1

Context

I’m 19 years old in Bucharest, Romania in high school at grade 12. Since I’ve been gifted with an iPhone, I kinda liked staying on my new phone. But, I couldn’t control myself. Now my parents suggested to make a time table, and at 19:00 every day to surrender my phone to my mother until the final exam.

Another issue is that I have to take pills. After I had surgery on my back bone when I was in grade 9, my doctor recommended that I take pills for the rest of my life, without breaks.

What's the main problem?

I can’t even give her the phone, because when she does this, I feel like I’m 4 years old. And sometimes I don’t want to take pills at night, because I don’t feel like it. Like for example, today, I didn’t want to. But my mother forces me to do so.

My mother keeps insisting that I surrender the phone and keep taking the pills. How can I talk to her in such that she will stop insisting with these two things?

Questions:

  1. How to ask my mother to cancel the time table for giving up my phone?
  2. How to tell my mother that I don’t want to take pills at night, only sometimes?

How can I ask her this in a way that she won’t get angry at me?

When I tried to ask her, "not this night", she refused. And I don’t like to take the pills because it tastes horrible after it dissolves in water. It makes me feel sensations of throwing up.

  • What are the consequences of not taking the pills? – Em C Oct 28 '18 at 15:21
  • @EmC I’m not quit sure, but I’ll have sever consequences. I’ll get my Ca very low, and I’m obligated to mention Ca to the right level. – Alex A Oct 28 '18 at 15:22
  • 1
    If the problem of the medication is the taste, ask your doctor to prescribe a capsule instead of a dissolving pill; you would then swallow the capsule whole (with a glass of water), no taste involved. Never simply stop taking prescribed medication without consulting a doctor first! You don’t even know what you risk by not taking it, yet you seriously consider going against what your doctor has told you! Your doctor is there to help you, do what s/he says. – 11684 Dec 16 '18 at 0:42
7

How can I ask her these 2 questions in such that she won’t have to get angry at me?

From what you wrote it sounds like this is a trust issue. Your mother does not trust you to behave like a responsible adult and take care of your own issues.

If you want to build trust with your mother you need to engage in trust-building activities. Simply put: if you want to be treated like a responsible adult you need to convince her you are one.

How to get your mother to cancel the time table

You demonstrate your ability to manage your own time consistently. You can talk to her about this:

Hey mom, I realize that because you have concerns about my ability to manage my time you have restricted my usage of device X. This is frustrating to me and I realize this must be frustrating to you too. What trust-building steps would it take for you to let me run my own time-table while living in your house?

Then listen. Do not judge her response, do not attack or criticize her. Actually listen and come up with a constructive plan together for time management. You can offer to take active steps towards better time-management (like a time-management workshop or course) and offer to involve her in the process.

Spending your time doing stuff you don't believe in does not lead to very constructive places.

How to tell to my mother that I don’t want to take pills at night, only sometimes?

You get a two doctor's appointments to two different doctors who understand your medical condition and you gather evidence that stopping the pills at night makes sense for your medical condition. Then you approach your mother with:

Hey mom, here are written statements from two expert doctors who suggested alternative treatment for my condition. According to their alternative I need to take pill Y only once a week. What do you think about it?

Then listen to what your mother has to say. Again, it's great for trust building to help involve her in the process.

It sounds frustrating to both you and your mom at the moment. I think it's great you understand this is something you should work on.

  • But what if the doctor rejects my wish of not taking the pills at night? Because, you know. Some are very subjective, very restrictive( like in military) in my case I’m not somebody from military:) just a regular person. Stubborn! I forgot to mention that word. – Alex A Oct 28 '18 at 12:55
  • I mean, what if the doctor refuses with stubbornness? – Alex A Oct 28 '18 at 12:56
  • 8
    @AlexA you talk to two doctors and get two opinions. The doctors aren't stubborn they are paid medical professionals who are on your side. The doctors' job is to help you make better choices. If the doctors maintain you should take the pill then I recommend you listen to your paid experts. – Benjamin Gruenbaum Oct 28 '18 at 13:01
  • Ok, I try to listen to them. But there was 2 types of Ca. One that you can chew, but I refused it because it gives me bad taste about it( if you know what I mean, and not because of Ca) and 2, the pill that dissolved into water and makes the water be sparkling water, and when I pour water sometimes water, and the water reaches beyond normal level of water, then I start to have sensations of throwing up. But generally, it is disguising. – Alex A Oct 28 '18 at 13:21
  • But, when I complained to the doctor that it gives me sensation of throwing up, then she stopped giving another recommendation, because she sees me that I’m unhappy with anything. Because, you know the sayings “you can’t make people happy, there will be always something which displeases people” – Alex A Oct 28 '18 at 13:23
5

As my mother used to say:

If you don't want to be treated like a child, stop acting like one!

