Parents—they’re the ones who gave us life, the reason we came into existence. Yet, for some of us, our relationship with them is not as ideal and as it should be. Circumstances or emotions lead it to get pretty strained, but it’s not irreversible. If you are looking to improve your relationship with your parents, read on.
1. Don’t overshare
Repeat after me: your parents are not supposed to be your best friends. It is great to be on friendly terms, but asking for backslapping buddies who know everything about you is going too far. Flooding them with TMI is only asking for trouble. Let them know what’s going on in your life, but know where to start and where to stop. No, this isn’t being deceitful, its being realistic. Software engineer Lubna Shaikh says, “Don’t burden your mom and dad with details they won’t understand. A ‘generation gap’ isn’t just a fancy term, it is very real. As hard as you try, there are some things they just won’t understand and vice versa. Bond over what you can, forget the rest. Trust me, you will be doing all of you a huge favour.”
2. Don’t open up old wounds unless they can be healed
It is not unusual for a child to have grievances over something their folks did in the past. As tempting as it is to repeatedly bring up something they shouldn’t have done or said, don’t. Discuss it once and rest your case. Dentist Humerah Inamdar agrees, “Don’t bring up past issues repeatedly unless you have found a way to fix them. If something is resolved don’t bring it up in a fight. For those incidents that have no solution, even when they have accepted their fault, let it go. Not everything in life has closure. Forgive or forget, but move on already!”
3. Give it time and distance
One of the most effective ways to gain perspective in any relationship is relying on distance and time. If it is feasible, move out of their space and get your own. Not being under their roof 24×7 will give you some much-needed headspace, especially after a heated argument or a difference of opinion. Amit Negi, media professional, says, “I moved out when I was in my first year of graduation. I was 18 and it wasn’t easy for my parents or for me. My mom especially was heartbroken, but I needed to do this to be independent. I’m glad I did! Living alone also taught me the value of parents, with them, there’s someone always there to look after your matters, cook for you, care for you. I learned this only after I went away from them. I can say that today, I’m closer to them and value them more than ever before.”
4. Keep it real
Do not give in to knee-jerk responses when you are upset with them (let’s not forget how much our parents do for us, sometimes even without our knowledge). Cool down and talk to them calmly so you can explain your side of the story without being disrespectful. And if they still don’t agree, let the difference of opinion be. As an adult, no one can make you do anything without your consent. So whether they are giving you orders or blackmailing you emotionally, don’t do it if you don’t think it is right for you. My father neither expected nor encouraged me, an IT engineer, to pursue writing. But I did it anyway, because I knew that I would never forgive myself for giving up my passion.
No human is perfect, and parents aren’t any different. There are bound to be many issues in your parent-child relationship. Focus on the aspect that is most problematic and work on improving it first. Once that is done, move down the list. It will be hard now, but years later, you will be glad you made the effort.
What did you do to develop a healthier relationship with your parents? Share your tips in the comments below.
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