Cabin Fever

Dear Marlena,


I am 16 yrs old and moved to South Florida from Colombia two years ago. My issue is that my parents act as if they still live there and are so strict.

They don’t let me do anything with my friends. I am afraid my friends will just stop hanging out with me. What do I do?!!


Desperate Ang


Hi, Desperate Ang!


I am so glad you contacted me. You came to the right place. First, read our information on “Getting Parents to Listen” and “Coping with Rules.”

I can totally relate to what you are going through as I went through similar issues as a teenager when I moved with my parents to South Florida from our country. Today, when I look back, I am able to understand and see things from a different angle.

First, it’s easier for someone younger to adjust to a new culture than it is for someone who is older.  Second, parents in general, usually have a common fear that something negative may happen to their children while they are not under their supervision.  There could be so many things going on through their mind.

However, things can improve for you and your parents, if you consistently switch your thoughts and attempt to implement the tools you’ve been provided here. Changes don’t happen overnight, so try to be patient. Remember, your parent’s concerns and rules come from a good place. Attempt to find a good time when you know they will be open to listen and express yourself openly and respectfully. Let them know what is going on in your life, school, friends etc. so they do not feel “left out.” Make them aware that you understand how they feel. Take baby steps and see if they are willing to make small compromises. This will slowly build trust on their end. Things may not completely change but they may become smoother.

As far as the fear of losing your friends over this, keep in mind that usually a true friend will accept you, including the current issues you’re experiencing with your parents, for who you are and what you have to contribute to the friendship. If anyone walks away from you, then they never deserved to be your friend in the first place.

I hope this helps… Sending you lots of positive vibes,