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7 Tips for Dealing with Parents Over Winter Break

‘Tis the season for holiday cheer, festive parties and family gatherings. All in all, it is a very happy time to be with family… that is until the discussion switches to all of the poor decisions you’ve made while in college. I think we are all familiar with this battle. It usually consists of your parents bringing up something you did (or are doing), then finding the reasons for why you shouldn’t be doing it, then explaining how they know better. If this never ending back and forth with your parents sounds all too familiar to you, here are 7 tips to deal with your parents over winter break and ensure their constant questioning doesn’t ruin your holiday.

1. Understand that they love you.

Understand that your parents are coming from a place of love, and more often than not, they are just afraid of losing the parts of you that they’ve come to know. Knowing that they love you while having these disputes can make some of the harsh words that they may say, less painful.

2. Be firm when explaining yourself.

Having parents know that you are serious about whatever decisions you’ve made makes the ridicule that they might expel less powerful. It is important that they know that you are your own person. Be assertive, especially when advocating for yourself.

3. Remind them that it’s your life, not theirs.

Lead with the fact that it is your life and as long as you are not doing anything that is life threatening, their input is not called for.

4. Explain that you have to make mistakes to learn from them.

If the “it’s my life” argument doesn’t work, which in most cases it won’t, try explaining that whatever choices you’re making right now, might not be the same choices you make in your adulthood. This would be a great time to remember any embarrassing stories that you’ve heard about them. Then bring it full circle by stating that those mistakes were just learning opportunities – just like how you are constantly learning from your current choices.

5. Whatever you do, DON’T YELL!

Do your best not to yell while interacting with them, trust me it never, ever works. Even if you don’t mean for your argument to sound rude, if you’re raising your voice, it probably will. What works better than yelling is finding holes in their argument. Discrediting them will have them wondering why it is that they took the standpoint that they did, and will leave you with a small victory. It’ll probably be a really small one, but a victory nonetheless.

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6. Let them know your happiness is important.

In the simplest of terms, self-love and care is far greater than parental approval. If you are able to make a decision for yourself that makes you happy, then more often than not, pleasing your parents will make you more miserable than dissenting them. I can’t speak for many parents, but based on my upbringing, if my mom saw that I was doing something she didn’t care for, but made me happy, she would more or less come around. I’m tattoo free so far though, so I guess I’ll just keep testing her limits.

7. Agree to disagree.

College is the time to jumpstart individual growth and when most start forming relevant parts of their identity and views on the world. With those views, you learn to accept that others may not see things in the same way that you do. Let them know that it is okay for them to disagree with you, but that in the end, it is going to have to be your choice.


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Lyndon Enow

Lyndon is a college third year. During his free time, he enjoys discovering new TV Shows and watching interviews. Food and music are two of his rotating passions.

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