How can you improve your relationship with your parents?

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 Your relationship with your parents is rather conflictual at the moment? Or conversely, you are rather fussy with them, and frustrated when they don't return your attention?

Parent-Child-Relationships

The first people we know in our lives are our parents. They are usually the people we spend the most time in our lives. However, this long-standing relationship tends to lead us into certain traps.

The reasons that make this relationship complicated

Here are the various reasons why parent-child relationships are particularly complicated:

  • The ties of the past. Unlike any new relationship, the relationship between you and your parents, you've been building it since you were very young. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage. You know your parents better than anyone else, but at the same time, you are very attached to all the events that have taken place since childhood. Events that are difficult to interpret objectively in your adult life.
  • Your will is non-reciprocal. Although you want to improve your relationship with your parents, they do not necessarily have this intention. They may be comfortable with their current relationship with you. This situation is impossible to change since it takes effort on both sides to make a relationship work. Otherwise, you fall into a perverse game.
  • Your ideal vision is not theirs. What is your image of an ideal relationship with your parents? That they are better role models for you? That they are more open to communication? More emotionally expressive? That they become good friends? In any case, they may not share the same ideal. If this is the case, and their expectations are very different, the conflict will be inevitable.
  • The generational gap. Each generation has lived with its own values. Thus, there will be differences in communication, state of mind, worldview, philosophy of life, way of expressing love, etc.
  • The different personality types. Your parents may have very different personalities from yours. Some things may seem trivial to them and very important to you, and vice versa. It is, therefore, necessary to understand what image they have of you, and then gradually work on it to make it evolve.

How can you improve your relationship with your parents?

Here are 7 very important tips to durably improve your relationship with your parents:

1. Think of it as a journey

Alas, there are no ready-made instructions for improving your relationship with your parents. In fact, there may not even be any change at first. Improving this relationship is a path to follow, a progressive goal. There is no end in itself.

It also takes time. Accept that your parents will not change overnight, that there is no goal to reach after X months. Show them that you sincerely want to change the situation. That it's not a whim or a whimsy. Anticipate their negative reactions, because your behavior change is new to them and they will have to adapt to it. Perseverance is the key.

2. Set aside your ideal parent-child relationship

Many times we have an ideal relationship in mind, especially when it comes to our own parents. During childhood and adolescence, we imagine them to be perfect, then this image fades as we become aware that they too have faults.

Our parents are not characters in TV shows or protagonists in books, and before they were parents they were men and women.

Therefore, the best way to advance your relationship with your parents is to let go of this ideal. The sooner you free yourself from this mistaken and limiting vision, the sooner your relationship will blossom and develop.

When you try to improve your relationship with your parents by maintaining an ideal, you are hurting yourself. You limit the possibilities for the relationship to evolve. It's like putting supports over a plant and insisting that it grow to a certain size and shape. It doesn't work that way.

only is it selfish, but it is also unfair to your parents because they too have an idea. An ideal different from yours. This is why it is necessary that this ideal be shared by you and by them.

3. Appreciate what they can offer you based on their capacity

Often we are frustrated with our parents because of things they don't do, or can't do. For example, we can be frustrated that they are so conservative, so closed-minded, so resistant to anything we want them to try. We can be frustrated at how slow they are with certain things.

Instead of focusing on what your parents don't do, learn to appreciate what they can offer you now.

For example, let's say you are frustrated that you only see your parents once a month. And that even if you manage to meet more often, they never seem to be available.

It is easy to be irritated by your parents because your ideal is to meet them every week. But if you forget about your ideal (see the previous point) and appreciate what they can offer you given their current capacity (i.e., one meeting per month only), you will greatly reduce the tension in your relationship with them.

You will enjoy your monthly visit much more because they offer you what they are capable of. Being aware of this soothes you, you don't have to fight for more. Because you know it's already the maximum and you can be satisfied with it.

4. Think about becoming a better child for them

Most of the time we point the finger at our parents' faults. We wonder why they are not smarter, richer, more open-minded, less stubborn, more positive, less harassing, calmer, more helpful, etc. We ask ourselves why they are not smarter, richer, more open-minded, less stubborn, more positive, less harassing, calmer, more helpful, etc.

Start by listening to their needs. Use their language of love (see the next point). Don't make things difficult for them. Let them go their own way, as long as it is not a matter of life or death. Let them choose to live their lives as they see fit.

Prepare what they need - usually, technology devices, if your parents don't understand it - because they rarely ask for help unless their backs are against the wall. Visit them often, if you don't live with your parents. Cook for them every week or every two weeks if possible. Call them once in a while so they know you're thinking of them.

Be careful though. Becoming a better child for them does not mean blending in with their ideal of what they have as sons and daughters (assuming they have an ideal). Stay aligned with your true nature, and improve the way you communicate with your parents, in your own way. Don't accept what you can't stand.

By reaching out to them, you will trigger an advance in return. You will make them aware that your relationship is important.

Langage-de-l-amour

5. Exchange in their language of love

The language of love reflects a person's way of expressing love. Everyone has their own way of expressing love. For some, it will be through physical touch, others through words, actions, etc. For others, it will be through words and actions. In his book, 5 Languages of Love, Gary Chapman explains that the 5 key languages of love used by people are :
  1. The words of affirmation
  2. Time spent together
  3. Receiving gifts
  4. To be of service
Since our parents lived in a different time from ours, it is not surprising that our language of love is also different.

Do you have any idea what love means to your parents? Instead of talking to your parents in your language of love, talk to them in their language of love. If this means that in their language, love means spending time together, then spend more time with them.

If in their language it is to receive gifts, then buy a small gift that means something to you and them. If their language is about affirmation, then give them a compliment and/or tell them how much you love them. That way, they will recognize your intentions more easily, and will be more willing to accept your expressions of attention.

Do this every day, and at every opportunity you have. Never stop doing it.

Don't force them to accept language they can't recognize. A bad example would be to insist on hugging them when they are clearly uncomfortable with the idea. Although you have the best of intentions, you are simply imposing your values on them. By using their language, you will get positive results faster.

6. Start with channels that are already open

If your relationship with your parents is very strained, start with the channels of communication already open.

For example, what are the means of contact between you and your parents today? Monthly family dinners? Occasional e-mail exchanges? Sporadic phone calls? Start from there. And work your way up from there.

In the same way, no matter how awful your relationship with your parents is today, there will always be openings through which you can move forward.

If there is none, i.e. all communication with your parents has been cut off, try the last mode of communication before everything has stopped. The one that was left on hold. Then progress from there.

In conclusion

No matter what state your relationship with your parents is in today, it can improve if you make the effort to improve it.

Don't give up at the first difficulties, because the path will be long and winding. You know the value of this relationship, it is irreplaceable in your life, do your best to renew and strengthen it. You will then discover the happiness of regaining the love of those who gave you life.
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