The Circle of Control







A teenager’s centre of control

As we all know that teens are yet the young people who are classified to be very disrespectful and rebellious to many things. But they have a few things that are not in control of and some that they are in complete control of.

They are in control of the following:

  • Their intimate behaviour
  • Their attitude
  • Their friends
  • Their academics


There are many other things that they are not in control of which is their emotions and how their parents over all behave in the whole process of growing up as a teen we all need support from our parents and many other people to be able to grow in a well based manner and that we do not become “wrecked” adults in the future. As we all deal with peer pressure we should know all our centres of control to be able to deal with all the coming obstacles.



When do I drop the bombshell?

When is the best time to approach your parents?

The best way to approach your parents depends on what it is you want to tell them or talk to them about. If it is something that is very serious, that might make them go bananas, make sure the first thing you do is to get them to sit down with you in a room and start very slowly. But first of all, you should clean the house for them and make them a cup of tea, especially if they are from work. It’s what we call the “BTU” method. BTU=Butter Them Up! 🙂 That will lessen the stress they will be having from work. Never ever talk to your parents sitting down. Rather sit on the floor or go on your knees. You should also never talk to them with your hands in your pocket or folded arms, this would show your lack of respect towards them.


Simba Matema


I’m only a teenager. What can I do?

What can a teenager, realistically do?

As a teenager, you do not really have any influence on a lot of things although, the relationships you may have with people, are in your circle of control. Something we struggle with, is the relationship between ourselves and our parents, we feel that since they’re older they wouldn’t understand anything we go through. That is just where we go wrong, because they know about the “big bad world.” And they have had their experiences, yes they aren’t the same or similar, but there is something we can learn.

We can start off by, trying to speak to them and help them in understanding how you feel or what you’re going through.

You could ask somebody, maybe close to your parent(s) to talk to them, maybe that way, they’ll understand better.

You could go for counselling, with your parent(s). Maybe then, you are able to express how you feel, you may also be enabled to say things you haven’t been able to say before.

You could try and understand their point of perspective. Ask them why their insisting on that particular thing, they may have had experience in that situation, which would be why they try to protect you.

Another thing, we need to learn, is that people make mistakes. Our parents fall under that category,  they won’t always be right, but they can help, and if they do make a mistake, take time to really think about the situation. Think about if, maybe…. They’ve tried to reach out to you, and you were ignorant.

We’re not saying, worship your parents, because they’re also at fault if not to blame at times, but keep in mind. They know all about the “big-bad world”.


Refilwe Melanie Diale

So who do I ask?

It’s all very well to say that you have problems with your parents, but who can you actually approach to help you? This post will give you a few suggestions on who to go to when you need that extra person.

In a family situation, it is better to talk to a relative, for instance, a grandparent. Reason being, someone who is close to the family might know about the issues you are experiencing, or even have noticed them too. With a grandparent, they might have acted the same way as your parents are acting now. Also, it is proven that parents pick up strange or negative behavior more quickly than others. So your grandparents are bound to have more insight in the situation. Also, it’s good to have that maternal/ paternal touch, even if those children are now adults. Thirdly, your parents are more likely to listen to an adult than listen to you.


However, we understand that not everybody has other family members that they can talk to, so sometimes you should reach outside of the house. Your first go-to person outside of home should be a school guidance counselor. It might be really uncool and weird to be seen coming out of the psychologist’s office every day, but remember, they’re trained when it comes to this kind of thing. If anyone’s going to give you helpful advice, it’s going to be them. And who knows, they might turn out to be really cool!

If you don’t have a big family AND you’re school doesn’t have a guidance counselor, you’re next option should be a spiritual leader. You might not know it, but religion has many references to domestic life and how to handle it. With the help of your spiritual leader, you might find yourself coming closer to not only your parents, but the deity you worship as well.


The last option – and we left it last for a reason, is your friend. Talking to a friend can be potentially dangerous, because they’re going to give you biased information. They only know you’re side of the story and so, the information they give you can be a bit inaccurate. So, we say that you should leave talking to a friend for last. But definitely, if you’re just looking for someone to listen, a friend is a good option.

Allucious Sereo

What do you want?

Now, it’s easy enough for you to say what you hate about your parents, but what kind of relationship do you want to have with them? We talked to a few students and did a little research and we found out quite a few interesting things.

Teenagers want, above all, a parent who will listen to them without interruption. They want someone who can sit down with them at the end of a long day and just talk. They want a parent who can give them good advice and who they can trust. They want to be able to tell their parents everything they tell their best friend. They want an open, honest relationship.

