What can I do when my mother tells me she hates my wearing bib overalls?

    “What can I do when my mother tells me she hates my wearing bib overalls?” New Era, Sept. 1972, 45–46

    “I am a sixteen-year-old girl who loves her mother, but she is always telling me how she hates my wearing bib overalls. What can I do?”

    Answer/Norma B. Ashton

    Your question seems to have a deeper implication than whether or not you continue to wear your bib overalls against your mother’s wishes. You say that you love your mother very much but are being sort of stubborn, and your mother is constantly reminding you how much she hates your wearing the overalls. Yet neither of you is gaining much ground. Perhaps now is the time for you two to use that great problem-solving device of communication. In the Bible we read, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord. …” (Isa. 1:18.) If you and your mother will find a quiet time to sit down privately and reason together about this problem, and any other problem that might arise between you, you will very probably be able to solve it together.

    Prepare yourself for “reasoning together.” One reason communication breaks down is because two people look at things differently. Go to your meeting with a desire to solve the problem with a loving feeling in your heart and with a willingness to understand your mother’s feelings. Give your mother your full attention, empathize with her, and try to see her point of view. To do this takes patience and courage. Listen to her without interrupting and ask her to do the same with you. Try to keep your emotions under control as you both exchange ideas. Listening with such understanding can open the channels of communication.

    Quietly think through your desire to wear the overalls. Ask yourself why you like to wear them. Is it because of the way they feel? Do you like the way they look on you and the way you look in them? Are they extra comfortable? Or are they a badge of your independence? Understand your own reasons and feelings and weigh each item carefully. Then express yourself clearly, quietly, and with a gentle voice to your mother.

    When each of you has heard the reasoning of the other, perhaps the answer to the problem will be evident. If not, it may be a time for compromise. Your mother may be willing to allow you to wear the overalls on some occasions if you will be willing to forego wearing them when it is particularly offensive to her. If guidelines can be set and adhered to, the constant reminding and resentment can be avoided. However, love and respect for each other is much more important than the issue at hand. Reasoning together can and should help family members solve problems and make home a place where love and happiness are ever present.