High school is essentially a series of changes. You begin to grow up, to manage your time in a way that works for you, and to prioritize among all your activities. You make decisions that change the course of your life, including choosing a college or even going to college at all. And for most of that period, your parent(s) are there to guide you and help you make the right decisions. Your parents are there to care for you and mold you into an outstanding human being. They push you in the direction they believe to be best for you.
However, despite their good intentions, the majority of the decisions surrounding college should be largely yours. What you want to major in or the college you want to attend directly affect your life. It is you who will have to live with those decisions. That being said, it can be hard to stand up to pushy parents and tell them that your dreams and aspirations don’t line up with what they had in mind for your future.
Whether it is a high school class, a major, or a college acceptance, there are many key points to keep in mind to politely yet effectively tell your parents you’ve changed your mind.
Telling your parents who’s the boss (at least of your own life)
1. Be Firm
Remember that this is your future. Approach your parents, suggest they sit down, and tell them what is on your mind. Try not to waver. Don’t make it seem like you’re asking for their permission. Keep a conversational tone but speak firmly, as if there is no room for debate.
2. Be Polite
The best way to get the outcome you desire is to be polite. Don’t shout or yell. Don’t call them names or say, “It’s so unfair!” In fact, don’t raise your voice at all. Remember that their feelings might be hurt at first, and that this could be hard for them. Calmly state your case and the reasons why you want to make a change. Remind them that this is your future and in that future, they won’t be there to hold your hand.
3. Have a Case
When arguing for the right to make a major decision, plainly state your reasons to your parents. They might not make perfect sense to your parents, so make sure to explain them thoroughly. Instead of telling them you want to attend College B over College A, tell them you made that choice because College B has a smaller student population and a larger field in your intended major. Instead of telling them you decided not to take AP Chemistry, tell them you want to drop the class to take biology, something that is closer to what you plan on pursuing in college. Whatever decision you make, back it up with well thought out reasons. To overprotective parents, “because I want to” is not a good enough reason for change.
4. Pick an Appropriate Time
When finding time for this monumental conversation, pick an appropriate time for both your parents and yourself. Don’t bring up the conversation when your parents are about to head out the door or in the morning before school. Don’t try to start the conversation when they are buried up to their ears in work for their new client. Pick a time when both of your parents can sit down and give at least an hour of their time to completely focus on you. That said, if your parents are extremely busy all of the time, there may not be a perfect time. Pick the most convenient time possible, but do not keep putting it off out of fear.
5. Be Confident
Conversations like this can be extremely difficult and scary. Most kids worry about what their parents will say or more often, what they will do. Whatever you’re worried about, remember these are your parents. They raised you, love you, and would do anything for you. There’s no reason to be afraid. Assert what you want and be confident that they will come to see it from your point of view. They want the best for you. It’s your task to calmly convince them that your way is the right way.
To sum it all up…
Telling your parents you’ve changed your mind can be a monumental event. It can be hard, stressful, and downright scary. If you find yourself in this situation, take a step back. Remember that they are your parents and that it is your future. Not theirs. You have to live with your decisions.
Be respectful, be firm, and back up your decisions with facts. If you present your case strategically, your parents will come to understand and respect your decision. Most parents will come to support your decision wholeheartedly. If your parents are not among that majority, it can be extremely disappointing, but if changing your mind makes you happier, who are they to deny their child happiness? Next time you have a heart-to-heart, take into consideration these points and you’ll find it isn’t so hard to tell Mom and Dad you’ve changed your mind.