Almost inevitably, conflict and arguments will break out between even the most important and loved figures in our lives. The unfortunate truth is that many of us have been burdened with a broken relationship with the people who raised us (or didn’t) for years. That’s not what we’re talking about here.
When there is serious tension in a relationship, you don’t need a list of symptoms to know that you need to heal and detox the relationship. However,most people can miss the subtle signs that beneath the bond shared with your parents lies a broken element- something that doesn’t fit.
You can choose to ignore the red flags and end up having a decent relationship with mom and dad for years. But the truth is, you will never reach a fulfilling and healthy relationship unless you address these things. We believe that it’s worth it.
1. You Always Want Them Around
Your parents are precious to you, and even more so when you’re an adult. But, if you find yourself automatically depending on them to help with daily tasks like babysitting, fixing things around the house, lending money, or calming you down during a stressful time, it’s possible you’re still carrying around the old dynamics of a parent-child relationship.
Adult children and their parents maintain a healthy relationship using clear boundaries. You should be able to accomplish everything on your own, without constantly dragging mom or dad into the picture. If you’re married or in a relationship, your partner should be your emotional support, not them.
2. You Expect to Be Just Like Each Other
Parents raise their children according to their own values, naturally. But with maturation and experience, adult children often develop their own sense of where they want to be in life. When differences of opinion always seem to spark an argument, it’s time to consider what parental expectations need to be let go, so they can accept who you’ve become as an independent person.
Similarly, if you’re constantly turning to your parents for advice, it might be a sign that you’re actually relying on their approval of your choices. Remember that after all is said and done, only you can know what the best course of action is for you. Limit your advice-seeking to when you truly need an experienced opinion to weigh in.
3. Your Conversations Are Always About You
For some, this means always taking trips down memory lane. For others, it could mean going over unresolved conflicts and past arguments again and again.
For yet others, this could mean only giving “updates” about what’s new in your career and family life. All of these trap you and your parents into the old roles of parent and child, instead of parent and adult child.
These conversational habits can be difficult to get out of, but when you open up to new topics and speak to your parents about other things like you would your friends, you’ll all experience a much more developed and fulfilling relationship.
By extension, you should be able to have fun together in mutually interesting activities.
4. No One Says Sorry
When we’re children, we saw our parents as infallible superheroes. As teenagers, we saw ourselves as infallible superheroes and discovered that our parents could be wrong. But the truth is everyone has their imperfections, and that’s no reason to hold ill feelings against anyone else.
If your parent never feels the need to apologize, this is a sign that they’re stuck in the parent-child paradigm of roles. You may try discussing the matter with them, but if that doesn’t work, the onus is on you to accept it and move on. However, if you never apologize to your parents, you’re stuck in the teenager-parent mentality, and you should think introspectively about how to “grow up” in this sense. More importantly, apologize sincerely to mom and dad for the bad attitude.
5. …Or Thankyou
Being a parent is hard. Of course, it has its rewards along the way, but most kids don’t take the time to verbally thank their parents for their efforts, let alone infants. Plus, as you well may know, you don’t always appreciate just how much your mom or dad did for you until long, long after you’ve left the nest.
So, take the time to let them know that you recognize the sacrifices they made to raise you and love you, and despite their mistakes, you’re grateful. This can even include those of us whose parents are no longer in our lives; writing a letter of thanks can be a very healing experience.
Don’t let your childhood be the best years with your parents. Tell us which of these changes you’ve made, and what other insights you’ve learned along the way for making your relationship a beautiful one.