CONTACT Dear Dr. T: 'I'm ready to go home' - Dr. Christian Thurstone

Dear Dr. T: My mom and I just can’t seem to get along. Whenever I’m home, we always get into arguments around the stupidest stuff. Neither of us will let up, so I usually end up going over to a friend’s house for the night. I’ve been living at one friend’s house for a few weeks now, but I’m ready to go home. How should I approach my mom so we can live together again? — Tired

Dear Tired: First, think about why you want to go home. Do you miss something about home or about your mom? Thinking about these things will help motivate you to work things out. You can also share some of these thoughts with your mom when you start to talk with her.

Next say to your mom something that goes like this, “Mom, I’m ready to come home now. What do you need from me to make things calmer between us?” You can also let your mom know the reasons why you want to come home. For example, you can say, “Mom, I miss you and the good times we’ve had,” or whatever else is genuine and appreciative.

Once you have this conversation by phone or text, let your mom know what your needs are. To be clear, you should say something like, “Mom, this is what I need from you.” Examples could be:

  • “I need to be able to take a time out if things get tense,”
  • “I need to avoid talking about this certain thing for a while,” or
  • “I want to spend time with you doing what we used to do.”

The point of this conversation is also to find out what your mom needs from you. Then, do your best to follow through on these things. Apologize when you fall short, and let your mother know in a nice way when you feel your needs are not being met.

Disclaimer: The comments made by Dr. Christian Thurstone are not intended as, and should not be considered, medical or psychiatric advice. Though he strives to provide information and perspective that is accurate and useful, he recommends that you seek the services of a competent, independent mental health professional in the relevant jurisdiction for the personal help and advice you may require.

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About Chris Thurstone

Dr. Christian Thurstone is one of about three dozen physicians in the United States who are board certified in general, child and adolescent and addictions psychiatry. He is medical director of one of Colorado’s largest youth substance-treatment programs and an associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver (UCD), where he conducts research on youth substance use and addiction and serves as director of medical training for the university’s addiction psychiatry fellowship program.

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