And of course the converse is true - if you want people to respect and treat you as an adult you need to demonstrate that you are worthy of this by acting like an adult. In fact that is fundamentally what being and adult is.

One of the key differences between an adult and a child is that they can recognize the need to do things that they might not want to do, or that are unpleasant in the short term in order to achieve a greater overall benefit. Children can't do this - which is why they need parents to make them do these things (otherwise every four year old would be trying to subsist of a diet made up exclusively of ice cream, cookies, and crisps and getting run over every time they came near a road). Parents don't make them eat healthy food and look for traffic to punish them or for the fun of it but because a 4 year old makes it plain with their behavior that they won't do these things on their own.

As you point out, you aren't four any more - and yet your mother is treating you like one. So why do you think that is?

Is it because she wants to punish you, or for the fun of it? Or because you've been acting like one and demonstrating that you're not making sensible choices?

Let's examine each of the two issues you posted about:

Phone

Well, by your own admission:

I couldn’t control myself

And you have important-sounding exams coming up. So in this situation was your lack of control in terms of your phone use something a four year old would do? or something an adult would do?

How to ask my mother to cancel the time table for giving up my phone?

It is good that you recognize that it was your actions that lead to the consequences of your parents instituting the restrictive phone policy. So hopefully you should be able to see that logically the way to get the restrictions lifted is again by your actions in removing the impetus for the restrictions.

Show you can be trusted with the phone by demonstrating that you understand why it was a problem before and that you are changing your attitude, do this by studying for your exams (or whatever) and (importantly) don't complain about not having the phone. Once you have done this for a sustained period of time then you can try approaching you parents:

I understand that I wasn't regulating my phone use before - I got caught up in the novelty of it all. However I think I've shown that I can act responsibly and keep my focus on more important things such as my studies. Could we review the phone timetable?

Pills

It sounds like you have a skeletal issue (osteoporosis at a guess - given you mention it being Ca tablets and it starting post surgery for a fracture in your spine) which is serious business and believe me, speaking as someone with an incurable, degenerative skeletal condition myself if I could I'd put up with a little bit of daily nausea over the debilitating levels of chronic pain and the steady erosion of my mobility.

You mentioned in comments that you understand that you could experience severe consequences for your health if you stop taking the tablets. Now I understand that taking the tablets isn't great and it makes you feel nauseous but is it really worse than the consequences?

You also mentioned:

I wish I can be like others who don’t need to take pills at all.

Life isn't fair.. and also how do you know who does and doesn't take pills for different conditions? People don't always go around advertising their medical conditions. I currently take two separate medications daily, and I very much doubt a single other person in this building knows about it.

And (assuming the Calcium is to allow you to maintain bone density) how "like others" are you going to feel if you bone density drops to the point where sneezing or laughing breaks a rib or two?

So weigh the downsides of taking the pills versus the downsides of not taking them and ask yourself, what would you rather have?

How to tell my mother that I don’t want to take pills at night, only sometimes?

You don't - because that isn't a reasoned decision, it's the petulant whine of a child. Instead you say:

I'm really struggling with the side-effects of my current pills, I understand that taking them is important for my health so would it be okay if we talk to the doctor or another to see if there's an alternative way to take them without having to deal with the nausea? I'm going to be taking these for a very long time and I think it's worth exploring to see if we can make it easier for me.

And if there isn't a better alternative (I'd be surprised if there weren't though - calcium comes in many forms) then you need to do the adult thing and work out a reason that matters to you as to why you should be taking them. On a question on Space Exploration SE you expressed an aspiration to be an astronaut. Well a big concern for all those in that line of work is Spaceflight Osteopenia where you lose 1% of bone mass per month spent in space so you'd be needing your bones in the best possible condition before you went to space (and I seriously doubt any space agency would accept "I don't want to take my pills because they taste yucky" as a suitable reason to make an exception. Do you? So how about you use that ambition as a reason to keep taking the pills? Even if you have to give yourself a nudge - maybe a picture of the ISS or something in your room that you can look at while you take them to remind yourself of why you're doing it.

