I hate talking to my parents

When I was in school I never had any problems with my studies and was always successful. But after joining the college, things have changed. I get angry easily and dislike talking with my parents. I can’t concentrate on my studies, either.
Rishi (17)

Dear Rishi,

Looks like life has changed one-eighty degrees between school and college. You’re feeling quite out of control, and anger and irritability are often the ways we use in order to cope with this. Teenage is the time of turbulence: with hormonal and physical changes, it is the time to find your own identity as a person. Parental instructions seem like nagging, and we feel misunderstood by them. When angry it is difficult to focus on your studies because your emotions are high, and your attention is elsewhere.

To manage your emotions, use the Aware-Acknowledge-Allow technique.

Awareness: Ask yourself ‘What am I feeling now?’ Hurt? Frustrated? ‘What is happening in my body?’ Do I have a tight jaw? A headache? Any other sensation? Simply observe this.

Acknowledge and accept the emotion by labelling it. State: I feel angry/frustrated. It is okay to feel what you feel, but it is not always okay to act on it. For example, it is okay to feel angry, but not okay to act violently.

Allow the feeling to flow. You can express it (by crying, growling, breathing, etc.) or channel it creatively (Expression | Exercise | Sport | Music | Dance | Art | Journaling, Breathing) in any way that makes you feel good, as long as it doesn’t harm you or others.

In addition, focus on the career you wish to pursue, and accordingly set a routine for your studies. Pursue one serious hobby. Reach out to your parents as people rather than just parents — get to know them, find out what you have in common. Offer to help your mother in household works. Help them with something they need to learn. You will slowly find your relationship changing. Go ahead… you can do it!

Nasreen Hashambhoy
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Nasreen Hashambhoy

Nasreen Hashambhoy is a Counsellor, Life Coach and a Facilitator of training programmes for schools and corporates. Through a combination of coaching, counselling and facilitation techniques based on cognitive science and positive psychology, she helps clients achieve their true potential. She is the author of the series Values In Action published by Better Yourself Books.