Talking to your parents about issues related to reproduction or your body can be embarrassing or uncomfortable, but your parents can actually be a great source of information for you. They can also be your advocates as you navigate through the healthcare system and ensure that your questions are answered and needs are met. Follow the guidelines below to help the conversation run more smoothly.
1. Find a Good Time
Try not to bring up a sensitive conversation at a family function or while your parents are busy doing something else. Pick a time where you have time to talk and won’t be distracted. This is a really important because your parents probably won’t be able to give you their full attention and understanding if they are involved in another project or are in a rush to get something else done.
2. Have Clear Goals
You don’t need to go into the conversation with a defined goal sheet and a list of topics to cover, but having an idea of what you want to talk about and what your goals are is important. Do you just want to vent? Do you want to change medications? Do you have questions for the doctor that you need answered?
Do you have a possible solution in mind? Bring that up as well, and don’t be afraid to get specific. Mention that you’d like to get a second opinion or that you are having side effects from the medication and would like to change drugs. The more specific you are about what you need, the more likely it will be that you get what you want.
Really listen to what your parents have to say and try to resist the urge to prove that they are wrong. Believe it or not, your parents probably have your best interests at heart even if it doesn’t seem that way. If you disagree with what they are saying, try to really hear what their point is and ask for clarification if you don’t understand. Stay calm and talk to them like an adult; they’ll be much more likely to take you and your point seriously if you don’t overreact and start a fight.
4. Keep an Open Mind
This goes with listening to what your parents have to say, but keep in mind that they may have a suggestion that you haven’t thought of yet. They may be able to answer your questions directly or point you in the right direction.
5. Know When to End the Conversation
If you feel like the conversation isn't productive or is starting to get tense, take a break and revisit the conversation another day. Try and understand what happened and why the tension/fighting happened - do your parents feel uncomfortable with you taking birth control pills? Is the medication you want to take not covered by insurance or really expensive? Try and see her point of view and come up with alternative solutions. Your parents will probably appreciate that you are hearing their concerns.
If all else fails, consider talking to someone else like a guidance counselor, aunt or cousin.