How to Convince your parents you’re OKAY. In five easy steps!
Written By Ashley Hutchinson
Oh our parents. You’ve got to love them. Their optimism. Their support. Their fear.
Everyone’s afraid, but no one quite feels the fresh fierce feeling of pure panic like parents of a theatre major about to start a career in New York City, the most expensive, dog-eat-dog place in the continental US and perhaps the world.
As a drama major now semi-functioning person pouring coffee at your local Think Coffee and tryna be a “real actor,” I have some light to shed on the subject. Here’s a little step by step guide for how to convince your parents that you are not going to get eaten by a homeless person tomorrow.
1. Selectively communicate.
Whenever they ask, you’re at work. Whenever they ask, you. Are. Working. Even if you’re not. 2 am? What are you doing up? Working. Easy. Simple. Done.
Our baby boomer parents have the whole work until your hands are bleeding mentality, while the millennial generation requires more luck than anything to find a job, and even more luck still to cultivate a burgeoning career. Not that you shouldn’t work hard, no, please don’t extract that from this. But it always helps your parents to not freak out about money as long as you’re freaking out about money. Simple logic. *Taps head.*
2. Make it clear that you have friends.
If you have the luxury of not living in the same state as your parents, they may never meet your friends. Thus, they don’t know how many you have. So you can lie! OR, if lying isn’t your thing, you can totally just say you’re “hanging with a friend” when you’re hanging with the same friend you’ve been hanging out with for five weeks. (And of course, this is after the “I’m working” answer is off the table.)
If you’re not alone, your parents won’t freak out as much. It’s the buddy system on steroids.
3. If something is going wrong, WAIT to call mom and dad.
A lot of my freak outs can be solved by simply taking a hot second to BREATHE. I can’t tell you how many stupid mistakes I’ve made by simply panicking and doing something quickly, before even thinking about it. If there’s a problem, wait and take a minute to see if you can fix the problem first. It’s worth the five minutes of cold logic.
My tendency is to immediately call my mom if I’m confused about something. But it’s time to adult the shit out of life! Take a second, and try to figure it out. It’s like an adventure! A fun game of jenga, but with important aspects of your life! Sure the stakes are high, but hey, you live and die by your own sword.
Your parents are very likely going to be less freaked out if you actually do some shit on your own. That one seems self explanatory, but it definitely isn’t always that simple.
4. Say you’re okay!
Tell them you’re okay. Even if you’re not 100% okay. Like, part of adulthood is starting to figure out the balance between kind of uncomfortable and really not okay. There are certainly instances when being a little disconcerted is an OKAY thing. It gets you out of your comfort zone! It helps you grow! Obviously, if things are actually not good, of course reach out, maybe mention that things aren’t going so hot. But if you’re just a little uncomfy in your post grad life maybe that’s not something to call reinforcements for.
Being uncomfy is basically just a constant state of being for a while. I’m beginning to embrace it. I’m fucking terrified every day. But in a good way! I think.
5. Remember that they love you.
Resist the urge to get defensive. I have this problem a lot. The more my parents ask about money, career, love life, basically any of the big questions that I have yet to figure out, the more flustered and frustrated I get with them. I’m more inclined to defend myself, even if they haven’t even criticized anything.
The more you approach everything your parents say with the frame of mind that they love you, and that they simply want you to succeed, the more you’ll understand where they are coming from, and the better you guys can communicate. Nothing spells adult more than taking things in stride and approaching everything with love. Kindness brings out kindness, so the more patient you are with yourself and them, the smoother things will go.
Just enjoy the ride! Know that they aren’t trying to put pressure on you--the world is putting more than enough weight on your post grad shoulders right now. You don’t have to add to it by projecting your own insecurities onto your family.
But when in doubt, you’re working!