents ever get 75 texts during a biology lecture? Didn’t think so.

That’s why they may not get that avoiding distracting technology requires ninja-like focus. And it can be really stressful at times. (If you’ve got a good technique for managing time spent on social media, tell us in the comment section below.)

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

2) They’ve forgotten what it’s like to be a student. So your parents get all teary-eyed and wistful every time they hear their college fight song. Of course they do. Two decades after the fact, it’s easy to romanticize college into a time of frat parties and football games.

But they’re forgetting the hard parts: pop quizzes, essays, mid-terms, finals, and that statistics professor who takes pride in making students cry. College isn’t all fun and fight songs. You’ve got a lot to juggle. It’s no cakewalk balancing school, work, and a social life. And everything sure looks easier in hindsight.

3) They’ve got their own heavy stuff to deal with: Bills, taxes, mortgages, cholesterol. Adults have adult-sized problems, which can make your stress seem small in comparison. Maybe they are having their own relationship problems and so have written off your (very real) heartache. Maybe stress at work has left them unsympathetic to your stress at school. Whatever the reason, you need to respect that your parents have a lot of grownup problems to deal with. At the same time, they need to respect that you’ve got your own challenges to face.

4) The decisions they are making aren’t determining their destiny: Sure, it’s tough to decide what color to paint the guest room or whether to re-seal the back deck. But, most of the decisions your parents are making are small potatoes compared to what you’re tackling. Like, um, what to do with the rest of your freaking life. You’re at a crossroads. Choosing a career trumps choosing a chiropractor any day. But because your parents have most of the Big Questions figured out, it might be hard for them to remember the stress that accompanies them.

5) They’ve had years to learn how to manage stress: When it comes to juggling responsibilities, your parents have had decades of practice. And certainly they’ve picked up a few stress relief and management techniques along the way. Whether they practice yoga or just have insane time management skills, they’re probably better at handling stress than you are. (No worries. You are way better at texting.)

Maybe they’ve learned not to procrastinate. Maybe they don’t over-commit the way you do. It’s cool — they’ve had years and years and years to figure it out. Some day you’ll be a Zenlike a stress-busting master.

But until then, your folks need to back the H off when running out of Mountain Dew during finals week gives you a full-on meltdown. You may have to remind them, but they were young once too. Just ask Will Smith about it.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

Now, of course, this whole article ignores one important point. Just because your parents may not understand your stress level doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook for managing your time properly. In fact, people who manage their time properly at a young age set themselves up for an exciting future.

In other words, if you can say NO to constantly checking your Instagram feed at 20 years old? You’ll be a lot more likely to say NO to whatever-might-be-distracting-you from starting that business, working that corporate job, or saving that extra money when you’re 30, 40 and 50. We all know adults who never learned this skill and are paying for it now.

If you want to learn time management OUR WAY (which is something we teach all of our entry level sales reps) and set yourself up with some fantastic habits? Click here! No, you don’t need experience. And yes, we’ll pay you too.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

November 2, 2017 Matthew Kalapuch/Unsplash

It’s only natural for children to want their parents’ approval … even when those children are legally adults. But, not everyone is lucky enough to have a vision for their lives that aligns with what their parents want.

Many young adults decide to follow a career course that goes against the wishes of their parents. This can add additional challenges and pressures along the way. If you’ve made the decision to follow your own heart despite the fact that your parents disapprove of your career choices, there are a few important tips to consider.

1. Consciously separate your opinions from theirs.

Our opinions and values are initially developed within the context of our family life. However, we hone our own beliefs as we grow older. It can be a disorienting process. So, take the time to consciously consider why you want to pursue this career path, and separate your view from your parents’.

For example, perhaps you want to work as a chemist. You feel that the work is interesting and valuable. But, your parents worry that it requires too much schooling. You could confuse their opinions with your own if you don’t take the time to consciously separate them.

Isolate your beliefs from your parents’, and when you hear that little voice inside saying, “I feel like I should be working, not going to school,” you’ll know where it’s coming from. You’ll have an easier time following your own wisdom if you take the time to consciously process everyone’s opinions, including your own.

