The weekend is fast approaching and you're eager to make plans to get together with your cousin. There is just one stumbling block in the road to weekend excitement -- Dad. Sometimes parents have valid reasons for their restrictions and limitations, while in other situations they may have unsubstantiated concerns that you can ease through a rational discussion.
What’s Going On
If your cousin isn’t on the welcomed guest list in your home, it’s time to take a look at what’s going on to ascertain whether there might be a valid reason for your dad’s hesitations. If your cousin has been a frequent patron of Juvenile Hall, he might be concerned that her influence will land you a stay there too. If the last time the two of you got together, you nearly burned down the garage with your wacky science experiments, his home insurance policy might not be ready for a repeat performance. If you’re uncertain about why your cousin is forbidden, ask your dad without hostility.
Research & Rehearsal
Once you’ve learned why your dad is resistant to the get-together, think about how you might be able to change his mind or ease his concerns. If there is a family feud taking place between your Dad and one of his siblings, think about how you could show him that the rift is between them, not between you and your cousin. If your cousin had a brief run-in with the law in the past, marring his reputation in your household for life, you can remind your father that people make mistakes and provide examples of how your cousin has changed his life for the better. When you’ve figured out your approach, practice the conversation in front of a mirror a few times or role play with a sibling or friend so you’re prepared to present the issue to your dad.
Keep Your Cool
Have a calm, one-on-one talk with your dad about the problem. Speak with “I” phrases rather than “you” statements when you’re broaching the subject. For example, if your Dad and his brother are arch enemies, say “I know that there are family issues, but Isabella and I are very close and we would like to be able to spend time together” instead of “It’s your problem that you and Uncle Cole don’t get along.” If your cousin used to be a troublemaker, you can ask about conditions that might put Dad at ease and even propose a few of your own. For example, if he’s uncomfortable with you being alone together, propose a movie night in the family living room. If your cousin uses foul language, reassure your Dad that you’ll talk to her about the profanity ahead of time.
If you don’t end up with the answer you’d like, don’t immediately launch into a screaming match -- it isn’t likely to change your Dad’s mind, but rather validate his stance that there is cause for concern. Accept his decision graciously to demonstrate your maturity and try to evaluate the reasons for his decision on your own. Work to make any changes that are within your control. If all contact is not out of the question, find out if you can maintain a relationship with your cousin in another manner for now, such as through email, texting or snail mail. Ask your father what circumstances might be required to encourage him to reevaluate his decision and then work toward reaching these goals.
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