More often than not, talking to my parents seems eerily similar to exploring a minefield. Not that the latter is an activity I've personally experienced, but the exact imagery of abrupt and inescapable explosions accompany both the pursuits in my head. It's a dangerous territory that often brings whiplash-inducing experiences of treading the path of a civil conversation one minute, and both the parties yelling at top volume the next. The trickiest challenge to conquer is one of striking a balance between providing just enough information to have an honest talk and over-sharing as a result of getting swayed by emotions. Because we all know, the latter never ends well.
Well, a successful conversation with our parents is one that does not end in a screaming match, and to navigate through the dangers of giving away too much, and finally achieve success, you need to be tremendously diplomatic. More than choosing your words, choosing the topic you plan to talk about, will be a much more effective strategy in avoiding conflict. Because as much as you'd love the possibility of having a healthy debate with your parents, arguing against "because I said so" is a feat most fail, and so it's a situation best avoided altogether.
Calm thyself, for we will tell you how to do, what you've deemed impossible thus far. Simply put, we will help you have a friendly, non-confrontational conversation with your parents, by suggesting some neutral topics you can talk about. So without any further delay, here's a round-up of 5 conflict-free topics you can have a conversation with your parents on. Surprisingly (and sarcastically) enough, politics did not make the cut.
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1. Cherished Family Memories
One topic of conversation that's the least likely to get steered in the direction of an argument, revolves around your favourite memories with your fam. You could talk about the things you fondly remember, or ask your parents to share some fun stories of your childhood. If you have a family photo album lying around the house, we strongly recommend spending an afternoon going over the photos with your parents. Ask them about the people you come across in photos, but haven't personally interacted with and discuss all the exciting, heartwarming and downright hilarious family memories that have collected over the years.
2. Lighter News
We all know what happens when we try to discuss a piece of current affairs or daily news with our parents, that is likely to be met with a difference of opinion. A healthy political debate with our folks is out of the question for several people, especially for those of us used to being rebutted with "I know more than you". The best option? Pick up some news, fact or latest happening that is centred around a lighter subject than that of national governance. You can gossip about the latest happenings in the world of Bollywood movies, the positive impact of the lockdown on the planet or even the story of a dog rescuing a baby you read about on Reddit. The idea is to continue sharing information about worldly affairs with the 'rents, without venturing too far down the road of conflict and disagreement.
3. How To Do Or Make Something
Now, this is a conflict-free topic that your parents will gladly discuss with you. Our parents love to help us out by reaching into their own repository of knowledge and experience. Regardless of how old or "adultlike" you get, your mum and dad will never grow tired of teaching you new things, especially when you ask for it. So if there's a skill you've been meaning to pick up, and one or both your parents are adept at it, try asking for help in learning. Whether you want to ask your parents how to file tax returns or how to make an eggless cake, you're likely to receive an enthusiastic response.
4. Your Parents' Childhood
Often times, our generation grossly underestimates how fun the time of our parents' childhood was, simply because they did not have social media or any of the digital means we do now. The truth is, generation gaps don't necessarily have to be dividing, and instead, you can use it as something that brings you and your fam together. Express your curiosity and try to learn about the things that were different when your parents were children. You'll be amazed to discover a side of your parents you haven't so far, and in all likelihood will get some valuable lessons about living life authentically rather than in front of a screen.
5. Your Work
Our generations' definition of an ideal job is massively different from what our parents conceived as dream employment. Which is mostly because the things we value and look for in a job, vary significantly from the things our parents used to seek from work. For some of us, even explaining our designation might be a bit complicated, especially if its an unconventional, creative role your parents might have not heard of. But we urge you to give it a shot nonetheless. Sit down with your folks and talk about your job, the things you have learnt and the skills you want to develop. Be open-minded to their views instead of getting defensive, and you never know you might end up discovering some valuable insights related to your career planning.
The more you practice open discussion with your parents, the longer the list of acceptable topics will get. All you need is a mastery over the art of conflict avoidance.