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My parents are over protective and don't let me use social media ...

Kate Middleton photo Kate Middleton · 23 Sep, 2020

My parents are over protective and don't let me use social media. They say it is because of so many bad influences. It makes it hard for me to talk to friends at school and feels like I have no life. I feel really bad and have thoughts I can't tell them beuase they would be scared for me. What can I do?

Hi Jay, thank you so much for sending this in. THere's lots in what you wrote so I'm gonna tackle it in two bits if that's ok?

So - first off, the social media stuff. Hmmm that's tricky - I am a parent of a 15 year old myself and I know there are LOADS of different approaches parents go for re social media and stuff online. But almost all I know get a bit worried about it sometimes. I guess we're aware what a pressure it can be, and how much of a big deal this stuff can become.

Thing is - you are 15 now so getting older, and more and more these decisions will need to become made between you and your parents. So, when there's something like this you don't agree with the best thing to do is find a way to handle it in the most grown up way possible! So - can you find a time when no one is cross, stressed, angry or tired (ok, think hard, there must be times that is true?! Maybe a weekend, or on a nice quiet evening?). So often we end up having these conversations in rubbish moments because they flare up when someone is frustrated or worried or upset. And then we wonder why they don't go well ... So find a good time and plan ahead. Explain you'd like to talk to them about this, and find out why they feel so concerned. And here's rule 1 - the first thing you do is ask them to explain how they feel - and let them do that! Really try to understand where they are coming from. Then say you'd like the chance to put your point of view across? And think about what you want to say and how to say it calmly and clearly - and also think about how you will stay calm if you get frustrated - that's important! Then - is there a compromise that they might go for that show you've taken their concerns into mind? Something you could suggest that shows you've heard them? So maybe you just choose one SM site/space? And agree you only go on it at certain times? Or let them have access to the account if it helps them feel more reassured? I mean, obviously it needs to be a compromise you'd be happy with - but think of it as a first step for now - this doesn't need to be the final step! As they get more confident in you and how you are using social media hopefully they might feel willing to let you take another step in a few months. But for now think 1 step at a time.

Be ready for worst case scenario too. Becuase storming off is never a good way to end any discussion ;) If they don't agree or won't budge, swallow your frustration, thank them for listening and ask to chat again. Your choosing to do this in such a mature way is going to help the case you want to argue - even though it might be hard in the moment.

Now - onto your second point. I am so sorry that you are struggling with some dark thoughts. This can happen when emotions get really powerful and it isn't unusual in teenage years. If you don't feel you can share with your parents are there other people you could talk to? Maybe a relative, adult mate or a youth worker? Its important we get these thoughts out of our heads, somehow they are a lot less powerful when they are shared. If you really can't think of anyone you can talk to - and in a crisis moment, you can text 'YM' to 85258. Its a free text support service from Young Minds and someone will reply to you and help you. Don't fight those feelings alone - when your emotions get that powerful your thinking brain shuts down, so it usually feels much worse than it is and someone else helping you is really important.

And don't forget - those low moments is what our fun stuff section is for. Becuase sometimes we all need something to make us laugh, or distract us, or lift our mood. So keep an eye on the site - we're posting new stuff all the time ;)

Hope that helps,

Kate

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