Consider why you want to pursue this career path, and separate your view from your parents’.

2. Provide information.

Take the time for a good long talk with your folks about your chosen career path. Be sure to do your homework in advance so that you’re ready for the conversation.

Perhaps your parents disapprove of your choice because they don’t really understand it. Help to bring them along by answering any and all questions they might have. Provide them with information as needed.

You might be pleasantly surprised by the outcome. The chat should at least help them to recognize your passion and commitment to this path.

3. Get really into it.

Don’t let your parents’ lack of support dim your own enthusiasm. Keep loving what you’re doing — and work hard. It might help shift your parents’ perspective when they see your passion translate into hard work and eventual success.

Or, it might not. Either way, allow yourself to have the full experience of loving what you do. Emotions are contagious. So, be joyful as you walk this path. You’ll benefit from this approach no matter how your folks respond to it.

4. Prepare to support yourself.

You’ll likely face some additional challenges and difficulties if your parents don’t approve of your career choices. It will help to prepare yourself for the fact that you might not be getting much support from them.

Be sure you have a plan for how to support yourself financially as pursue your chosen career path. Anticipate a lack of emotional support, too. Perhaps they will come around at some point, but you shouldn’t count on it. If you prepare for a lack of support, you’ll be pleasantly surprised with anything positive they do contribute instead of feeling frequently disappointed.

5. Find a mentor.

It helps to have people who are understanding and supportive. Everyone needs this when beginning a new career, whether their parents are on board or not. You don’t need a formal mentor, either. These relationships can, and often do, develop naturally. And, the mentor/mentee relationship can exist outside of a formal structure.

The trick is to find someone (or, better yet, a few people) with ample experience working in your field that you respect and feel comfortable with. Then, ask them questions. Use the resource. You have the potential to learn so much, and receive so much encouragement, from developing relationships with others in your field.

Do You Know What You’re Worth?

Tell Us What You Think

Are you pursuing a career without your parents’ approval? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

Here are the top mistakes parents make with their teens and tweens, and how to avoid them.

Your child isn’t a little kid anymore. They’re a teen, or a tween — and it’s time to tweak your parenting skills to keep up with them.

Yes, they’re probably moodier now than when they were young. And you have new things to think about, like curfews, dating, new drivers, and friends who make you raise your eyebrows.

No doubt about it: Your teen, or tween, will test your limits, and your patience. But they’re still your child. And, though they won’t admit it, they still need you!

The key is knowing what efforts are worth it, and which ones backfire.

1. Expecting the Worst

Teenagers get a bad rap, says Richard Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development at Tufts University. Many parents approach raising teenagers as an ordeal, believing they can only watch helplessly as their lovable children transform into unpredictable monsters.

But that sets you — and your teen — up for several unhappy, unsatisfying years together.

“The message we give teenagers is that they’re only ‘good’ if they’re not doing ‘bad’ things, such as doing drugs, hanging around with the wrong crowd, or having sex,” Lerner says.

It could become a self-fulfilling prophecy: Negative ex pectations can actually promote the behavior you fear most. A Wake Forest University study showed that tee ns whose parents expected them to get involved in risky behaviors reported higher levels of these behaviors one year later.

Lerner’s advide: Focus on your child’s interes ts and hobbies, even if you don’t understand them. You could open a new path of communication, reconnect with the child you love, and learn something new.

2. Reading Too Many Parenting Books

Rather than trusting their instincts, many parents turn to outside experts for advice on how to raise teens. “Parents can tie themselves into knots trying to follow the advice they read in books,” says Robert Evans, EdD, author of Family Matters: How Schools Can Cope with the Crisis in Child Rearing.

It’s not that parenting books are bad.

“Books become a problem when parents use them to replace their own innate skills,” Evans says. “If the recommendations and their personal style don’t fit, parents wind up more anxious and less confident with their own children.”

Use books to get perspective on confusing behavior — and then put the book down and trust that you’ve learned what you need to learn. Get clear about what matters most to you and your family.


