2021 Jun 1
Have you ever experienced a situation where you bumped into your boyfriend at a public place with your parents around and you had to introduce him to your parents as “just a friend” or “my best friend’s cousin”? Or you had to tell your parents that you’re sleeping over at your bestie’s house when you’re actually dancing away at a party?
Besties, I’ve been there. In some ways, I still am there. It’s not that we like lying to our parents about the things we do, however, sometimes we have no other choice but to. Because our roaring 20’s exist to explore life by ourselves, step into society, experience different things, make memories with our friends, make mistakes and learn from them and be more independent in the decisions that we make in life. Because if not now, then when? And here’s the thing, we know that our parents are overprotective because they love us and they want to make sure that we’re safe, but they also have to know how to draw the line between parenting a child and parenting an adult.
So, as your friendly neighbourhood akka (who’s turning 24 and still has a 10 PM curfew *insert smiling face with tear emoji*), let me tell you a few tricks of the trade that my friends and I have learnt when dealing with conservative parents. Let’s dive right in!
Prep for an intense, heart to heart conversation with your parents
Before you actually have the conversation, you need to prepare yourself to tackle every possible outcome or every possible argument that they might bring to the table. It’s probably going to be as intense as the Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? hot seat, so first thing’s first, you need to know exactly what you’re going to ask for.
For example, if you’re asking for permission to go on a trip alone with your friends, you need to have a mind map about all the possible concerns they might have. Be sure to prepare answers that are like music to their ears, for every question that they can ask. “How are you going?”, “whom are you going with?”, “where will you be staying?”, “for how many nights?” and “who’s driving?” are examples of questions that may come your way. Make sure to go with friends that are responsible, friends who they know and trust, choose a place of stay with a good rating and not somewhere dodgy.
Sit down with them and have ‘the talk’
Before you do so, choose the correct timing – a time of day when they are comfortable and in a good mood. Be soft-spoken and polite when talking to them, and try to avoid being too emotional. Try to avoid using phrases like ‘I think’ or ‘I feel’, be more confident with what you want and try to bring out your points of reasoning in a logical manner. With whatever concerns that they have, reassure them that you know what you’re doing, and show them that you are responsible for yourself.
For example, if they ask you “how did you choose this hotel?” or “how do you know if it’s safe?” your response can be within the lines of “don’t worry, we didn’t choose the hotel only based on the budget. We checked all the reviews from many different travel websites. Plus *insert the name of the responsible friend who they love here* has been there with her family before and said that it’s a safe place. And all the girls will be sharing a big room so I won’t be alone, and we will make sure to double-check if all the doors and windows are locked before we go to sleep.” See what I mean?
Negotiate with them in a respectful way
While you’re having this chat with your parents, if they say “no” to what you’re requesting, it’s important to not back down. You need to show them that you deserve what you’re asking for. So, you can ask them the reason behind their decision and try to counter their reasoning with a logical solution.
For example, if you’re going out for dinner with your friends and you’re requesting to come home later than usual, and if they say “no, because it’s not safe for you to come home alone that late”, you can counter that response with something like “I understand your concern, but I don’t get to go out with my friends often. Would you be more comfortable if one of you can pick me up from the restaurant? Could you please reconsider?” By doing this, you will be indicating to them that you’re happy to meet them halfway and that you know how to find a way to get what you want but also keep them happy.
If permission is granted, do not take it for granted
This may be the most important thing to remember. Once you get what you’re asking for, do not misuse the freedom that they are giving you or take it for granted. For example, if they allow you to go to your friend’s party and come home late, don’t come home later than the time agreed upon and try not to get drunk up to the point where you cannot take care of yourself anymore and thus, fall into situations where you’d get yourself in trouble. This will only make your parents believe that you’re not responsible and mature enough. Set boundaries for yourself and know how to draw the line when it comes to certain circumstances.
And there you have it! I hope this guide helps you in this process of adulting and being independent queens! If my tips ever come in handy, please leave a comment below, I’d love to hear your stories. Until next time!