Getting Parents To Let You Go Out With Friends
A common complaint from young people is that their parents don’t allow them to go out to socialise. It can be difficult when you see your friends going to the park, or going into town, and you always have to say no.
Do you feel your parents are being unreasonable? And what can you do to convince them to let you go?
Why won’t they let you go out with friends?
Parent’s can be really good at worrying about you! They may have heard about something bad that’s happened to someone else. It can be hard for them not to focus on the bad things and worry that the same thing will happen to you.
They may have seen something in the news about all the trouble that young people can get up to. It can be difficult not to imagine you getting mixed up in something similar. Some parents also struggle to accept that their children are growing up to be young adults.
It’s good to socialise
Whatever their reasoning is, the result is the same, you can’t go out and socialise with your friends. But being able to do this can be very important to someone of your age, for a number of reasons:
- Feeling like you’re a part of something, a sense of belonging
- It can increase your confidence
- Can be comforting as you and your friends are going through similar experiences
- Allowing you to learn things from your friends
- Gaining experience of getting along with people of the opposite sex as friends
- A chance to experiment with different roles, ideas, values and identities
- A chance to form romantic relationships
- Learning important social and emotional skills – sensitivity to other people’s thoughts, feelings and well-being
- Learning how to be fair and how to trust others
- Gaining practical skills such as reading bus timetables, time management or budgeting
How to change your parents’ minds?
So thinking about all the reasons why having this independence is good, how can you change your parents’ minds? It is possible, but it might take some careful planning. Why not try the following suggestions?
Pick the right time
Ask your parents when they have time to talk. Or if you know that they relax on a Sunday afternoon then choose that time to speak to them.
Don’t wait until the last minute to ask them, however scared you are that they’ll say no. Parents like to be organised and prepared, especially if there’s money or lifts involved.
Make sure they’re in a good mood when you decide to ask. If you can sense they are stressed or tired, don’t ask. If you’re already in trouble for something else, don’t ask. A good time to ask would be after you’ve impressed them with your maturity or helpfulness. They may be more inclined to say yes if they see the young adult and not the young child.
Once you’ve asked, don’t bug them for an answer. Be patient. If you annoy them they’re less likely to agree. Give them time to think about your request.
Work with your family’s schedule to the best of your ability. Try and co-ordinate your plans with your parents, not against them. Make it easy for them to say yes. Try not to miss family events in favour of time with your friends all the time.
Be prepared and honest
Be prepared. Have all the details ready – where, when, who, what, even why maybe. The more information you can give them, the happier they are likely to be.
Be honest. If you are caught out lying – and you will at some point – they will struggle to trust you again.
Start small. Ask if you can go to a friend’s house for the afternoon, before moving on to going into town or a night out at the cinema. The more comfortable your parents are with you going out, the more times they will say yes to your requests.
Tell your parents what they want and need to hear. The main reason they want to say no is because they love you and feel you’re safest at home with them. Re-assure them that where you’re going to is safe, the people you’re going with are decent and that you have no intention of doing anything illegal or dangerous. Tell them that you’ll send them a text every hour for the first few times to put their minds at rest. These small things will make it so much easier for your parents and in turn for you.
Keep calm when discussing your plans. Your parents won’t want to let their child who is having a temper tantrum out. They are more likely to be convinced by their mature young adult. Don’t spoil it for yourself by making demands, threats or losing your temper if at first you don’t get the answer you want.
Accept defeat and be proactive
As hard as it is sometimes you might have to accept defeat this time in order to win next time. Even if your parents say no you can still benefit by reacting in a mature way. Thank them for listening to you and don’t get angry or yell at them. Remember, mature young adult and not temper tantrum toddler! Your mature reaction should impress them and they might either change their mind or say yes next time you ask.
If there were conditions to you going (tidying your bedroom/doing your homework) make sure you do it. Don’t give them a reason to change their mind. You don’t want to spoil it for yourself.
If possible let your parents meet the friend’s you want to go out with or speak to the adults whose home you might be staying over at. Hopefully that will help to put their mind at rest.
Be appreciative and understanding
Show your appreciation. Thank your parents if they let you go and don’t do anything to let yourself down. If you do get caught doing something you shouldn’t, chances are next time their answer will be no.
If they say no, as hard as it is, try to understand their reasons. Remember not to overreact but don’t give up. Ask them again the next time there is a get together. Use the ‘It’s good to socialise’ list above and tell them why socialising with friends is important. The answer may be different next time.
If you think that your parents are being unfair and want to talk to someone about it, or if there’s anything else worrying 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.