3. Sweating the Small Stuff

Maybe you don’t like your tween daughter’s haircut or choice of clothes. Or perhaps they didn’t get the part in the play you know they deserve.

But before you step in, look at the big picture.

If it’s not putting your child at risk, give them the leeway to make age-appropriate decisions and learn from the consequences of their choices.

“A lot of parents don’t want growing up to involve any pain, disappointment, or failure,” Evans says. But protecting your child from the realities of life takes away valuable learning opportunities — before they’re out on their own.

Of course, you’ll still be there for guidance and comfort — you’re still the parent. But challenge yourself to step back and let your child know you’re there for them.

4. Ignoring the Big Stuff

If you suspect your child is using alcohol or drugs, do not look the other way. Even if it’s “just” alcohol or marijuana — or even if it reminds you of your own youth — you must take action now, before it becomes a bigger problem.

“The years when kids are between 13 and 18 years old are an essential time for parents to stay involved,” Amelia M. Arria, PhD, tells WebMD. She is director of the University of Maryland’s Center on Young Adult Health and Development. Parents might consider teen drinking a rite of passage because they drank when they were that age. “But the stakes are higher now,” Arria says.

Watch for unexplained changes in your teen’s behavior, appearance, academic performance, and friends. And remember, it’s not just illicit drugs that are abused now — prescription drugs and even cough medicines and household products are also in the mix.

If you find empty cough medicine packaging in your child’s trash or backpack, if bottles of medicine go missing from your cabinet, or if you find unfamiliar pills, pipes, rolling papers, or matches, your child could be abusing drugs.

Take these signs seriously and get involved. Safeguard all the medicines you have: Know which products are in your home and how much medication is in each package or bottle.


5. Too Much, or Too Little, Discipline

Some parents, sensing a loss of control over their teens’ behavior, crack down every time their child steps out of line. Others avoid all conflict for fear their teens will push them away.

You don’t have to do either of those things. It’s about finding a balance between obedience and freedom.

If you put too much emphasis on obedience, you may be able to make your teen or tween fall into line — but at what price? Teens raised in rigid environments miss out on the chance to develop problem-solving or leadership skills — because you’re making the decisions for them.

Yet too little discipline doesn’t help, either. Teens and tweens need clear structure and rules to live by as they start to explore the world outside.

As their parent, it’s up to you to set your family’s core values and communicate them through your words and actions. That’s being an authoritative parent, an approach that “helps children develop the skills they need to govern themselves in appropriate ways,” Lerner says.

Remember, your influence runs deeper than you may think. Most teens say they want to spend more time with their parents. Keep making time for your child throughout the tween and teen years. Even when it doesn’t show, you provide the solid ground they know they can always come home to.


Richard M. Lerner, PhD, director of the Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.

Robert Evans, EdD, executive director, The Human Relations Service, Wellesley, Mass.

Amelia M. Arria, PhD, director, Center on Young Adult Health and Development, University of Maryland School of Public Health.

News release, “Teens behaving badly? Negative expectations might produce negative behaviors,” Oct. 15, 2009, Wake Forest Office of Communications and External Relations.

US Department of Health and Human Services – Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Helping Your Children Navigate Their Teenage Years: A Guide for Parents.”

Office of National Drug Control Policy, Executive Office of the President, “Prescription for Danger: A Report on the Troubling Trend of Prescription and Over-the-Counter Drug Abuse Among the Nation’s Teens.”

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, PATS TEENS 2008 REPORT.

News release, “Drug abuse expert Dr. Drew Pinsky and the Five Moms join in fight against OTC cough medicine abuse,” October 21, 2009, Consumer Healthcare Products Association.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America, “Time To Act: What to do if your child is drinking or using drugs.”

Honore’, C. Under Pressure: Rescuing Our Children from the Culture of Hyper-Parenting, Harper Collins Publishers, 2008.

Lerner, R. The Good Teen: Rescuing Adolescence from the Myths of the Storm and Stress Years, The Stonesong Press, LLC, 2007.

