How Young People Can Speak Up for Their Needs


How Young People Can Speak Up for Their Needs

October 18, 2021

You deserve to express how you’re feeling! It’s easier said than done but speaking up for your needs—no matter who you’re talking to—is an essential skill to develop for protecting your mental and physical well-being. Here are some steps to follow to make sure your voice is heard, depending on who the conversation is with: 

With Providers

When you go to see your provider, you should feel welcome and safe, and they should make sure you’re comfortable voicing any questions and concerns. But often, it can be intimidating, especially if you don’t have a champion in the room, you’re new to going alone, or you’re seeing a new provider. You should know that not only do you deserve thoughtful, thorough, and diligent care, but you also deserve to be listened to. Arm yourself with a list of the questions you want answered ahead of time and be prepared to stick up for your perspective. You know your body best! If you’re finding that providers aren’t taking your concerns seriously, we have some tips on how you can practice medical self-advocacy to get the care you need and deserve. 

With Parents

Sometimes, it can feel like it’s their way or the highway. But even as a young person living under someone else’s roof, you still deserve respect from your parents! Not everyone is going to get along fantastically with their parents or want to tell them every detail about their personal lives, but every young person should feel comfortable speaking up to their parents about their needs. If you need support on the logistics of your life, try setting a time for going over important updates about school, sports, and weekend plans each day. If you need emotional support from the adults in your life, initiating an honest conversation about what you’re struggling with can help open the door for future discussion. 

With Partners

Every relationship will have its own boundaries. In a healthy relationship, both partners should not only feel heard and understood, but also feel comfortable speaking up about their needs and desires. It’s important to find someone who is willing to talk about their expectations for a relationship, such as the amount of time you’ll spend together, how often you want to text, how you feel about PDA, and so much more. Additionally, remember that being around someone you love should feel comfortable, so you shouldn’t have to worry that they’re going to judge you or criticize you for voicing your needs. 

With Peers

While some people might think that it’s easier to speak your mind around friends, that’s not always the case and peer pressure can stand in the way. With friends, you might be inclined to go along with the group, even if your gut is telling you not to. But when it comes to friendships, those who you want by your side for the long run are those you respect your curfew, don’t pressure you into partying, and understand when you need alone time (to give just a few examples). To set yourself up for success, you can try to be clear about your expectations in the group chat before hanging out and making it clear which parts of the plan are non-negotiable for you.