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Dear Dish-It: My Dad Makes All My Decisions For Me

Dear Dish-It,

My dad’s making my life miserable. He makes decisions for me without even asking. He’s making me go to church camp when I said I didn’t want to go! What should I do?!


Dear true2myself,

If you feel you are old enough to make your own decisions – or, at least, old enough to have a say in the decisions your dad is making on your behalf – then you need to act in a mature (that is a calm, reasonable) way when you’re dealing with your dad or confronting him about some of the choices he’s been making for you. Here on some tips on how you can do that.

1. Make a list of the things you think you should have some control over when it comes to the decisions being made about your life.

2. Identify exactly what it is that makes you so upset. Are you mad because you really don’t want to go to church camp or are you mad because your dad made this decision without asking you?

3. Decide on a FAIR compromise – a resolution that you can live with and that you think your dad will accept. Remember, a compromise means you give up some of your demands – it does not mean that you get your way.

4. Write down your proposed compromise and read it aloud at least three times to see how it sounds.

5. Set up a time to talk to your dad; do not just bring it up over dinner but make an actual appointment and tell him that you have an important proposal to make.

6. Bring your notes with you to the meeting so you can stay on track if emotions get high. You may even want to consider reading the note to your dad like a speech.

7. Before talking to your dad, take a few deep breaths and think calming thoughts. Make a promise to yourself that you will not raise your voice or get angry even if he raises his voice.

8. When you have presented your case take another deep breath and let your dad talk. Really listen to what he has to say; even if you don’t like it, hold back your anger and keep your ears and mind open.

9. Avoid shutting down or growing frustrated. Avoid interrupting him or jumping in with a rebuttal. Just listen and absorb what he says.

10. If your dad rejects your proposal, stay focused and avoid getting emotional. Thank him for his time and express your disappointment that you could not reach a compromise.

11. If your dad accepts your proposal, be grateful and assure him that you will not let him down. Then do everything necessary to show him he made the right decision in going along with you.

12. Whatever the outcome, be sure to do what your dad asks of you. By going along with his wishes you build trust and show your maturity, which in turn may make him more willing to relax his stand at a future date.

13. If you still can't see eye to eye, ask your dad what he needs from you in order to consider your proposal.

14. Make a vow to give him what he needs and ask if you can agree to revisit the subject in a few weeks.

15. If the outcome disappoints you, do not throw a fit. Go to your room and write your feelings in a journal or go outside and ride your bike to blow off steam.

So, ya gotta burnin' question? Need some love directions? Thinkin' 'bout stuff like depression, sex,how ya feel 'bout YOURSELF (that's called "self-esteem"), boyfriends, girlfriends, losin' old friends, bullyin' or peer pressure, but too scared to ask the parents? Don't be scared to Dish-It here. Send all of your questions to deardish@kidzworld.com But 'member, if ya hang out in Chat with other Kidzworld members who know ya by your 'username', ya might wanna use a secret nickname when ya write in. That way no one'll ever know it's you. And, just in case ya don't know, Dish-It gets a lotta letters everyday, and she can't answer 'em all. So keep checkin' the column cuz she's prob'ly answerin' somethin' very similar to your question while you're out doin' somethin' else. K? And Thanks! Ya keep her outta trouble. Oh! And if ya've got words of wisdom you wanna share,We'll dish 'em up, too.

More Dish-It Advice:

  • My Parents Are Getting Divorced
  • My Parents Are Ruining My Life
  • My Parents Just Won't Listen
  • My Parents Are The Worst
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