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Here’s How to Convince Your Parents to Let You Do Something

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The next time you want to go to a concert, a party, or a road trip that your parents don’t want you to go on, make sure you don’t whine or cry or throw a hissy fit. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve seen my friends complain that they aren’t getting their way, only to see them interact with their parents and understand completely. If you want to be treated like an adult, you have to act like an adult. Here’s how to convince your parents to let you do just about anything.

Be good

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This one should be a no-brainer. Be good! Especially in the week leading up to asking for what you want, but honestly, just try and be pretty good all the time. Pick your battles. Do the small annoying stuff like putting your cereal bowl in the dishwasher before breakfast and picking up your shoes right when your mom asks. Go with your parents to the grocery store. You should probably do these things just to be a good person anyway, but at the very least, do them in your own self-interest. Good kids are a lot more likely to get what they want.

Come up with a convincing reason

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Why do you want to go to this party? You don’t need to come up with a bullsh*t reason like, “I’m surveying human social interactions for my sociology class.” You can give a normal reason, like a group of friends you want to get to know better will be there; or you want to go on a class trip to broaden your horizons and learn about new cultures in a safe environment. Maybe gently remind them that when you go to college, they won’t be able to keep tabs on what you’re doing, so you need to start developing responsible habits while you still live at home. Come up with whatever reason they’ll find most convincing. Most parents want you to be happy and have fun, and they might need some gentle reminding that they had fun when they were young and you should, too.

See it from their perspective

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Try to see your parents’ perspective, and acknowledge it out loud. Say something like, “I understand you’re concerned for my safety” and then come up with a way to assuage that worry. Assure them you’ll call when you get there, you’ll be available by text, or explain why it’s not as dangerous as they think. If you don’t have a way to make the experience less scary for them, this is where being a good kid will kick in. You can remind them what a responsible, well-balanced person you are and assure them that they can trust you. That just might be enough!


Be calm and polite

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NO Whining. No crying. No screaming that they’re ruining your life. Be calm, polite, and rational. It’s very hard to say no to someone when they’re asking for something in a friendly, polite way where they’ve clearly considered your feelings and point of view. This is a good skill to have in life in general.

If you don’t get your way, try again next time

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You might not get what you want every time. If you throw a fit about it, you definitely won’t get your way next time. So stay calm! Express your disappointment, but take it like a champ. Then you’ll be more likely to get what you want the next time you try. (Sidebar – I’m not sure how many people will get this .gif, but if you do, you are cool.)


If all this fails because you have terrible parents who are hell-bent on never letting you have fun, I’m sorry. That totally sucks. But as a person in their 20s, I can assure you that being in your 20s is way better because you don’t have to ask your parents’ permission for anything. Hang in there. Being an adult is the best and it’ll come faster than you think. And learning how to ask for something in a calm, rational way is a good skill to have in any situation, so you should start practicing now. It’s in your own best interest to learn how to control your emotions and get what you want! Do you have any tips I didn’t include? Let me know @erikaheidewald or leave a comment!


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