Adolescents – Surviving Your Parents


What is it like being a teenager?


Lets face it, being a teenager can be really difficult sometimes; you have a lot to juggle and learn and – there are always so many changes going on not only inside you, but all around you!!


Even though one of your main aims is to probably have fun, you can find yourself feeling at times very frustrated, upset, confused, sad, lonely and possibly so angry you just want to slam that door or would love to just run away and disappear …. It might feel like it is all too much at times and that you have no-one to talk to, and that your parents just don’t understand you anymore. Experiencing these feelings can at times feel over whelming, and on top of growing up, you have your parents to deal with. Dealing with difficult parents basically just feels horrible!!


At the best of times therefore, you might find yourself not understanding why your parents seem to go from one extreme to the next – like one minute you can understand one another, then at other times it might seem like they are complete aliens and you look at them and ask yourself - Are you seriously my parents??!!!



Unfortunately, some of the time, or a lot of the time or maybe all of the time you might feel like you don’t belong in your family and, depending on how things are going in your household, you might find yourself not understanding or even liking your parents – it just seems so confusing at times.  It can also feel like they just invade your space and just seem to ask a lot of questions of you, and or make a lot of statements that can drive you crazy. Sometimes, it may sound like it is never ending, for example some of the questions may sound a little like?


Where you are going?       What are you doing?    Who are you with?         What time should you be back?  Why did you go there?         How did you get there?    Who took you?               Why do you want to go there?     What is it about these people/friends that you like   Why did you do that?     What were you thinking?  How could you do that?         Did you hear me?


And they may make really annoying statements like:

I didn’t do that at your age!                                                                              When I was your age I ….

Did you know that …?                                                                                       I wouldn’t do that because ….

What is so difficult about ….                                                                              Just do it!!


With everything going on in your life, it can feel like talking to your parents just seems absolutely impossible, and sometimes getting to understand each other might feel like it will never happen. To top it all, avoiding conflict seems even more impossible. Yes it is true, probably a lot has changed in your life – and one of them might be how you used to be able to speak to your parents. I hate to tell you, but one of the most important things you will learn in your life is how to approach people so that you can talk to them. So some of the questions you might be asking yourself might be:


When should I do that? How should I do that? How can I learn this? Where do I start?

Well when communicating with your parents always remember:



That you can only ever really be in control of You!!!!!!!! So remember you are and can remain in control of ..

  • What you say

  • When you say it

  • What you do when you say it

  • How you say it

  • How you approach the subject or topic you want to discuss

  • What words you actually use

  • What tone you use

  • How much you actually say

  • How you start the conversation and end the conversation …


Learning the Art of Communication is vital to everyone understanding each other and moving forward, but that can often mean that you often have to move forward in such a way that provides some of what your parents want and some of what you want. Please also understand that communication ‘styles’ is something you Learn and not something that you are automatically born with … so go easy on yourself… you will continue to learn in this area, but taking the first step is very important …


So – of course, like with everything in life.. everything depends on ‘your’ type of situation, so perhaps some of these things will help and some of them won’t – but I would suggest possibly some of the following:

  • Never try to talk to your parents them when you are tired because it is difficult to control negative emotions when you someone is tired.

  • Never talk to your parents when you or they are angry.

  • Don’t talk to your parents when they are busy – so choose your time carefully.

  • Perhaps tell them you would like to speak with them and ask them what time would suit them, that way your already sound a little mature and that you are thinking about how to accommodate them.

  • Try to work out the points you would like to talk about before you speak to them

  • Perhaps have your points written down, or at least clear in your mind.

  • However, I would suggest you prioritise what you want to talk about – don’t try to talk about everything at once especially if you think it might be something that you think will upset them or yourself

  • Think ahead about some of the things your parents will ask you … therefore read up above about some of the questions your parents ask and PREPARE – have the answers – or at least some of them… because you want to sound like you know what you are doing, for example if you are going somewhere; perhaps know something about who you are going with, where you are going, etc or why you feel a particular way, why you think it will benefit you, etc.

  • Practice speaking ‘respectively’ – people are more prepared to listen when you don’t use an aggressive tone or use words that hurt them or make them angry.

  • Think about an exit strategy – For example when you begin to feel upset, perhaps say to yourself – I will say …. ‘Can we talk again tomorrow?’


These are just a few brief tips on how to communicate, and please be gentle with yourself – The art of communication is a very big topic but it can be learned… and you can start anywhere. Sometimes the smallest change you make can make all the difference in the world.


However, if there is just too much conflict in your family and you are really finding it hard to cope, or are interested on how to learn more so that you can learn how to speak effectively to many areas of your life, please feel free to contact Michelle Barratt or if you need immediate – in the moment support please contact Kids Helpline on 1800 555 1800 or contact Beyond Blue.


However, if you would like to talk to me or require some outside perspective, and or would like to learn more about effective communication, please make an appointment online or send me an email to contact you - or speak with one of my friendly staff at Toowong, or if I am not at Cannon Hill - leave a message. 


Author: Michelle Barratt

           Brisbane Clinical Psychologist


35 Wondall Road


Qld 4178

Tel: 0401 924 331 

Fax:  (07) 3009 0553


Suite 37, Level 1 Benson House,

No. 2 Benson Street, TOOWONG,

Qld 4066.

Tel: 0411 731 516

Fax: (07) 3009 0075


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Michelle Barratt is a Fellow of the Clinical College at the Australian Psychological Society.