Problems between parents and children are common and timeless. The relationship between parents and children requires a delicate balance. If you are looking to improve your relationship with your parents, you are not alone. Developing a better relationship with your parents involves assessing the underlying cause of the issues, fostering a more mature relationship with them, and focusing on changing how you think and behave.
If you currently have a negative relationship with your parents, or a so-so relationship, but desire to improve it, here are a few steps that can be taken to make that happen.
Figure out the underlying cause.
Assess what in particular is troubling you about your relationship with your parents. There are several reasons you may want to improve your relationship.
You may feel that you parents give too much unwanted advice, treat you like a kid, do not respect your opinions, guilt you into spending time with them, or disrespect your friends or spouse. Be sure to have a good sense of the particular aspect of your relationship that you want to improve, and then work on it.
Take responsibility for your part in your family.
One of the easiest ways to wreck a family is to always blame others when things go wrong. Just remember this, if you are having struggles with your family, most likely you can share the blame. The part you can control the most is your own attitude. Do you always have to react with an argument or frustration? Are there times you could choose to just let it go?
Take a deep breath rather than argue in times of conflict. Give them a little help, maybe they need it, maybe they don’t. If they ask you to do something like, clean the kitchen when you have a huge exam the next day, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and then calmly explain that you need to study. Maybe suggest that they help you to get the task done faster. They really do want what is best for you, even if it is hard to see it at times.
Appreciate your parents more.
Even though you are grown and on your own, you still need your parents. Your mom might no longer be cooking your meals or doing your laundry, and dad might no longer be the guy who fixes your car. But there are still plenty of ways for your parents to help you out.
Whether their help is monumental or strictly an unasked-for act of kindness, it is important to let them know you appreciate their help and kindness.
Be a better child to them.
A lot of times we pinpoint faults in our parents, wondering why they can’t be smarter/richer/more open-minded/less stubborn/more positive/less naggy/quieter/more supportive/etc. Instead of that, try a different tack — get along better with your parents by thinking about how you can be a better child to them.
Ways to start:
- Start by being sensitive to their needs.
- Don’t make things difficult for them. Let them have their way if it’s not a life or death situation.
- Pre-empt things they need help in (usually technology-related stuff if your parents are not tech-savvy), as parents can be quite unwilling to ask for help unless they’re pushed to the wall.
- Take them out for a meal – make it a weekly or biweekly occasion if possible.
- Give them a call just so they know you’re thinking of them right now.
In being a better child to them, note that it’s not about molding yourself to become their ideal of what a son/daughter should be. You want to stay true to yourself and improve how you treat your parents in your own way.
Avoid unnecessary arguments.
Sometimes arguments are unavoidable, but do your best to refrain from unnecessary squabbles. This may mean that you have to bite your tongue when one of your parents says something controversial.
Determine whether the need to respond is really necessary. If it is, make the point clearly and modestly in order to avoid an overly emotional argument.
Learn to follow their advice
When it comes to learning about life, you can greatly benefit from your parents’ experience and wisdom. There is no greater teacher than experience. Because of your parent’s age, they simply have more years of experience than you, and therefore, often have the ability to identify the people, events, and circumstances that can greatly affect your life.
Many times, they have already been through what you are facing and understand how to react to the situation. While it’s humbling to admit, you do not have all the answers to life’s situations. Your parents’ experience can help you avoid all kinds of wrong choices that cause heart-breaking consequences.
Respect their opinion.
The best way to have a good relationship with your parents is to respect their opinions even if you don’t agree with them. They have been through more of life and know more about the world than you do. They may not always understand your reasons, but they have a point to make, and you should listen to their views. Your parents can teach you a lot of things and keep you from a lot of pain, both physical and emotional, if you will keep an open mind and really think about what they are saying.
If you actually listen to what they are trying to tell you and not just blow it off, and think here we go again another lecture, then it will have more of an advantage to you. Your parents just want to make sure you don’t make the same mistakes they did.
Be open and honest.
One way to improve your relationship dynamic is to be more willing to talk to your parents about things that you may feel are uncomfortable. This will help to build trust in your relationship with your parents, which will improve your relationship with them.
Keep in regular contact so your parents can get a better perspective on your life, what upsets you, and what makes you happy. If they do not know you that well, it will be difficult for them to try to improve the relationship. If you listen to your parents, they will be more likely to listen to you, opening the door for you to try discussing improving the relationship.
Spend time with your parents
Spending time with your parents, and learning to communicate with them, can actually transform your relationship. It’s hard to understand and appreciate someone if you never spend any quality time with them.
Spend time with your parents reminiscing about old times, or make time to create new memories by renewing your interest in similar activities. Also, spend some time talking to your parents to discover if you have any new shared interests that you did not have when you were growing up.