Annie Fox for Teens... Hey, Terra!

Annie (AKA Hey Terra!) has been around long enough to have experienced a lot of what Life can dish out. But, it hasn’t been so long that she's forgotten what it's like to be your age. Check out some of the thousands of email questions teens from around the world have sent to Terra. You may learn something useful from her answers:

“My parents treat me like I'm five!”

Hey Terra,

I read your book and it was great, but I have a few problems of my own. I'm a 13 and a half year old guy and my parents treat me like I'm five. They won't let me do anything. They're suspicious of girls and guys sometimes too. They say "no" to lots of different social things. Some of my friends say they're mean and they don't let me have a life. What should I do?


Dear Mad,

I'm glad you enjoyed my book! I hope you found it helpful.

Remember the last chapter in the book called The Conflict Resolution Toolkit? I talked about having a Family Meeting . It sounds like your family is overdue for one! I'm not going to judge the way your parents do their jobs, because I'm sure that there are many thirteen and a half year olds who feel like their parents are treating them like they are "five." But what is clear, is that you have feelings to express to your parents about their behavior, and a Family Meeting is the safest place for you to express them.

Make sure they know the ground rules... when it's your turn to talk they listen. When it's their turn to talk, you listen. When someone is talking, he/she should stick with "I feel..." statements, rather than "You always..." and "You never..."

When you and your parents sit down for this meeting (at an agreed upon time when everyone is relatively calm and unhurried) you might start off with something like this:

"Mom, Dad, I love you both and I have some things I need to talk to you about. I feel sad that you act like you haven't noticed I'm growing up. I feel resentful when you treat me like I am still a little kid. I feel angry that you don't trust my judgment when it comes to choosing friends. I understand that you love me and you want to protect me, but I'm getting older, and I want to talk about ways I can earn more independence and learn to take more responsibility for the choices I make."

If you don't own a copy of Can you Relate? and you need a 'review' of the Conflict Resolution Toolkit , you'll find it here.

There are lots of things you can do to show your parents that you are ready for more independence and more responsibility. If you keep the communication between you open and honest, you are helping them grow in their role as parents and the relationship will be a healthier, happier one.

I wish you well!

In friendship,


Need some advice? Write to Terra. She'll give you a straight answer you can trust without any lectures.

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