Q&A July 06, 2019 - Clarity, Parent Child Relationships, Communication

Hey, welcome and peace to you (assalaamu alaykum), 

This post is the Q&A for July 6, 2019. If you have any questions to send please email me at [email protected] and we will do our best to respond. Sometimes we will take a few questions and put them together into one so you might not see your exact question here but you will get the idea of questions. 

Question - I keep hearing people tell “find out what you want and then go get it.” Except it’s so difficult to gain clarity and what I want. Also, being a Bangladeshi woman which means in our community you put everyone before you and if you don’t then you weren’t raised right. How do I actually rise above all of this and communicate my needs and wants to my parents? 

Answer -  This is 2 questions in 1, so I will break it down. 

How to find clarity on what you want. 

This is a HUGE question and I am actually developing a whole course on it because it is so important, and difficult. I often see people spend a lot of time working on things that they don’t really want to do because they have no clarity. In terms of getting clarity on what you ‘want and then go get it’ it is not straightforward, and what you want now may not be what you want tomorrow because you will have changed and the world will have changed. So don’t focus too much on tomorrow and what you are missing out, rather focus on today. 

Here are my top tips on how find out what you want. 

  • List all the things you don’t want. As simple as it sounds, often writing a list of the things you don’t want will help you know what you do want. 
  • Ask yourself what kind of life you want. Asking the right questions will help significantly with this. Examples are:
    • “How much free time do you want?”
    • “What do you want to spend your life doing?”
    • “Who do you want to spend time with?”
    • “What do you want to do for fun?”
    • “How do you want to spend your money?”
  • Just answering the questions above will help you know a little bit more about what you want. 
  • Curate your day. Ask yourself how do you want to spend your day. What do you want to feel, experience, think. What do you need to do to make that happen. 

The above process will help you with any area of your life from your relationship with God to your relationship with money. It is a very powerful tool. 

How to communicate your needs to your parents. 

The first thing to remember is that despite what you may think your parents love you and want what is best for you. Even when they are annoyed, they do want what is best. Most of the time when there is a communication breakdown it happens because either the parent or child is not being effective in their communication (and please note… that here the parent and child could be 80 and 60 respectively, or 45 and 15; one thing is for sure that parents will always want to parent!). 

Plan the conversation. 

Know what you want to say and why. Think about the questions that your parents will ask and prepare a measured response. 

What you could achieve can vary. You'll probably want the adults in your life to do one or more of these things:

  • simply listen and understand what you're going through without offering advice or commentary
  • give permission or support for something
  • offer you advice or help
  • guide you back on track if you're in trouble — in a way that's fair and without harsh criticism or put-downs

Prepare before the conversation.

So you can seek the support of your parents or the adult you are trying to speak to. E.g. 

  • "Mum, I need to tell you about a challenge I'm having, but I need you to just listen, OK? Don't give me advice — I just want you to know what's bothering me. And then I will listen to your advice but please don’t ask me questions in the middle. Is that ok? I need your help which is why I am saying it like this. Please?"
  • "Dad, I need to get your permission to go on a class trip next week. Can I tell you more about it? Can you listen to me please and then ask questions?"

Top tips for when you are speaking to your parents --

Be clear and direct. 

  • Be as clear as is needed about what you think, feel, and want. 
  • Give appropriate details that can help parents understand your situation. 
  • They can listen better or be more helpful if they understand what you mean and what's really going on.

Be honest. 

  • If you are always honest, a parent will be likely to believe what you say. 
  • If you hide the truth or add too much drama, your parents will have a harder time believing what you tell them.
  • If you lie, they'll find it hard to trust you.

Try to understand their point of view. 

  • If you have a disagreement, can you see your parents' side? If you can, say so. This in itself is very powerful in showing your parents you are mature and smart.
  • Telling parents you understand their views and feelings helps them be willing to see yours, too.

Try not to moan or argue. 

  • Using a tone that's friendly and respectful makes it more likely parents will listen and take what you say seriously. 
  • If you think your emotions might get the better of you, do something to calm down before talking: Go for a run. Cry. Make wudu.
  • Do whatever it takes to sound calm when you need to.

If you have any advice to share to help answer the questions please comment below. And if you think that these answers might help someone in your circle, please share! 

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