2

You have a couple thorough answers already, but I still wanted to share mine since your issue with the pills really resonates with me.

Background

When I was in graduate school, my father was diagnosed with celiac disease. Since it's genetic, my parents made me get tested for it. Even though I didn't have symptoms, it turns out I had it too. I became very depressed and upset because this meant that overnight I would never again be allowed to eat my favorite foods or order a pizza with my friends, and instead would forever have to be "that person" asking questions about ingredient lists...

The doctor told me that even though I didn't have symptoms from eating "bad" foods at the time, I would, after being on the special diet for a while. So... I seriously thought about simply refusing to start the diet in the first place.

My parents suspected as much and had a talk with me:

  • They first tried to convince me the diet wouldn't be that bad, and this was really a blessing in disguise.
  • Then they explained they were concerned about my long-term health. They pointed at my grandfather, who had died several years prior from complications of him going undiagnosed, and said "we don't want that to happen to you".
  • Finally, even though I was mostly on my own at this point, they had loaned me money for a car so I could get to my summer job. They said that if I didn't follow the diet, I would need to pay up the rest of the loan immediately (wiping out my savings at the time).

As you might imagine.. this conversation rather severely damaged our relationship. I hope you can avoid it escalating to this point!

Lessons Learned

  • You need to explain your objections clearly and calmly, like a fellow mature adult. Try to practice non-violent communication, using "I-statements" ("I feel ... when ...") rather than accusing them of anything ("You make me feel like a baby!"), which will just escalate the situation. This also can encourage them to solve the problems with you! For instance, perhaps they will suggest a way to mask the taste or help you find an alternative brand.

  • Let them know you understand the consequences. For instance, when my parents tried to make me get allergy shots as a kid, they eventually accepted that I really would rather sneeze than get stuck with a needle every week. However, this wouldn't convince them for the diet, because the consequences are much worse (their second argument in our talk). It sounds like this might be the case with the pills - so make sure to do your research! which leads to...

  • The most important point: Show them that you have the self-discipline to do things you dislike when you understand that it's in your best long-term interest. Teenage boys aren't exactly known for looking out for their long-term wellbeing, and it sounds like your parents don't trust you to do that yet. Be proactive and open about taking medicine when you need it, and be patient with them. This is going to be the hardest part - trust takes time, and it won't happen after a single conversation.

My parents didn't trust me, either, which is why they took such extreme measures. My biggest mistake was not proactively showing them that I'd learned to take care of myself. When I was a kid, I avoided anything vaguely medicinal, but I had gradually learned to do these things while I was living on my own... but because I was stubborn and still annoyed at my parents for making it such an issue, I never talked about it and even hid when I did things like take an allergy pill, so they thought I was still that same kid who would refuse such things. Although I can't be totally sure, I think if I'd been more open about how I could take care of myself, they wouldn't have felt the need to do what they did.

While I've mostly focused on the pills here, this also applies to the phone issue - since you say you couldn't control yourself, you'll need to show that you can now. Following the time table is one way, but they may still think that's due to the time table, not your own discipline. So a better way would be, for example, give up your phone ahead of schedule saying "Hey, here's my phone, I'm already done for the night".

TL;DR

  1. Before having the conversation, spend some time demonstrating responsibility and doing your research on possible alternatives to your current situation
  2. Choose a good time to have the conversation, when everyone is calm.
  3. Explain how you feel in neutral terms, avoid making accusations at them
  4. Tell them about the possible solutions you found, along with examples of how you have been self-disciplined enough to implement them properly
  5. Listen respectfully to her response, and don't argue, but rather take it as a learning experience for how to continue improving yourself.
  • You also should have facts on your side. Did you talk to the doctor about what would happen if you didn't start the diet, at least not then? Your parents were legitimately concerned about long-term consequences, and being able to tell them what the consequences really would be might have helped a lot. – David Thornley Nov 2 '18 at 17:19
  • @DavidThornley Right, I think I addressed this with the points about doing your research :) – Em C Nov 2 '18 at 17:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.