How hard is it to discuss a trip plan with my mom? You don’t want to know. When I was preparing to take the SAT test, some of my friends and I hoped we could fly to Hong Kong together. Therefore our parents could save their time and we could have some freedom as well. I thought about the plan seriously and thoroughly before I came to discuss it with my mom, but I was still anxious. I knew it would not have a happy ending. I picked one day, when everything was going well. My mom appeared to be in a good mood.Order now
I washed some fruits and took them to my mom’s room, sat on the sofa next to her, and said, “Mom, some of my friends plan to go to HK with me to take the SAT test. We can book the flight and the hotel together. I think it is convenient and economic for us. Can I go with them? “, I asked with trepidation. She replied almost without thinking, “No, you cannot go there by yourself. It is dangerous. Moreover, the SAT test is so important that we cannot take any risks. Have you considered the accidents and the worst-case scenario? What if you lose your luggage in the airport? What if some bad guy molests you?
What if you miss your admission ticket or your passport? What if you can’t fall asleep the night before the exam? All the time, she found me still her little girl, needing her protection and concern. But she didn’t realize that I was already 16, although not an adult, I still need some independence and respect. Deep in my heart, I knew she meant for my own well being, but I felt hurt and upset by her distrust and overprotection. Stepping into the parent’s shoes, I could understand her concern and love, which I would also show to my kids in the future. I also knew that it could hurt her feelings if I did not obey her.
However, I didn’t want to be an ordinary good girl. I wanted to become a strong independent young woman. That’s why I didn’t compromise and decided to fight for my independence in this matter. I think if my mom had admitted that I had grown up and considered my suggestions seriously instead of rejecting them without thinking, I would have been more open to her concerns and advices. I was a little unhappy due to her objection and argued, “I am not going to HK by myself; I am going there with my friends. They have experience of going to HK and we can take care of each other.
I think it is a good way to train my independence and develop relationship with my friends who are also to American colleges. I tried to clarify my intention in this conversation and pursue her by reasonable argument. I admit that I was defensive because I already assumed her intention were to reject me, as she usually did. My defense made her more defensive and angry. She wanted to show her authority over me but I resisted. Such a vicious circle kept happening between my mom and I. She was too obstinate to admit her fault, while I knew that I was too weak to make qualitative changes.
But I didn’t give up. My strategy was to just influence her gradually and “help” her realize that I had grown up. She became impatient and annoyed, as if I was acting against her on purpose. She said, “No way. I will work on my schedule and accompany you to HK. The test is the most important right now. You can develop relationship with your friends in other normal ways, such as studying together, not playing together. I was infuriated and felt humiliated by her authority and assert. “Didn’t I know that the SAT test is crucial for my college application,” I thought.
But I valued my independence and being treated respectfully, even in excess of the score of a test. Also how could she be so confident to tell me how to get along with my peers? I knew that she could not understand my self-esteem, because that was what she lacked in her growing-up experience. But I didn’t want to and didn’t dare to speak up my thoughts at that time. She was too powerful and would show no respect and understanding for it, only sneering. I think by me trying to avoid the strong feelings in my heart which led to burst into the conversation.
I turned out to be annoyed and said, “You even don’t understand our plan! You just object my suggestion without taking it seriously! Studying together? You have no idea how to get along with my peers now. It is all in your imagination! She said, “You are still a kid. Look how naive you are! You have no idea how dangerous and complicated the society is! What if you get hurt? Don’t you feel afraid of that? I have been your age. ” Of course I understand there are dangers in the world. I didn’t want to get hurt either. But I couldn’t live in their shadow forever.
I think I was old enough to be independent and trained to face the real world. If there is a risk, I would like to take it. But I didn’t want to admit it and let her prevail, because I would not compromise. So I tried to avoid the discussion about danger, and focused on why she must reject all my ideas. I know it is kind of choplogic, but I just want to fight for my valuable “equal rights. ” Finally she got angry. She said, “You are just a junior. How could you argue with me like that? Can’t you say to me peacefully and politely? I argued, “I am a junior, so what?
