Parents can be very odd creatures that pervade our lives even as we leave the proverbial nest. Having been a dad for almost 9 years now and a son for 29 years and counting, the perspective that I can give you span seeing reality both in the eyes of a father and a person who was also once a teenager.
This guide is not a brat’s guide for getting anything that you want, but one for the smart teenager who’ll finally realize that being in a family is pretty much the microcosm of being in a society.
- Believe it or not, parents are fun creatures too. Yes you can have fun, but figure out what the definition of “fun” is for your mom and dad. The thing is, there’s this thing called life and it sort of grows on you. As parents grow older, their definition of “fun” also changes. For geeks like me, fun used to be about playing computer games all day long and occasionally going out with friends. As time went by and as I had kids, it became about making money and having a quiet weekend. By knowing the definition of fun according to your parents’ definition, you just might be able to secure that ever coveted sign of approval or at the very least, the keys to the family car. Remember, what may be fun for you, may be dangerous for your parents.
- Good times bad times. Timing is everything. I worked in my father’s firm who was a lawyer for a year and one thing I’ve learned from my workmates was that there was a specific time of the day when securing an approval was more likely. For my dad, it was after lunch. Never ever submit a proposal to him before lunch. In a home setting, try to intuit the best time when your parents seem to be in a joyful and giving mood. No matter how much you smile or try to appeal to their good sides, if you catch them at a very bad time, you might as well be asking permission from a brick wall.
- Make sure that everything is done. You know what I’m talking about right? Chores and school things. Moms are very particular with this and if you think you can get what you want if the house is messy and if you haven’t done your homework yet, then you’re just wrong. Promising to do it later will just fall on deaf ears. If you want to hang out with friends, then make sure that you did your homework and chores before everything else. If they see the house and your room nice and tidy and ask you whether you did your homework and you show it to them, you might even get some extra dough to spend.
- It’s all about “patterns”. For those of you who have parents that seem to be like brick walls, try to observe their patterns. This is going to be tricky because parents often don’t realize it themselves. We’re talking about patterns of behavior. Let’s say that you notice that your dad is irritable and your mom is quietly doing household stuff. He doesn’t speak to her like he normally does and just keeps quiet. On the table, instead of asking her to pass him the salt he asks you even though the salt is near your mom and you are farther away from it. Chances are, they’re having a quiet spat. There’s nothing you could really do about this except wait it out until the time is right. The same goes for many other seemingly inexplicable and weird patterns. Just wait it out.
- Understand what they want. I’m pretty sure that this is very hard to do. Like I said in the beginning of this article, parents are weird creatures – who knows what they want right? That’s why it’s going to take a little more skill in doing this. For starters, most parents want their children to be better than the other kids and complain when their child does not excel as the others. It’s going to be difficult specially if your parents think that you should be the next Einstein when you think that you’d rather be Snoop Dogg. Compromise is a word that you’re going to find handy. Although it might be difficult to make Snoop Dogg and Einstein sit on the same table, it’s really up to you to make them sit.
Parents can and will continue to exert their influence over you until such time when you can make it out on your own. This is unavoidable yet a part of everybody’s lives. The most important thing to remember is that no parent would ever want to give their kids something that they think is bad for them.
Despite our limitations and failings, we all just want you to have something better. A wise man I’ve come to know once told me that, “Every parent wishes that their kids would be somehow better than them in every aspect. Children after all, are supposed to be the next evolutionary step in the genetic pool.”
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