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I am currently learning C#, and I need to look for a lot of information through different webpages. However, my parents distrust me and they think I am playing computer games because almost each time they enter my room, I am switching tabs by using hot keys. When they were young, they would hide their novels(unproper) when their parents came in their rooms, and doing that is similar to what they did when they were young.

I prefer to play games about an hour per day, and my sister often "whistleblowers" that I am playing games, which makes them even more distrust me. In that case, my parents think that I play computer games every minutes when I am using my computer. I also tried to told them that I am not playing computer games every minute, include showing them the browser history and the source code I wrote. However, all of them did not work because they think I can make fake history and I can download source code from the internet. Evidences in my computer can all be fake in their eyes.

I think I do a good job of disciplining myself and I am looking for a communication way that they will trust me.

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  • Have you tried walking them through some of the info you are looking up and why you are looking it up? If you can go through all the details of the code it should be pretty obvious that you didn't just download it, you understand it.
    – DaveG
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:00
  • @DaveG I tried to talk to them about that but they just do not listen to me, because of the reasons shown in the post. The most difficult part of the communication is that I try to learn and memorize the code, and they think it is easy to do such a thing(because they have never learned any computer language) and I should not spend that much time to understand them. In that case, they think I am making a fake browser history. I do not have a powerful way to let them trust me.
    – Han Han
    Aug 1, 2023 at 17:13
  • Do you have any friends or fellow students or a teacher that you could collaborate with on a project? That might add some credibility even if they aren't willing to pay attention to what you tell them. Also, are your parents expecting you to be studying something else? I know my dad considered studying software engineering to be a waste of time and could never understand how I made a pretty successful living at it.
    – DaveG
    Aug 2, 2023 at 20:33
  • @DaveG I have a few friends that know code, but they do not know C#. They are expecting me to study code but they think I do not pay attention to it. I am trying to record my screen.
    – Han Han
    Aug 3, 2023 at 3:53
  • 1
    I'd suggest that rather than asking the internet how you can prove it to them, ask your parents directly.
    – Glurth
    Dec 9, 2023 at 17:55

3 Answers 3

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Mom of four now-adult children (including one computer geek) here.

For whatever reason (it could be partly due to your own parents' knowledge of their own misbehavior as children coloring their views -- I've been guilty of that myself once or twice), your "trust bank account" with your parents is in the red. You need to make "trust deposits" into the account to get it back into the black.

Examples of what those deposits could look like include:

  • Offering an open invitation for them to look at what you are doing on the computer at any time and explaining to them what all you have open.

  • Showing them the tabs you are switching between and explaining what's on them.

  • Using some type of accountability software.

Ask them what they would like for reassurance, and keep working on a solution until you find something you are both happy with. It sounds like they might be a little computer-illiterate, too, so be patient in order to win their trust.

Best wishes to you.

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Explain what you're working on that day.

This has multiple advantages and is a tactic not only relevant to programming:

  • Explain what your current issues are, or a nice little pattern and what it solves. You can explain the type of thing you're making, what the challenge is in that part and possible solutions. Also telling the solution the yesterdays problem is useful here.
    As your problems/solutions change (due to you being ready for the next challenge), it gives a feel for what you're doing. You couldn't progress if all you do is game. This takes a bit of time, but can build trust.
    • Explaning what you're doing is quite a valuable skill in programming. for some, its absolute magic what we do and knowing how to explain to non-peers makes it less magic, which in turn helps a lot politically.
    • It offers insights to peers, who might help you identify your error in thinking, or may offer a solution you didnt think of.
    • Rubber ducking is very valuable
  • "if you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough". By explaining what you're doing, you can get a feel for which parts are not second nature for yourself. If you stuggle to explain something, it might be a hint on what you can improve.
  • It allows them to talk about your hobby. They'll likely not understand, but its a small outlet for you and they might get a basic feel of what you're doing. By explaining things often, they might connect at least some dots.
    And a bit pessimistic: Programming is boring for a lot of people. It could also be they feel bored quickly and leave the subject alone. Not a very enthousiasic response, but one that in the end will also solve your corrent challenge.

Apart from the above (which you can/should do anyway), you can ask them what the issue is. I'm dutch, so I'm used to being a bit more direct, but IMO that is a effective method in this cases as miscommunication created the situation, so clear communication is the way out.

I feel there is an issue with my computer usage, mainly because there seems to be the assumption I use it to game all the time. Yes I like to game a bit, but not all the time.

What is it you want me to tell/show you1, as I have the feeling that everything I say is instantly disregarded? Would you like a small demo of what I'm working on now? I feel its unfair that even when I show you, you dont trust it in advance.

1 Say this in a friendly tone. Its a genuine question, not some snappy comeback. You want progress, not offence.

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Facts are better than words.

Since they do not believe you are leaning to code, you must show them a real result. Also you need to build trust. And finally you need to keep learning to code. All those things can be achievable if you ask them which software you can do for them. "I think now I know enough to try to make a small piece of software, any ideas?"

This approach will be useful. Because if they don't trust you, they will ask for something specific enough to test you, and once you deliver they will believe you (each small deliver done based in their requests will build trust). Also is useful because you'll learn how to prepare a list of requirements, ask for feedback and show advance (you must show any advance you have). All those soft skills are quite useful for people whose work is to write code. Actually, whenever my boss ask for something which is not precisely defined, I must show small advances to help him define what he really wants.

If they don't cooperate. Insist in that you need their feedback to improve your skills. In that way you put them in the same boat with you.

Finally, this constant conversation with them will improve your relationship.

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