I am a 14-year-old Egyptian Muslim currently living with my parents.

When I try to keep my room’s door closed, my parents are always like “Why close it?” and when I reply “I want some privacy” they reply “You are doing something bad that you want to hide.” I normally open music and surf the web like seeing the Stack Exchange sites’ questions.

How can I convince my parents to respect my privacy?

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

6 Answers 6

Show them that you have nothing to hide.

This seems like it might be an issue of trust – or a lack thereof – between your parents and you. To be honest, their feelings are understandable. Families try to be open with one another, especially in the case of parents and children. When someone does something in what appears to be an attempt to shut themselves off from those they love, a little backlash is not unreasonable. (I recommend looking at Too much computer? on Parenting Stack Exchange to see how your parents might be thinking.)

First and foremost, acknowledge that their concerns aren’t fully unreasonable. I think I’ve said this here before, but in most disputes, the other party will be more agreeable if you let them know that you’re not blindly disagreeing with them – because it appears that you are, in fact, disagreeing with them. I’ve had fights with my parents that probably could have been avoided if it was clear that each of us understood to a certain degree what the other was saying – we just disagreed.

Second, be open with them about what you were doing. I was a bit secretive of my activities when I first participated in Stack Exchange, in part because I had never even used social media before, let alone a question and answer site like this! I wasn’t sure how much my parents would approve of my use of it. So I made the decision to hide it – not lying, but not keeping them informed.

Then the tsunami broke when my mom looked over my shoulder, and immediately got suspicious. Fortunately, I made what I think is your best choice: I was open about what I was doing. In particular, I did the following:

  • I explained what Stack Exchange was and how it worked.
  • I explained why I used it, and the benefits it had for me.
  • I reassured her that it was not interfering with other aspects of my life (such as homework).

I was honest, sincere, and completely open with my parents. I didn’t hide anything, and they quickly understood that it made sense.

You have a similar case, and frankly, I think that’s a good thing. You’re not doing anything wrong; all you have to do is show them. Don’t be afraid of doing so. You’ll build trust, and in the long run, I think they’ll respect your privacy quite a bit more.

The conversation itself

Correct me if I’m wrong, but it seems like the typical conversation goes like this:

Parents: Why close your door?

You: I want some privacy.

Parents: You are doing something bad that you want to hide.

Here’s the point at which you quite literally prove them wrong. Here’s a possible extension:

You: I know that what I’m doing looks suspicious, and I understand your concerns.

Parents: It looks incredibly suspicious.

You: Well, here’s what I’m doing. There this site called Stack Exchange. It’s a question and answer site that covers a range of different topics. By participating, I’m helping people around the world.

[Continue conversation as you wish.]

As NVZ pointed out, there’s still the possibility of your parents further pushing the issue, i.e. saying "Why were you closing the door if you’re doing something helpful?"

At this point, talking about privacy is a much better tactic. Bringing it up early in the discussion seems like a shield; it doesn’t give that great a reason for you to have essentially hidden from your parents. They had no good reason to believe that you weren’t doing something wrong, and that’s probably why things have gone as poorly as they have.

However, you’ve now demonstrated what you’ve been doing, and talking about privacy no longer seems like just an excuse. It’s a very reasonable justification, and I think they’ll be more receptive to it.

There is one other thing I forgot: You’re 14.

I know you’ve probably heard this all before, but you’re in a phase where you’re growing up. At the same time, you’re still your parents’ son; they are still (legally and morally) responsible for your safety and well-being. To fully care for you and guide you down the weird and challenging road of life, they do need to know what you’re doing most of the time.

You’re a young adult, not a full adult, and you’re working your way towards independence. That doesn’t mean that you can hide everything from them, and it doesn’t mean that they get to know everything you’re doing. There’s a middle ground to be struck, and everyone in the situation has to understand that. For the sake of resolving this issue and future ones, I hope you’ll bear this in mind.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

And that is okay. It is only natural that most of you would be more awake and aware than your parents. With each generation, there is more openness. Most of you would not accept the racial intolerance and prejudice that was commonplace in your grandparents’ generation. Evolution has occurred.

