Grab the Meic: Let Me Choose My Own Friends
Ari contacted Grab the Meic wanting help to get his religious mum to let him hang out with friends that are not members of their church. How can he convince his mum without it turning into an argument? Here’s Meic’s advice in this week’s Grab the Meic.
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This article is also available in Welsh – I ddarllen y cynnwys yma yn Gymraeg – clicia yma
My mum is super religious and she never lets me go out with friends who aren’t from our church, but I hate the kids there. They’re so boring and I’ve never liked any of them because all they talk about is church, and I don’t care!
My mum hasn’t let me go out for about 3 years now. I stopped being interested in her religion and she can’t understand. But the way that she is about everything is the reason I’ve stopped being interested. She just won’t let me hang out with my real friends. I don’t know how to convince her that they aren’t a problem.
Ari (*name changed to protect their identity)
It sounds like you’re going through a very difficult time with your mum at the moment. I’m really sorry to hear that she doesn’t let you go out with friends that are not from your church. It must be very lonely for you being stuck indoors and not being able to enjoy socialising with your friends.
A different view
It’s natural for you to feel frustrated and disappointed with what’s happening. It’s also good that you’ve reached out for advice on persuading your mother that going out with friends from outside church would make you happier.
It might help to look at where your mum’s coming from. Perhaps she feels that she’s protecting you by stopping you going out with other friends. She might think that it will help you to embrace the church’s way of living. Maybe it doesn’t seem fair to you, but trying to understand why someone is doing something can help sometimes. This will make it easier to find a possible solution that you’re both happy with.
These steps may help you to come up with a solution that you’re both happy with:
– Talk to your mum
Maybe you’ve already tried this but it just ends up in an argument. Have you considered the best way to bring it up? You should try not to think about it as starting an argument. Think about the things you want to say so that you can explain what you would like to happen clearly. You could even practice what you’re going to say beforehand, and try to talk in a kind but assertive way. Talking doesn’t always mean that the other person will change their mind, but it can help you both to understand each other’s needs a little more. You might be able to come to an agreement that might work for both of you.
– Write a letter
If you find that talking doesn’t help at all, then what about writing a letter? This will give you the time to really think about what you would like to say to her. You can make sure that you use kind, clear and assertive sentences. Explain what you want in a rational way, without being interrupted and without loosing your temper and getting into an argument.
– Talk to someone you trust
Do you have an aunt or uncle, a teacher or someone else that you trust to talk about your feelings and emotions with them? It might seem scary to open up to someone to begin with, but in most cases, once you’ve taken that first step, things will become easier. If the idea of starting a conversation about it seems a bit daunting, then you could write down your feelings on paper so you can be clear about what you want to say. They may be able to help you talk to your mum.
If your mum is still not happy to let you go out with your friends after you’ve tried all the steps above, think about what you might do then. Maybe you could ask her if they could come to your house. She will be able to see you mixing happily with your friends outside of church, and this might help her realise that it isn’t such a bad idea after all.
Childline have an article on their website from someone in a similar situation to you. They have some useful tips about how you might talk about your feelings or ways to find a compromise.
Hopefully some of the above advice will help you to explain your feelings and thoughts to your mum in a calm way, and you’ll come up with a solution that you’re both happy with. But if you need to talk or get more advice, then our advisers are happy to help (contact details below).
The Meic Team
If you need to talk to someone about anything that’s bothering you, then call Meic to talk to a friendly advisor.
Meic is an information and advocacy helpline for children and young people aged 0-25 in Wales. We are open 8am to midnight, 7 days a week. You can contact us free on the phone (080880 23456), text message (84001) or online chat.