Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States
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My sister and I have a problem communicating with our father. He is hard to please, does not allow us to go out with our friends, nor talk freely on the phone with them. Life for us is just good grades, homework, and house chores with no fun. When will we be able to go out into the world and be independent and learn from our mistakes?

I want to assure you that your father's behavior is out of love and care for you. Your father feels he is solely responsible for you now and wants to protect you as much as he can. He does not want to loose you. He would like to be with you as much as he can specially that he is often forced to travel and leave you. I want you to put yourself in his place and think the way he thinks. What are his motives? I doubt very much that he just wants to give you a hard time or just be stubborn for no reason. It is the fear of the unknown and the protection he owes you that dictate his decisions. Give him support and comfort and do not give him reasons to be worried about you. Again I will have to say approach him in a nice way without challenging him. With love and understanding you can achieve more, and be ready to sacrifice some of your desires in order to reach an understanding with your father and establish peace at home.

I am sure between you and your sister it is not hard to finish the chores asked of you. Do not ask for too much but what is really reasonable, so you do not make him feel you are too demanding, avoid making stressing him out. You say "we need to learn from our mistakes." What is so good about making a mistake and then regret it and live with the painful memories of it? Parents want to spare their children that loss and that pain. Make your Dad feel you understand his position and that he is not your enemy but your friend who wants the best for you. Then discuss with him calmly and reasonably without being offensive.
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