It is easy to see that you are more awake than many of your grandparents. But it is harder when dealing with your own mother and father, or step-parents. Even though you may be more spiritually awake than your parents, there is a strong, hard-wired tendency for children to deeply crave the approval of their parents. This holds no matter how misguided or crazy your parents may be. This holds no matter how old you are. Many older people still crave the approval of parents who have died and left this physical plane.

Some of you may be very conscious of your parents’ weaknesses. You may even vow that you wish to be nothing like them. And yet unconsciously, you still desperately crave their approval. This craving can be the undoing of many a spiritually awake person. For the unconscious is in conflict with the conscious mind. Consciously, you may understand that your parents are misguided about many things. Yet unconsciously you crave their approval, and fear their disapproval. Through this “back door,” all manner of false beliefs and destructive behaviors may seep in.

Some of you may know people who have exceptionally crazy parents. They may know their parents are crazy, and have gone through therapy. And yet deep down they are still terribly attached to their parents. They care what their parents think, and wish to please them. Many bright lives have been stunted in this way.

“Honor Your Mother and Father” is a misunderstood saying. Many parents take this to mean: “My children should do what I tell them, and share my beliefs and values.”

This is not true.

“Honor Your Mother and Father” means living in the radiant light of your soul. It means following the guidance of your higher, spiritual self — not the tribal and cultural beliefs indoctrinated into your parents, which they in turn have tried to indoctrinate into you.

Here is an easy guide:

Do you consider your parents to be peaceful, fulfilled individuals? Are their lives full of love, and joy?

If so, then you may listen to their guidance.

However, if your parents are unhappy, troubled, miserable people with a lot of drama in their lives, you should not listen to their guidance.

This doesn’t mean, don’t love them. Please cultivate deep compassion for an unhappy, misguided parent. But do not listen to them. Do not believe their stories and their judgments.

Notice the ways in which you crave parental approval. To really come into your own light, you cannot live to make your parents happy. This will keep you forever a child.

For a tree to grow, it needs space. If there are too many other trees crowding around, it cannot get enough sunlight. Its growth will be stunted. This is what happens to many children who cannot get enough distance from their parents. This is true sometimes even with fairly well-adjusted parents.

It is part of a healthy growth process to become your own person, in your own space, free of your parents. Always love them, but be your own being. Do not crave their approval. This will only stunt your growth.

Parents, if you truly love your children, do not cling to them. Let them go. Clinging to them will only stunt their growth. Let them follow the path of their souls wherever it leads — even if you fear for their safety. You cannot protect them from life. Do not crowd them, or overshadow them. This will block their light, like a big tree hovering over and smothering a little tree.

Children, honor your parents by following your soul.

Parents, honor your children by giving them the space to follow their souls. If you are truly following your own soul, instead of living vicariously through your children in some way, this will not be so difficult.

Too many bright and beautiful lives are stunted by unhealthy relationships between parents and children. Trees need plenty of space to fully grow in the light. So do people.

Telling your parents that you have internet friends can be quite a shock for them. This is especially true if you’ve told them some personal information, et cetera.

Some of the common complains parents seem to use against online friends are:
– "They’re not your real friends"
– "What if they’re all 40 year old rapists"
– "You could be abducted"

I’ll be axiomatically eviscerating (Tenebrous12321) all of these claims for your enjoyment.

"They’re not your real friends! How can you be "friends" with someone you don’t even know. 1. "

Yeah, this one. This is a common statement that parental units recite whenever they first discover that you actually have somewhat of a life online. They say this primarily to "scare" you out of being friends with people you met online due to the BS articles they’ve read online over the years. They primarily mean through this statement that they are concerned with the fact that you’ve never met this person in the real world, and so they consider them to be robots.

