They want to make your lives miserable and tell you what to do. Right? That’s what it seems like at times, I’m sure. What if I could give you some tips to get along better with your parents and teachers? These tips will help you not only get along with them better, but help them actually see your side of things. Give these a try and see what happens!
It’s easy to think of teachers and parents as people who “have their lives together,” or people you know so well that you have no need to cut them slack.
Unfortunately, many adult authority figures give the impression of perfection, when a better impression would be to show that they are humans with flaws. However, you can’t control that; you can control how you interact with others, which is the point of this article.
I can promise you that parents and teachers have their own problems, very similar to yours. They have relationship problems, a lack of good friends, substance abuse problems, mental health disorders, and much more. Divorce, job lay-offs, alcohol and drug abuse, depression, etc., affect adults as well as teens. Your parents may be angry, controlling, and overreact at times, because that is how their friends, spouses, and bosses treat them.
Like all humans, teachers and parents could use a little understanding and empathy because their lives are probably just as messed up as yours. If you give understanding to them, they’ll be more likely to give it back to you.
Don’t Judge Or Use Exaggerated Language
We tend to use judgmental language when dealing with others. This is language that accuses and labels. For example, “you’re so stupid!” “you’re a jerk!” and “you’re a loser!” are examples of judgmental language. We also like to exaggerate when we are in “the heat of the moment,” using phrases like “You never let me do anything!” and “I knew you’d react this way!”
Imagine these phrases were used against you. In fact, maybe your parents or teachers even talk to you like this. How do you react? You likely get angry and defensive. You close down and fire back the same type of phrases. Nothing gets accomplished except screaming and an escalation of the anger and misunderstanding.
So, you’ve seen that this language only creates defensiveness and hostility, and that isn’t going to help you get along with anybody, or help others see your point of view. So, if you want your parents and teachers to see your side, stop using judgmental and exaggerated language and…
Instead, Accurately Observe and Explain How You Feel
Instead of judging, first, accurately observe the situation. Let’s say you call your dad a “pathetic dad,” which rightly gets him upset and defensive. Instead of judging, observe what is actually happening, and explain that, and how it makes you feel.
Maybe your dad didn’t come to your track meet like he said he would. So say that. “Dad, it hurt me when you said you’d come to my meet and didn’t.” Notice the difference between that and calling your dad “pathetic.”
This is called non-violent communication and has been shown to be an effective way to connect with others, and to get people to hear your side in a conversation, since screaming and name-calling don’t work.
Below I have taken the phrases I listed above and turned language of judgment and exaggeration and turned them into more accurate, observational language, with expressions of emotion.
You’re so stupid! -> I get upset and frustrated when I prepared for this test and the questions didn’t match up with what I studied.
You’re a jerk! -> You asked me to stay in and do homework when I had a date planned. I’m just frustrated because I don’t want to let my date down.
You’re a loser -> It upsets me that you don’t let me go out on the weekends, even after you said I could if I gave you advance notice.
You never let me do anything -> I get frustrated when I have free time, but you insist I stay inside. I really want to see my friends.
I knew you’d react this way -> It makes me mad when I make a request and it seems like you base your reaction on the past, rather than evaluating it on the current situation.
You’ll notice the language of judgement and exaggeration is negative and encourages defensiveness. The changed versions are more calm, rational, and more likely to get heard.
It may take some practice, but these three tips will help you get along better with parents and teachers, and anybody really. And, if you’re a parent or teacher reading this, you can use these tips to communicate better with your child and students!