How to Have a Good Relationship with your Parents
It can be the most complicated of all relationships, that between an adult and his/her parents or in-laws. When the child makes the transition to adult, the entire relationship changes. Often, either the child or the adult cannot make the transition, which can lead to difficulties.
It's a relationship that must endure a lifetime, but it's not necessarily based on affection. You didn't choose to be thrusted into your parents lives...and they had no idea what you were going to be like. You didn't choose each other, yet you must get along.
To make the most of the relationship with your parents, try a little patience and understanding. Read below for more advice on How to Have a Good Relationship with Your Parents or In-Laws.
The Good Child-Parent Relationship
If you usually get along with your parents and in-laws, good for all of you. And, if you actually like them? Count your lucky stars. Such a peaceful relationship is rare and beautiful. When a child and parent can share their lives together, it can be one of the most fulfilling relationships of your lives.
So, what are good parents? Good parents:
- Do not give advice, unless explicitly asked
- Respect the privacy of their adult children
- Respect the choices that their children make
- Lead a life which does not revolve around their adult children
Having said that, adult children have an equally important role in the relationship. Good adult children:
- Do not over-share information about their marriage or children
- Respect the privacy of their parents
- Do not EXPECT parents to continue in a parenting role, either monetarily or as babysitters for grandchildren
- Do not revert into children when around their parents
Not all good parent-child relationships are close. Are you not close to your parents, but you still get along fine? There's nothing wrong with that. As they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it. This is perfectly acceptable, if it works for you.
The Difficult Child-Parent Relationship
If you have a sticky relationship with your parents, it may be one of because you have parents like these:
- Parents who butt-in and give unwanted advice
- Parents who take advantage of you
- Parents who still treat you like a child
- Parents who gossip and spread rumors about you
- Parents who guilt you into doing things
- Parents who disrespect your spouse/significant other
- Parents who disapprove of your life and your choices...and constantly remind you of this
We all wish we could have great relationships with our parents, but for many of us, it's just not possible. In this situation, it may be best to take a step backward.
We can become so emotional when it comes to dealing with our parents. It may be that, when you dad yells at you, it makes you feel like a helpless child who's being scolded for drawing on the living room wall. It can force old, painful feelings to surface. The important thing to remember is, you are not a helpless child anymore. Now that you are an adult, you must dictate the rules for the relationship with your parents.
If you have a parent who disrespects you, it may be time to take action. If you parent is reasonable, you may want to sit down and discuss the situation. Approach them with respect, but be firm.
If you have a mother who constantly gives your children soda, even after you have asked her not to, you may need to bring the matter to her attention in a serious but respectful way.
"Mom, in the past, I've asked you not to give my kids soda, but you continue to give it to them. It makes them wild and crabby and it just makes my life more difficult. In the future, I want you to respect my wishes. An occassional soda is fine, but you have to ask me first."
Now, your mother may take great offense at this. She may get defensive or angry. She may give you the silent treatment or gossip about you with all your aunts and cousins. If she does, you may need to let her cool off for a while. But you've gotten your message across. Hopefully, she will come around quickly and will respect your wishes in the future.
Now, if your parent is not reasonable, it will probably do no good to attempt a discussion. Unreasonable parents are called Toxic Parents.
Toxic parents are the ones who bring no good to your life.
- An alcholic father who guilts you into giving him money.
- An emotionally unstable mother who makes up emergencies so you'll rush to her "rescue."
- A domineering father who brutally abused you, but refuses to acknowledge it.
- A malicious mother who constantly blames you for ruining her life.
If you have wonderful parents, you may think that parents like this don't really exist. But, if you are like so many people around the world, you know these parents. You know them well.
The truth is, you don't owe your parents anything.
You've probably tried to help them. You've been dealing with this for most of your life, right? Nothing has ever changed. Or maybe things have gotten worse. The truth is, you don't have to remain in this difficult relationship. Just as you can be separated from a spouse, you can do the same with parents.
If you have a parent who brings only sorrow and guilt and shame to your life, you have the right to walk away. Just like that. Write a letter, explaining why you must end the relationship. Tell them that, until their behavior improves, you cannot be a part of their life.
This may be the most awful and exhausting thing that you ever do. But if this action will save your marriage, save your children, save yourself from further damage, it may be the best thing you ever do.
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Continue on to Relationships With Children.