Why Don't My Parents Trust Me To Take My Medications?

It's Not A Matter of Trust—Your Parents Want What's Best For you

Mother and teen daughter
An honest and open conversation with your parents can help you to both accept your newfound independence.. Image © Jupiterimages / Stockbyte / Getty Images

It's not uncommon for teens who need to take medication to manage their inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), or another health condition, to feel frustrated by parents who seemingly always bother them about whether or not they've taken their dose on time. If you're a teen bothered by this, you're not alone.

Why Your Parents Are Looking for Control

It’s not a matter of trust. Your parents are worried about you, and they want you to be healthy.

They’re used to helping you and taking care of you. Think about it—you spent the first several years of your life totally dependent on them because you were a baby and then a small child. It’s going to take some time for everyone to get used to the idea that you are now a teen and are more independent.

How Do I Prove To Them That I Can Take Care of Myself?

Your parents may know deep down that you can, but it might take them time to adjust to the idea. Ask your parents if they can trust you to take your medications for one day. The deal is that they shouldn’t ask you about your medications for an entire 24 hours. If your parents have been reminding you to take your prescriptions, you’ll need to come up with a way to remember to do so yourself. You can program an alarm on your cell phone, tablet, or computer to remind you. Or, try a pill organizer or writing out your schedule on a whiteboard or piece of paper.

At the end of the day, you should sit down together and talk about how everything went. Did it go well? Were you able to handle everything on your own? Hopefully the answers to these questions are “yes,” and you will have shown that you are on top of things. If the answer is "no," and this is where teens should be truthful both with themselves and their parents, all is not lost.

Instead, it is a time to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and how to improve things so that they go according to plan tomorrow.

Take Small Steps Towards Self-Care

After you’ve proven yourself for a day, ask if you can be trusted to take care of your own medications for one week. This step will be harder for them, and for you, but you can succeed if you have a plan and stick to it. After you’ve proven yourself for a week, sit down with your parents again and talk about the plan for the future.

You can suggest that you have a weekly check-in with your parents to talk about your schedule for the week, how you will remember to take your medications, and how the previous week went. Some weeks you might need their help, and that’s OK. You shouldn't have to feel stress because you are doing too much. If you have come this far, you have shown your parents that you are responsible enough to do this on your own.

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