Dear Auntie, My mom thinks my dreams are stupid and irrational just because I want to start a youtube channel or get into a student exchange program. She made a disgusted face when I told her what I want to be, or anything i think of which i really like. It’s really hurtful and sometimes I feel so worthless because all I like are stupid modern stuff and it’s really making me depressed. Please help me.
Hey there, thank you for writing in. It can be hard when those you care about the most don’t seem to have your back, especially when it’s a parent.
If you’re depressed now, it’s important to take care of yourself immediately, especially if you’re having feelings of worthlessness. You can talk to your school counselor, nurse, or a teacher. If you want to talk to someone immediately, text START to 741741 or you can call Mental Health America’s Crisis hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK. They also have a zip code locator to help you find clinics near you with low-cost or sliding scale services.
A counselor can help you with your depression, as well as talking through some of the challenges you’re having with your mom.
As I think through your question, I’m thinking about what may be driving your mom’s reactions. Parents have the difficult task of finding a balance of what’s helpful and what’s not. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they don’t. In this case, it seems like your mom could use a little help.
Here are some things to think about…
Transitioning into adulthood can be complicated. It can be really hard for parents to see their children growing up…seeing you as someone other than their baby. This may be part of the reason your mom meets your dreams of growing up with such resistance, and in some twisted way, perhaps she feels she’s trying to protect you.
Old school vs. New School. Sometimes clashes between parents and children can be made worse when your parent is adhering to a different set of values than what you’re experiencing in school, or amongst your friends. Especially if you’re into all the latest technology and your mom is still figuring out how to send a text on her smart phone.
Reaching New Independence. It seems like you’re at a new stage of exploring what things interest you and their potential as a life path. This is all very normal, to need to go your own way in certain areas of your life. Is it possible that your mom may be having a difficult time adjusting to this new role as you mature?
Oblivious. Perhaps your mom is not picking up on your heavy sighs after she shoots you down. Or, maybe she’s not picking up on how her words or actions are affecting you.
What you can do?
- Talk with your mom. Start by writing down all the times you have felt hurt by your mother’s reactions to you sharing your interests. Then, write down how this has affected you and how you would like to see this change. If you need help getting started you can say something like, “Mom, I really respect your opinion and when you make a disgusted face when I tell you about something I’m interested in, it really hurts my feelings and makes me feel worthless. I would like your support as I start to discover what things I’m interested in.”
- Practice patience and persistence. Learning how to communicate with your parents as you grow into adulthood can be challenging. Show your maturity by approaching conversations with patience and persistence. If your mom is still not getting the point, let her know in a respectful and calm way. Sometimes waiting until after you’ve cooled down can be helpful.
- Show her you’re committed. It seems like you’ve got a lot of great ideas you want to explore. So, now’s the time to show your mom that you take yourself seriously; you can do this by sharing some of your videos with wernative, just go to http://www.wernative.org/my-impact/share-your-story. Or you could join an after-school club , a local sports team, Native youth group, a religious group, or a volunteer organization. Having a positive outlet can also help deal with some of the negativity you might be getting from home.
- Need more help? If you have any hesitation about talking with your mom, you can talk with a trusted adult, mentor, or counselor. Again, you can text START to 741741 or call Mental Health America’s Crisis hotline at: 1-800-273-TALK.
Your interests are an important part of development as you transition into adulthood. You’re doing a great job at ensuring you are in a space that will allow you to experiment with these interests in a positive and safe way when you ask your mom to support you. Remember that if your mom cannot do this for you, there are other people our there who can. Continue to reach out.