So you're young and have just discovered goth subculture... and now you're afraid of talking to your parents about it.
In an ideal world, when a young person decides to explore the goth subculture, their parents would be supportive. At the very least, not react with fear / disapproval. Unfortunately, that ideal world doesn’t exist. So what can you do when your parents react poorly?
- Many parents are hesitant about their children expressing an interest in goth because the very foundation of the subculture is about exploring and examining ideas that are not always happy, ideas that make people feel unsettled and uneasy. Parents, with the best of intentions, want to protect their kids from that for as long as they possibly can, even if that protective attitude isn’t actually helping anyone.
- That concern is frequently paired with the VERY WRONG misconception that goth encourages self-harm.
Here's how you can do it....read on!
In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to tell and convince your parents about your interest in goth subculture.
Educate Yourself and Your Parents
Before talking to your parents about your interest in goth subculture, it is important to educate yourself about it. Read books and articles about the subculture, and learn about its history, music, fashion, and beliefs.
Once you have educated yourself, it's time to educate your parents. Talk to them about what you have learned, and explain that goth subculture is not about promoting negative behaviors or beliefs. It is a form of self-expression that allows you to explore your individuality and creativity.
Be Honest and Open
When talking to your parents about your interest in goth subculture, it is essential to be honest and open. Share your reasons for being interested in goth, and express how it makes you feel. Explain that it is not just a phase or a rebellion against your parents or society.
Your parents may have some concerns about goth subculture, such as its association with depression and suicide. Assure them that you understand these concerns but that goth subculture is not about promoting negative behaviors or beliefs. Explain how it allows you to express yourself and helps you feel more confident and empowered.
Show Them Positive Examples
One of the best ways to convince your parents about your interest in goth subculture is to show them positive examples of the subculture. You can share music, books, movies, and art that reflect the positive aspects of goth subculture. Show them how goth subculture has inspired creativity and art in many forms.
You can also introduce your parents to other people in the goth subculture who are successful and happy. This can help to alleviate any concerns they may have and show them that being part of the subculture can be a positive experience.
Arm yourself with examples of family-friendly goth media such as The Addams Family, The Munsters, Beetlejuice, The Nightmare Before Christmas, Monster High, Coraline, Paranorman, Ruby Gloom, or the Vampire Kisses YA book series. Those are just a few examples – I am sure there are many more! Play them songs by The Cure, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Voltaire, or Rasputina. Point out to them that the goth label applies to literary classics such as Dracula, Wuthering Heights, and everything by Edgar Allan Poe.
If your parents are still hesitant about your interest in goth subculture, it may be necessary to compromise. For example, they may not be comfortable with certain aspects of the subculture, such as the clothing or makeup. In this case, you can find a compromise by agreeing to dress in a more toned-down version of goth fashion or by only wearing goth clothing on certain occasions.
It's important to remember that compromise is not about giving up your identity or values. It's about finding a way to respect your parents' concerns while still being true to yourself.
Most importantly, to any younger goths facing this: be strong. Your parents are probably saying these things out of fright, because society does try to freeze out those who are different, and your parents may feel that they’re being “cruel to be kind” to get you to change into a person who will be safe from bullying and discrimination. They’re terribly misguided and wrong, but they may feel that they’re trying to protect you.
Do what you can to find online communities that support you, and that will make you feel less alone. If you worry that your parents will monitor your internet use, go to your local library and use their computers when you can.
15 years ago, I was not aware of everything that is outlined here for obvious reasons; but time has taught me everything and has healed the pain that I felt when I first brought it up with my parents.
With love, ~Steph