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Member since:09.06.2004


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Writing letters

26.07.2004 (27.07.2004)

can open up communication, spare awkwardness

can cause awkwardness, not direct

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14 Ciao members have rated this review on average: very helpful See ratings
exceptional by (5%):
  1. Gill_J
very helpful by (95%):
  1. LR_17
  2. karen5416
  3. salem_witch
and 16 other members

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I've always prided myself on being able to talk to my mother about nearly anything. Even now, as I'm about to go off to college as an almost 19 year old, I still talk to her constantly - at night, in the car, at the table, wherever. I'm very grateful to be able to talk to her so freely most of the time, and we have a generally great relationship with it's hiccups here and there.

However, there are always some things that I can never bring myself to talk about, and when that happens, I used to resort to writing letters to my parents to tell them why I was upset or angry. We never really talked about what I'd written after they'd read the letter slipped carefully under a pillow, but their behavior would change in certain ways, and it allowed us to keep the channels of communication open at all times, even when i was too scared or didn't know how to talk to them face to face.

One of the topics I've never really been able to broach with my mother directly is that of my personal life. For whatever reasons, things came to a head last night as I lay in bed, and I found myself desperately wishing that I could just clear the air with her over her concerns, but also tell her what was upsetting me so badly. So i decided to take the potentially easy way out, and write her a letter. I'm going to publish that letter here, which is a huge personal stake for me, but I've seen so many other members be both completely open and brutally honest on this site that I'm willing to take the risk and put it out there.

Perhaps your child is also in a serious (or not so serious) relationship and you're worried about what to say to them as to the topic of sexual activity or your feelings towards their bf/gf. Perhaps anytime you try and bring it up, the subject gets too heated emotionally and your child winds up not listening and stalks off, slamming doors and sobbing as they go.

Nearly all parents of teens go through scenes like this at some point or another, and to me, writing letters is a great way to let off steam but also express your concern in a relatively more calm manner. It's not for everyone, but it's worth a shot. It may take your relationship to a new level, it may not. Still, here is the letter I wrote, explaining my feelings and thoughts and interpretations, without having my mother interrupt or having to get sidetracked. I put everything on the table, and hopefully now communication between us on the subject of my relationship will be easier. There's always the chance that my honesty will make things awkward between us, but I'd rather that than keep everything bottled up.

It can mean so much to your child to know that you care and are doing your best to understand them, that I truly believe it's a method worth trying, at least once. It can also give them a truly valuable opportunity to let you know how they feel, without the complications of a personal talk.

So without further ado, my letter.

***Please note, when trying to rate this review, I'm taking a risk to put this letter out there on a personal level, so if you're unsure, just don't rate. Comments as always, are welcome.***
Dear Mom,

Everything in this letter is something that has been bothering me for a long time, but Iíve been too chicken to say anything to you. I still think Iím taking the easier road by writing to you rather than talking, but I figure this is the only way to say everything I want to at once. I wasnít going to say anything, but I wound up sobbing about this to ---- on the phone last night at 4:45 am, and itís still upsetting me, so here it goesÖ

I know you think Iím sleeping with ---- , but Iím not. Incredible, no, that after 11 months we still arenít? You donít think Akhilís told me how he has to periodically reassure you that we arenít? How do you think it makes me feel, knowing you feel the need to worry and ask him about it? Why not just ask me if it bugs you so much? Do you know what I said when I went to ----ís for the first time and you told Akhil you hoped we werenít sleeping together? ĎEither she doesnít know how long weíve been going out, or she thinks Iím a slut.Ē (because this was two weeks into dating him.) Iím not, at least not at this point in time, but sooner or later, whether with him or with someone else, I will be. You have to understand that, although Iím sure youíre not going to want to, and I donít blame you.

Maybe now that you know that, youíll stop having that disapproving tone when I get the nerve to tell you Iím spending the day with him. Whether you realize it or not, it seems like you think all weíre going to do is physical stuff the entire time, therefore itís a good idea to limit the amount of time we have together. How do you think I feel each time I hear that tone in your voice? Itís upsetting to say the least, and I just wish you would trust me without being suspicious. It also makes me think and feel like I should hide things concerning ---, because you use the same tone of voice when talking about him, and it makes me feel as if you donít like him, which Iím sure isnít entirely true. The two times youíve surprised me was when you offered me your phone card to call India (I bought my own because I figured youíd brush off any request to call as silly and unnecessary and a waste of money) and when you told Dadi he was a nice guy. Itís just that Pa seems to genuinely like him, Aiti and Akhil do, and Iím sure if they met him, so would Dadi and Tats. Somehow though, it doesnít seem as if you do, and that hurts me and upsets me. Heís really important to me, both as my boyfriend and my best friend, but your opinion of him matters to me as well, but you donít seem very warm towards him.

Iím not sure if this is just my imagination, but I donít understand why you seem to feel like that. Heís a really decent, kind person, and he makes me really happy. I just want to feel like you recognize that rather than being so distant towards him. Is it still because you think weíre sleeping together, or what? You know, Iím trying to spend spring break traveling with him if weíre still together, but Iím too cowardly to tell you because I donít know how youíll react. Pa was fine with the idea, but I can almost hear the non-thrilled tone in your voice.

Basically, in the end, I donít want you to constantly be thinking that we are sleeping together, but I donít want you to think less of me or be upset because I am eventually. I am mature enough to know my own mind, to be responsible about my choices, including wanting to go on birth control as a pre-protection measure. Just so that when I do, I know Iím doubly protected. Understand and appreciate that instead of coming up with reasons why I shouldnít go on it.

All of this is still upsetting me and putting me on an emotional edge, but hopefully that can change now that Iíve gotten it all out. I donít know whatíll happen when you read this, and it scares me, but so be it. I need to get this out.

Love, Maya
Do let me know if you try this with someone you love to try and communicate with them and let me know how it goes.
UPDATE: When I got home last night, my mom had written me a reply, in which she told me that she didn't suspect anything of the sort, but she regretted if it had come across that way, and she does like him. She also explained her thoughts on birth control as ones of genuine concern rather than a ploy to keep me off it, and said she always thought both of them (her and my dad) had shown me how much trust they had in me, because if they didn't, i really would know what it was like to be miserable and upset! Anyways, things are all good, and I'm so glad I took the risk :)

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Comments about this review »

LR_17 07.08.2004 18:27

I'm glad you took the risk and did this letter. I'm glad you sorted things out with your mother. Leila :)

Gill_J 27.07.2004 14:37

What an excellent review and you have used your own experiences too, I will be taking your advice as you know I have a 17 year old daughter and things do get fraught from time to time so thanks for sharing this with us. Best wishes Gill.

motherjoanb 27.07.2004 00:54

I do hope everything works out alright for you. Joan

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This review of Member Advice on Communicating with your Child has been rated:

"exceptional" by (5%):

  1. Gill_J

"very helpful" by (95%):

  1. LR_17
  2. karen5416
  3. salem_witch

and 16 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.