Aug 6, 2012

My Parents Avoid Me

Category: Teens
Posted By: Lexi

Question: Sometimes my mother lies to get away from me.  We are a fairly wealthy family, yet they both seem to have to spend every waking minute at their jobs. And when they are not at work they are either in separate rooms asking not to be disturbed, or blowing up at each other. I am alone at home doing work of my own from 7 am until 9 pm, and I am only 14. I know most kids should like that but to me it feels like I have no family in the world and the family I do have does anything they can to get away from me. The only words I hear from them are ‘did you do your chores today?’ I cry myself to sleep almost every night. I need help please?  Lexi

Answer: Oh Lexi, I am so sorry that you are unhappy, and I can see why you are.  It’s not at all true that most teens would like to be left alone all day.  Many 14 year olds may think they would, but only because they know that they have the safety of a close family when they want it.  Of course you would like your parents to be more involved and take more time to be with you, it sounds very lonely to be on your own so much.

One thing to bear in mind is that perhaps it is not you that they are trying to get away from.  From what you say, they don’t seem to have an easy relationship with each other, perhaps it is time together that they are trying to avoid by working so much?  Also, it is true that working can become an addictive thing to do, making more money, being somewhere where you are in control and in charge, rather than dealing with the difficult and less certain relationships within the family.  I know that doesn’t excuse it at all, but it may help to understand what is going on a little.

You only really have one option for dealing with the situation and that is to let your parents know how isolated you are and how much you need them to be more involved parents.  You can do this in a number of ways.  If you felt that you would be able to communicate clearly and that your parents would listen, then you could just ask to sit down with them both and talk to them.  That’s not always easy to do though so especially in a family that isn’t used to communicating regularly.  If facing your parents is difficult then the other option that you have is to write everything you want to say in a letter and give it to your parents.

However, if you think that your Mum and Dad aren’t likely to listen to your point of view if it just comes from you, then I would suggest that you tell them that you want to see a family therapist with them.  As money doesn’t seem to be a difficulty then this might be a good way to make sure that you are heard.  A family therapist would be able to help everyone in the family to get their point of view across and help the other members of the family to understand that point of view.  If you need help in persuading them of this then you could talk to other family members or parents of friends and ask them to help you to open up communication with your parents.

Obviously I do not know your family, but in most similar cases it is not that the parents don’t care or are actively avoiding their child, but that they are very caught up in other areas of their lives and are not aware how bad things have become.

If all this fails then I would suggest that you ask friends back to the house with you to keep you company and start to build your own ‘peer family’.  However, in doing this I suggest you pick your friends very carefully, in your situation it is very easy to pick the wrong friends and end up in a very difficult place without the support or supervision that you need.  Pick friends that are able to be balanced and supportive and who can invite you to their houses where you can experience more included family life.

I really wish you luck with getting your parents to listen.  Of course you have a right to more family time and to more input from your parents.  Try not to feel too isolated, many teenagers have enormous difficulties with their parents, you are not alone.

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