Friday, December 30, 2011

The Talk Part II

CSU San Bernadino
It may feel your parents want to direct all aspects of your life.  Some parents are so controlling, that the adult child is not allowed to develop.  At this point you may be saying, “Yeah that’s my parents, they will never let go.”  This can be really frustrating, but I invite you to think of it another way.   You do want your parents to help you through this next phase of life, because if you were to come out from under that umbrella of protection you may find the world to be one mean dude. 

It doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition where either your parents control all aspects of your life, or they are completely cut off.  As an adult, you have the opportunity to shape the tone of the relationship between you and your parents.  Here’s a hard truth.  In some ways your thinking is still childish, you still miss things.  This is a normal part of being a young adult, so it is wise to have very experienced people who have your back.  When you have one of those “kid moments” it can be really depressing and you can really beat yourself up, but the cool part is that you ARE getting more competent. 

Remember the impulsivity of your early teens?  Your passions seemed to rule you and it got you in a lot of trouble.  Well, you are better at that now aren’t you, but if you look critically, you can see that even now there are moments you just don’t have it all together.  You don’t have to fake it that you do, because you don’t.  Knowing when to seek advice is a real indicator of growing maturity (Proverbs 19:20).  I have sought advice from a lot of people to bring this book to you.  Very little of what I’m telling you is new information, I am standing on the shoulders of other people’s wise advice and research.

There needs to be a negotiation between you and your parents.  This talk should be a series of conversations to figure out the roles and responsibilities of each party as you move into this new phase of life.  I have included a sample set of things to discuss, but you will need to adjust this to your situation.  This will be a difficult topic to discuss, so be ready to work at this.  If you have a good relationship with your parents where you can tackle difficult conversations you are halfway there!  If your family avoids conflict at any cost, this topic will be extra hard but not impossible.  You may need to keep coming back to the topic as you get derailed.  If you have fought a lot and that is the end result of most of your conversations, you will need to do some work on the relationship. 

Are you a whiner?  Do you throw a tantrum when you don’t get your way? Do you make a lot of promises or swear to show that you really mean it. If so, then you will need to learn to state your position in a less dramatic way, or you won’t achieve much in these negotiations (Matthew 5:36-38).  You will need to work at this, because the stakes are high.  The most important thing is to preserve the relationship.   You will need to decide many things and you will often disagree.  There needs to be a plan for how to do this.   When conditions change, you may need to go back and renegotiate your agreements. Just remember, it is wrong to expect total freedom.

You will need to delicately explain your needs and expect some freedom, but you should defer to your parents wishes when there is a disagreement.  If you are in a current state of open rebellion, partying and out of control, you will probably lose support very soon, but I think most people reading this are rational and fairly self-controlled.  The problem is that momentary losses of rationality can have huge implications for your future, so your parents probably know your limits and what boundaries are appropriate for you.