How to combat this:
Argue (and this is usually the case for most people with this issue, according to what I’ve been told) that these people you’ve met online have actually been kind to you, been honest to you, have helped you through your hardest times, and have kept you company while you were alone when nobody from the real world did. Knowing someone doesn’t just mean personally seeing their face. From months/years of knowing someone, even online, you figure out their entire personality quite rapidly. You begin to have inside jokes, stories, and other memorable moments just like with people that you know IRL. It’s like them arguing that blind people can’t have real friends just because they can’t see them. It’s nonsensical.

"They’re could be 40 year old rapists for all you [email protected]#[email protected]!"

This one pisses me off beyond words. Parents argue, especially if you plan on meeting up with your online friends, that they could possibly be murderers/rapists/kidnappers etc. This is regardless of age. They are concerned that these people you meet online are not who they really say they are, and that they plan on doing malicious things to you as soon as they get the chance to.

How to combat this:
Explain to them that everyone you’ve ever met in the real world was a stranger at some point. You did not know their background, personality, or hidden intentions. There is always risk in any humanly thing you do, whether it be driving, flying, swimming, or socializing. They all have a percentage of being harmful, but the percentage is often too low to matter whatsoever. You don’t stop talking to people just because you read that someone had been murdered after trying to befriend someone they didn’t know. Because your parents have experienced real-world socialization, they see it perfectly okay. They are unfamiliar with online socialization, therefore they deem it "dangerous". Explain this to them, and there’s nothing logical they can respond with arguing against you.

"You want to meet up with them. You could be abducted/raped/killed/kidnapped etc. 1"

This closely ties in with my previous point, but is still irritable enough to be put into a separate point. I dislike this for the same reasons, the parents have not yet experienced it, so they believe it is wrong. They do not understand that there is risk in anything, and without putting yourself at risk, you will never live a satisfying life.

How to combat this:
If your parents are arguing this, it’s likely because of some random article they met online about how this 15 year old girl met some stranger on Omegle and immediately decided to meet up. For those of you on this forum, I hope you aren’t stupid enough to make the same mistake. We socialize on this network primarily to have someone else to play the game with, not just to make friends with strangers. Besides, any person with half a brain can tell whether or not someone is fishy simply based on how they act. If they constantly pressure you to give personal information, you know to ignore them. It’s just common sense. If your parents seriously think you’re stupid enough to go into a dark alleyway with someone you’ve never personally seen, then they need to be seriously enlightened. Most people on the internet meet up at conventions. At these conventions, there’s tens of thousands of people surrounding you. If anything were to go wrong, these bystanders would help.

I understand parents’ general concern about the safety of their child, but sometimes it goes too far.

But I’m sorry, because of my depression . I know you think kids can’t have depression. I’m sorry I have to prove you wrong, because I am depressed.

I never wanted to be. I know you’ve always seen me so happy and hat’s what everyone thinks I am, but in complete honesty, I want you to know I’m not completely OK. Sometimes I am, but I’m not going to be OK all day, or every day. I know you always want to be supportive, no matter how shocked you might be.

I’m super glad you have the unconditional love that probably kept me going sometimes. But there are other times when maybe you might say something that hurts, and it’s only because you don’t know how I feel sometimes.

My depression is like a fog in my brain, and my brain has bright, sunny, clear days, or days that are overcast, and some are thunderstorms. Those dark, rainy days are when the fog is the most present in my head, and I wish I could hide that fog down deep. But I can’t.

So I just want you to know these things about that fog.

My depression makes me tired. It exhausts me. I hate it so much, but I can’t help it. When I’m sluggish, or not responding to your questions, it’s not me being lazy. I never, ever want to disappoint you, and when I’m like this, it’s not because I don’t want to do something — it’s because I can’t. Even when you yell, sometimes your voice goes in one ear and out the other. I don’t understand what you’re saying. I am sorry if you hate repeating things, and I never wanted you to have to do that. It’s just hard, some days, to focus on and comprehend anything.

