Telling My Religious Parents that I Don't Believe in the Religion Anymore
How to Tell Your Parents You Don't Want to Follow in Their Footsteps
Parents often have the idea that their children will grow up to follow the same path that they have chosen to live. This can sometimes be a point of family tension when a child decides that she is not going to seek the same career as her parents. This tension can usually be overcome with time and careful discussion. If you map out your talking points and stay on track, be respectful of your parents opinions, and keep calm, the conversation can go smoothly. Once you and your parents are on the same page, everyone will feel better about the discussion.
Formulating Your Message
Define your passions.If you make money your top priority, you are likely to end up in a career that you hate. Instead, you should focus on doing things that interest you personally. If you can start these things as a career right away, that’s great. If not, make time for hobbies or volunteering to find things that fulfill you.
- Some common themes that people seek in their careers are the ability to be creative, the power to set their own schedule, financial stability, etc.
Develop your career plan.Once you find things that you enjoy doing, you can start thinking about how they can be utilized in a career. You can start by typing in an online search, or going to local businesses that you think could use your skills. It is important to seek careers that utilize your unique talents, as this will set you apart from others and fuel your drive and passion.
- For example, if you love to write, but are not interested in writing novels, you could explore companies that need writers. You can write content for web pages, advertisements, and a whole range of applications if you make it a priority to find those jobs.
- Part of this plan should be planning for setbacks. If you anticipate your parents will be upset by your choice to follow a different path, their disapproval may cause certain complications. For instance, they may decide not to fund your college tuition if you choose to become a writer instead of taking over the family business as they had hoped. Figure out how you would handle these setbacks by looking into scholarships and student loans, etc.
- You can learn a lot about any field by reading literature in your chosen field and by studying the most successful individuals in that field. You can start by reading biographies, or taking an internship under a respected professional in the field.
Organize your thoughts.You know why you want to choose this career, but your parents may not. Use any extra materials you can find to make your point. You can get handouts detailing your career. Make sure that you include salary ranges, employability, and benefits that come with your chosen career. Use this information to figure out the main points of your conversation and to make an outline. You can take the outline with you to the conversation, or just practice it beforehand.
Practice the conversation.This conversation can often be hard to have. Beyond getting your thoughts organized, it can be a good idea to practice the conversation with a friend or another relative. You could also write down any important points that you want to make, especially if they are hard to bring up.
Starting the Conversation
Choose the right time.You want to make sure that your parents have the time to sit and talk to you about your decision. Starting the conversation with too little time, or when people are stressed or emotional, is not a good idea. Try setting a time to talk to your parents when there will be no distractions, and you can be fully prepared for the conversation.
- A good time to bring up this kind of conversation would be after a family dinner. Bringing it up while a parent is on the phone or working is not a good time.
Pick a good place.Just like timing, placement of the conversation can directly impact how well your parents listen to you. If you know that a parent will be easily distracted at home, try going out for a walk. If you think that your parents will have a hard time processing the conversation in public, have the conversation at home or in another private space.
- The middle of a supermarket is probably not a good place to start this conversation, but it might be a great idea to talk about it in the car during a road trip.
Bring up the topic.Keep calm and collected, and tell your parents that you need to talk to them about something. If you don’t feel that you can bring it up, or if you are sure that your parents will not listen, you might try writing a letter or an email. They will not be able to interrupt you as they read your note.
- Approaching your parents calmly and respectfully is important. Starting off with something like “Mom, can I talk to you about my future,” shows that you want to include your parents and that you are willing to open up to them and hear them out.
Stay calm and respectful.Choosing a good time and place can start the conversation off on a good note, but these conversations can often be a point of tension. If you feel tension starting to build between yourself and your parents, it’s okay to take a few minutes to relax. The conversation can even be put on hold until another day to let everyone process what has been discussed so far, and come back with an open mind.
- Arguing and yelling things like “I hate you,” at your parents will show that you are not handling the situation in a mature way. This will make it harder for them to listen to what you have to say and respect it. Try approaching their concerns in a more respectful way like “I know that you think being a doctor is what’s best for me, but I disagree.”
Be honest with your parents.Your parents will likely know if you are lying to them. If your dream is to become a teacher and you tell them that you can earn 0,000 per year, you are only going to make the conversation more tense. It will show that you either do not know the facts about your chosen career, or that you don’t respect your parents enough to be honest with them. Either way it will be hard for them to trust you with this decision.
- Using materials from reputable sources is a great way to discuss the details accurately.
- For example, if the salary range of your career is lower than what your parents are used to making, you can discuss it with them by saying “I know that this is less than you make, but the flexibility of my job will allow me to do more traveling than you were able to do. That is important to me.”
Make your points clear.This is important for your parents. They may not understand why you don’t want to carry on the family tradition that they intended to pass down to you. By being direct about what your needs and desires are, you make it easier for your parents to process.This is a good time to tell them about your career plan and the life you envision for yourself. This way your parents will see that this is not just a passing fancy, but a well thought-out plan with clear objectives, goals, and a timeline.
- Instead of saying something like “I think I might want to consider being a teacher after I graduate college,” be direct and say, “I want to go to college to become a teacher.”
Actively listen to your parents.Communication is a two way street. If you make a genuine effort to understand your parents’ point of view, the will be more likely to return the favor. After you say what you need to say, it is your turn to listen. Do not interrupt or argue with your parents if they disagree with your decision.
- Saying things like, “I understand that your career is important to you, but my passion is somewhere else,” will let your parents know that you are considering their thoughts and feelings.
- Respecting your parents’ point of view does not mean that you have to act on it.
Be respectful of their response.Arguing and yelling at your parent is not a good way to handle any disagreement. They are entitled to their opinion, just as you are. In the end, most parents just want to make sure that their kids are doing what is best for them. Keep your voice down, listen to their side, and show your parents the same respect that you expect from them.
- Your parents may not agree with your decision.
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