Shouldn’t we listen to the one with the most reasonable idea, not the one with the oldest age? Since the conversation is so unequal, how could I express my idea peacefully and politely? You just oppress me with your authority! I can’t pretend to be happy when I am angry. At most, I could speak without tones. Then I began to talk with her tonelessly, like a robot, I guess. It was comical; I tried my best not to laugh. My coldness irritated my mom finally. The conversation ended up with embarrassments. Neither of us were satisfied. I was sad because my voice was not heard effectively again.
My mom was angry because she found it grew harder and harder to show absolute control over me and make me obey her words. By reviewing and analyzing the difficult conversation between my mom and me, I fall into a bias. I keep thinking my mom should share most of the blame for the difficulty, because she is the dominant part and I am like a sheep or a victim. However, after reading the Difficult Conversation by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, I realized that we both have contributed to the unpleasant conversation (Stone, Patton, Heen, Ch. 4).
First, I have to admit that my assumption that my mom would reject my plan made me defensive. Although my assumption was based on the longstanding experience communicating with her and I could not pretend I did not have an assumption, I should have listened to her intentions first (Stone, Patton, Heen, Ch. 3). Second, I think she was not aware of the importance of respecting me and treating me equally in the conversation. She repeated claiming that I am just a kid, which made me unsatisfied in the identity conversation. However, I also contributed to the dilemma.
I thought I was mature enough and fought for independence with parents, as every teenager did. However, I did not know it was not how independent you said you were. If I could discuss my plan with my mom and make her more confident of me, instead of just arguing for independence, we could have communicated more effectively and politely. What more, we did not listen to each other’s stories or think about each other’s perspective (Stone, Patton, Heen, Ch. 2). My mom was not clear of what happened. She assumed that my suggestions were just meaningless jokes of kids and refused to discuss my plan throughout the conversation.
This behavior not only disrespected me and hurt my feelings, but also prevented her from communicating with me and understanding what happened. However, I did not understand my mom comprehensively either. Even though I said that I understood what she did was for my own good, I used my ego as an excuse to not really consider her concerns. But I should have been aware that in her perspective, I am a teenage girl who had no experience of going to HK or leaving parents for more than one day. She loved me so much that she would try her best to protect me, even if she knew if would hurt my feelings.
That is the love and selfishness of every mom in the world, it may have limits, but we cannot blame or try to correct it. So simply fighting for independence could only hurt each of us more without solving the real problem. My mom wanted to see that I am strong and mature enough to take care of myself. If both of us had listened to each other’s stories without judging and neglecting, the conversation could have had less tension and focused on the main problem of “how can I go to Hong Kong safely and whether I am mature enough. As a result, each of us could have been more easily satisfied. Furthermore, we did not deal with the feeling conversation well (Tone, Patton, Heem, Ch. 5).
My mom did not care about my feelings, at least not as much as she cared about my safety. I also did not understand my mom’s worry and concern about me. I should have been aware of her feelings of losing her child and taken care of her emotion. One reason I avoided the feeling conversation was that she, as well as many Chinese traditional parents, could not put herself into her children’s shoes.
She believed in the authority of parents and consisted on her rules and ideas, which made the children feel disrespected. Another reason is she was more emotional than I was. If we got involved in feeling conversation, it would be hard to let it go and discuss the real problem. I think it is important for the parent to encourage their children to express their feelings and respect their feelings. Because little kids are very sensitive, once their emotional appeals are not satisfied, it is easy to result in a barrier of expressing true feelings.
Such barrier between parents and children are easy to build, but hard to break. Finally, I would like to say that it is really hard for the short side, such as the child to improve our conversation without the cooperation of the dominator, such as the parents. However, there are still things to do to make tiny changes. If we keep working on improving the conversation in the family, we will succeed one day and appreciate the every step helps us move forward. But, I would also like to call for the parents to contribute their efforts to the harmonious communication in the family.