Talk It up With Your Parents

The thought of talking to your parents can feel like torture. You’re sure you’d just die if they found out about your crush or the D+ you got on a math test -- or (yikes!) that you got your period. Whether your parents are high-strung, low-key or completely impossible to read, here are a few clever ways to tackle some tough subjects.

“I just had this killer world-cultures test … and bombed it!”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 1: Stay one step ahead of ’em.

Before talking to your parents about any bad grade, it’s wise to talk to your teacher first. Will some extra credit cut it? Do you need a tutor? By attacking the problem at school before you break the news to Mom and Dad, you demonstrate that you’re accepting responsibility and willing to work toward improvement. How can your parents get angry about that? You might have flunked a test, but you’re no flunky.

“I’m crushing hard for this boy. I think he likes me, but my parents won’t even let me date.”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 2: Get inside their heads.
So your parents say no dating until you’re 13, and you’re six months shy of that. Just so happens that the cutest boy in your school is into you, and you’re into him. Instead of seeing this boy behind their backs, tap into your parents’ inner teen spirit. Ask nostalgic questions: “Who was your first crush?” “Were you allowed to date?” “How did you two meet?” Then, when you feel comfortable, ’fess up about your crush. Maybe they’ll want to meet him. Maybe they’ll like him. Maybe they’ll even let you go out with him.

“I’ve gotten my period and haven’t even told my parents. I don't want to …  it’s so embarrassing!”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 3: Think like a grown-up.
First off, remember that moms menstruate too. And even your dad, trust us, is at least somewhat familiar with the process. Just knowing that this is nothing new to them might help ease some of your embarrassment. Getting your period is part of nature, so keep it in perspective. Meghan, 12, says that after the initial discomfort of bringing it up, she’s so glad she can now turn to her mom with questions.

“I can’t stand my mom’s new boyfriend. How do I tell her?”

Talking With Your Parents Tip. No. 4: Don’t cop an attitude.

Whether it’s your mom or dad who’s dating, this is a tough one. You want your parent to be happy, but you’re picking up a bad vibe. Meghan says the worst way to start off is by saying, “Why are you with him?” Instead of a loaded question, ask for some one-on-one time: “I miss our movie nights together. Can we do that this weekend?” It’ll give you a chance to reconnect, and you can wait for the right moment to bring up any issues about your parent’s significant other -- if you’re still feeling that way by then.