How do you improve your relationship with your parents?

By: Daniela Ferrer

Children, especially teenagers, feel as if their parents expect too much from them. Many don’t feel understood, and therefore, argue constantly about insignificant issues.  One argument leads to another, until a moment arises when both sides realize that they have no relationship.  If you find yourself in this situation, below are steps that could help you improve your relationship with your parents.

  1. Take the first step. If you feel your relationship with your parents is unhealthy, take the first step and act first. Begin by making small changes in the way you act and respond to your parents. You could start by smiling, being kinder, or even write a simple, but heartfelt note. You parents will then notice you are trying.
  2. Be grateful. Appreciate what you have. Think about all the necessities your parents have provided for you. You have a house, a meal on the table everyday, new clothes to wear…etc. Think about how your parents have helped, guided, and influenced the way you think. You could also let your parents know you appreciate everything they have done for you by making them a thoughtful gift or even do some extra housework or chores you have never taken care of before.
  3. Put yourself on their shoes. Take your parents perspectives. Talk about the reasons behind your/their actions. Listen to their responses and why they act or think a certain way. Take into consideration that your parents grew up in a different generation, at a different time from now. They may have grown up a certain way and have some religious or moral beliefs. Think about how the time period and traditions during their early years might have been different from yours. You could help by reminding them that times change and help yourself by remembering that some manners and ways of behaving do not change so drastically. Tell them to think about their relationship with their own parents too. See if they could relate somehow.
  4. Think of them as adults, not as parents. Look up to your parents as regular adults, to prevent behaving in a childish way. This will promote a healthier, more mature and understandable relationship with them.
  5. Figure out a cause. Understand what specifically is bothering you about your relationship with your parents. You might feel your parents give you too much unnecessary advice or even treat you as a little girl/boy. Explain how you are growing up and want to be treated as the adult you are becoming, but keep in mind that this also comes with responsibilities. Also remember that you are still their child and need to understand they only remind you of many things often and give lots of advice because they love you.
  6. Family day. Choose one day to spend with your parents as a family. You can go out to the movies or for lunch. You could choose whatever you want to do one time and your parents can choose what they want to do the next time. The whole point of this is to spend time together and let each other know what they like to do. It does not even have to be a set date in the calendar, just to make sure you’ve spent at least a day out of the week with your family.
  7. Talk about what’s happening in both your life and their lives. Talk and treat your parents as your friends. Be open and trust them, talk to them about anything you need. Most of us hide events and information in our lives from our parents in fear of disapproval, but try to overcome this and show your parents you really trust them.
  8. Be patient and willing to do anything in order to reach this goal. Just “go with the flow”, and be calm. Don’t overreact or be dramatic when talking to your parents, since you may end up saying things you may regret in the future.
  9. Be respectful. Be considerate and respectful to your parents, even if you don’t agree with their values or principles. Try using a more polite, soft-spoken language and let them finish speaking before you say what you have to say.
  10. Don’t let the situation worsen. If you happen to argue with your parents, fix your relationship before it gets worse. Try to do your best when making up for your mistakes, this will show your parents you really care about them.
  11. Be positive. Smile at your parents more often. Try to have a positive and optimistic attitude. Let them know you are happy and that you care. The positive communication you are beginning to have with your parents may be a major factor in helping improve your relationship.
  12. Be open and honest. Talk to your parents about things you feel are uncomfortable. This will enhance a more trusting relationship with them. If you listen to your parents it is more likely for them to listen to you.
  13. Make some rules. If you are trying to improve your relationship with your parents, but most of the time end up in an argument, sit and talk to them about establishing new rules. Each write their own rules and after you are done, talk about them. Write the rules in which both your parents and you agree on, and commit yourselves to following them, do this when necessary. It’s like renewing a contract.
  14. Avoid unnecessary disagreements. Bite your tongue if it is necessary, but don’t respond to anything controversial or offensive your parents say. If you feel like if it’s necessary for you to answer, try to do so in a modest, respectful way. You may be avoiding an argument this way.
  15. Be mature. Be fair and logical. Show your parents you are mature, and they will most likely do so, too.

Additional resources:

 http://psychcentral.com                                                                                              http://researchgate.com                                                                        http://contemporaryfamilies.org                                                                              http://kidshealth.org


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