When I seem frustrated, it’s not because I’m mad at you. I am never truly mad at you, just as you say you’re never mad at me either. It’s only because I’ve got some things running through my brain and through all the fog. I sometimes raise my voice, and I’m very sorry. I know what it’s like to feel emotionally hurt and I don’t want to ever be the cause of that to you. So, I’m not really mad; it’s just that I need a bit of space.

If I’m doing something relaxing, like lying on my bed for no reason (usually meditating), or playing music, it’s my calming process. It’s the way I keep myself sane and it’s a way to stay in control of my emotions. I don’t want to seem like I’m doing no work, but I am doing quite a lot. I’m actually a straight-A student, who’s doing a bunch of extracurricular activities, but being so busy sometimes gets to me. I know you want me to be successful and I agree with you. But I am still depressed and I need this relaxation time so I can be successful and happy.

There are a few more things I have on my list, like letting me manage things on my own before you intervene because I need a way to feel good about myself, and not comparing the way you grew up to the way I’m being raised. I didn’t choose this generation to be born in, nor did I choose which family to be born in, or what gender I am, or any of that.

I just want to make sure we can all know what’s happening, and I want to keep you happy because you guys truly are amazing people. I can’t imagine being born with different parents. I love you. I hope you always know that.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

There is nothing more difficult than convincing Indian parents of something you want to do as a result of your choice. Because as far as your choice is concerned, it can very well go to hell. Take a look at 12 things Indian parents just don’t get. Or wait, let me rephrase – REFUSE to get. Agree?

1. What you write on social media is your opinion.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

Image Credit: BCCL

When Salman Khan had an opinion, his father Salim Khan shushed him by calling him ignorant. Salman had tweeted that Yakub’s brother Tiger should be hanged instead of him which created furore over the internet. Later his father told the media to ignore Salman’s tweet and told him to retract and apologise. He did. So, whether you’re 9 or 49, your parents still call you out in public for having an opinion and make you delete a tweet. C’mon we’ve all been there.

2. Deadlines are flexible by at least an hour.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

It’s your friend’s birthday party and you’ve called home to say that you’ll be late. However, once you enter home post your initial deadline, your mom starts her ‘lecture’ about being late. Not that we don’t understand her concerns, but a lecture every time you come home late is a tad too much.

3. You don’t spend too much time on the phone.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

Remember the landline days, and how curious our parents used to get when a classmate called for some query or doubt? THAT happens even today, the only change being that cellphones have replaces landlines.

4. Competing and beating Sharmaji’s beta is not the ultimate objective of your life!

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

This is just not done, but sadly and frustratingly, is more common than a cold. “Look how Sharmaji’s beta has scored more than you in the exams!” is the taunt you will have to keep hearing for your average marks. And even when you’re done with college, ‘Sharmaji’s beta’ is still more of a dinner-table topic than your own precious life.

5. Food is not the ultimate cure for everything.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

You just can’t go to bed without eating ‘thoda sa’. Your mom will insist, and you will grudgingly comply.

6. Space? From Parents? Boss, You’re nuts!

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

You’re down and depressed and you want to talk to your loved ones. You try talking to your parents but they just don’t get it. They will try to convince you that it’s your fault that you’re facing a crisis. Then they feel bad when you confide in a friend.

7. Arts is for people who’ve failed their boards!

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

They don’t understand your work. If you aren’t a doctor, engineer, or a bank employee, your work is inexplicable.

8. Everything will not magically sort itself out the minute you are married!

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

Though you hate the idea of marrying a stranger, your parents are up for it. They love boasting that you are marrying the person of their choice. And if you tell them about your choice, 99% you will first face hesitance. Then you will have to move mountains to coax them to get married to a person of your choice.

9. Why you want to travel so much. God forbid if you want to travel alone – then you are a manic depressant.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

The first question your parents ask you is ‘kyu jaana hai?’, if you tell them that you’re off to a place for a vacation. Parents don’t understand your wanderlust. You need to cajole them to allow you to pack your bags.

10. You don’t spend too much time on Twitter, or FB or Instagram. Or.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

How many times have your parents told you to keep that phone away? Not that they are entirely wrong, but you have to see that funny WhatsApp forward. FOMO, dude.