Secondly, teenagers want parents who don’t nag. They want a relationship where they don’t have to be constantly doing well or doing the best. They want someone who will congratulate them when they’re on the top and console them when they’re at the bottom- not someone who will interrogate them as to why they failed that one history test. They also want parents who can remember what it was like to be a teenager. They want a parent with empathy, who understands the kind of challenges we face everyday and doesn’t judge, but merely helps where necessary.

Funnily enough, a few people said they wanted parents who would punish them. When pressed further, these people said that they wanted parents in the house who would care enough to judge if whatever they were doing was good or bad, and if bad, be present enough to recognise this and punish it. This makes more sense. We all want parents who are around, don’t we? No one wants to be in a house where the dad has a hangover and is sleeping all the time or the mom creeps out every day to go and get high. We want parents who are present with us and care enough for us not to destroy themselves so they can be there for us.

So, now that we know what kind of relationships we want to have with our parents, we can start working towards building these relationships with them.

Murray Hines

Different scenarios you might find yourself in

When parents are fighting

  • Know that this is quite normal in a relationship and that they still love each other.
  • When the argument happens, get away from the arguing, somewhere you can go to until the fight is over
  • If fights get out of hand- hitting, shoving and swearing, or if anyone gets hurt, let someone/ an adult know.
  • Let out some steam for a while before you talk to them.
  • Try to talk to them about how you feel and maybe come up with a solution together.

When your parents are never satisfied with your achievements

  • Remember that you can’t please everyone, you should do most of these achievements for your personal reasons
  • Talk to them about how you feel, then you can understand some of your parents actions
  • If that doesn’t work out, talk to someone else you trust and a mentor or family/school therapist for help and talk to the family from there.
  • Try to acknowledge from time to time, that might be the problem
  • Obey your parents, they will appreciate you obedience to them
  • Try to brighten their day from time to time when you can
  • Show gratitude

When your parents are thinking of divorce or have divorced

  • Talk with a person you trust about you feel and try not to fall apart.
  • Talk about why the divorce is happening has happened
  • Understand that you are not the reason why
  • Try to keep in touch with each parent
  • Do NOT take any sides
  • Mentioning the fact that you don’t want to be caught in the middle
  • Try to incorporate them into your life, in special events, without making it awkward, by letting them discus it through
  • Try to continue living life as normal as possible, this way your life won’t be heavily affected

When you parents don’t listen to you when you need them to and always think the worst before talking to you

  • When they have free time at home, try and talk to them about this matter. Not angrily or with “sass” as it won’t help, rather in a sincere approach.
  • Don’t become pushy with this subject, as it will repel them form the subject even more.
  • Be patient, as your parent(s) may be very and have little time.
  • In your talks, try to discuss ways of avoiding lack of bonding time and misunderstanding
  • Try to acknowledge from time to time, that might be the problem
  • Obey your parents, they will appreciate you obedience to them
  • Try to brighten their day from time to time when you can
  • Show gratitude

If your parent are overprotective and it’s annoying you

  • Have a talk with them with another adult you trust, tell them that you are not as young as they treat you. Have a therapist or your parents’ friend or another parent (who isn’t overly protective) to tell them it is important for you to experience certain things and that you will not grow with their constant “babying”
  • Show the responsibility and maturity in you, they will soon see that you are a big boy/girl

Your parents just don’t care

  • Take it to God/ think religious, go to church ask for support
  • Talk to them about this matter
  • Threaten to go to orphanage/social workers

If solutions fail

  • Go to church and seek spiritual guidance from God.
  • Go to family therapists
  • Go to social workers directly
  • Go to police
  • If divorced, go to other parent and talk about it

Oratile Ndimande

Let’s begin



Parents. One word that can send shivers down most teenagers’ spines. We feel like we’re not being heard, that our parents are being unreasonable, that they’re too controlling and that they want us to follow their dreams, not ours. And do they really have to honk the horn every time they drop us off at school? It’s like they were born without a shred of self-consciousness. Like that weird girl who always makes conversation with everyone, even though she stinks to high heaven. Yup, your parents and that girl would go awesomely together.

Of course, you also get the parents who you end up raising, because they can’t raise themselves, let alone you. The drug addicts, the ones who are always fighting, the ones who can’t keep a job because they keep stealing things from the company. We cater for your needs as well.

Now, breathe. You’re not the only teenager who feels like this. In fact, if you actually talk to your parents occasionally, you’re in the minority group. So that’s a start. And this blog will help, we promise. We know a little something about dealing with embarrassing, annoying and sometimes shameful parents, because we have to deal with them too! And between all of us, we’ve come up with a few handy ways to deal with these alien creatures. This series of blogs should end you on a high note with your parents! If not, we’ll shut down the site and hang our heads in shame. 🙂