11. The Earth will not spin off its orbit if you don’t attend a shaadi.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

They want you to attend every shaadi that takes place in the family. They won’t take ‘no’ for an answer. You’re done trying to tell them nobody cares if you go or not.

12. Spending on going out with friends is not a complete waste of money!

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

You need those shoes and that morning Starbucks coffee. But your parents say it’s all ‘faltu ka kharcha’.

How to accept that your parents dont understand you

The more family sessions I do, the more concerned I become at the astonishing number of parents who are in denial of their child’s mental health issues.

Recently I was dealing with a teenage girl referred to me by her mother because she was scared to be by herself, “acting weird”, talking and laughing to herself.

After meeting with the girl twice I got her to tell me some information she had ever told anyone else. She was hearing voices and having extreme paranoid delusions of someone putting “voodoo” on her and making her do things against her will.

After further sessions and gathering more collateral information from her mom and sister, I diagnosed the girl with a psychotic disorder, with a rule out of paranoid schizophrenia. I referred the mom to a local psychiatrist so the young lady could be evaluated further and the mom was extremely hesitant. She questioned my every judgment, and while she was very concerned for her daughter, she hoped that it was “all in her head”. I tried to convince her mother that it wasn’t “all in her head”, but an illness, that according to her records, seemed to run in the family.

Their family history was peppered with undiagnosed mental illnesses.

Needless to say, the mother didn’t follow up on my referral until a few weeks later when her daughter had a psychotic episode that truly scared the mother. It was then she came back and thanked me for recognizing this when I did.

And then last week, I had a girl come to me extremely tearful. She had old and new self-inflicted cuts up and down her arm. She told me that she was suicidal, tried to walk out into traffic the day before but a friend stopped her. She had thoughts that day of hanging herself or jumping off the third floor of the school building.

I called her dad to have a conference and recommend that she be taking to the nearby psychiatric hospital for her safety. I didn’t need his permission to do that, but I thought it would be better for her.

When her dad showed up he was extremely annoyed, yelled at her for not being able to communicate with him, and said that she wasn’t suffering from depression, she was just “lazy”. He said she was failing school because she slept all the time, didn’t do her homework, didn’t want to be involved with her family and seemed aloof.

The more he described her “laziness” to me, the more he re-affirmed my diagnosis of his daughter being depressed. He argued with me that she was depressed because of her failing grades and being behind in her school work, even though she and I both tried to explain to him that the depression is what caused her to start failing school and get behind in her work in the first place.

He didn’t want to hear or believe that his daughter was depressed and suicidal. He said that it was a cry for attention, and it very well may be, but as a mental health professional, my job is the evaluate the situation and keep my client from hurting themselves or other people. I had her involuntarily hospitalized to a mental health facility for her safety. Her dad left with angry, probably thinking we were wasting his time, but I’d prefer him to be angry with me for being overly concerned than to be mad at me for not trying hard enough to prevent her suicide.

Even just recently I have been working with a girl suffering from severe depression and suicidal thoughts. She confessed to me that she had attempted suicide last weekend by taking 18 sleeping pills and was disappointed that it didn’t work. I convinced her to allow me to call her father so that I could recommend psychiatric help, possibly hospitalization. The first thing her father said to me over the phone was, “No, I don’t believe it. We are Christians, we don’t do things like that.”

It took me while to convince her father to actually come into my office so him and I can sit down and talk with his daughter, and even then it took nearly the whole session before he started to accept that his daughter was indeed depressed although he was still in denial about her suicidal thoughts or previous attempt.

Parents can be my biggest allies or worst enemies when it comes to dealing with children and adolescent clients, and their denial of their child’s mental health issues only complicates everything. I see so many kids who can benefit from intense therapy and maybe even medication, but their parents ignore the seriousness of the situation and write it off as defiant behavior, active imagination or they just hope their child will grow out of things such as torturing animals and setting fires. Denial is a defense mechanism and while it’s okay to be skeptical, being in denial is almost always unhealthy in the long run.