How often do we hear people saying that the relationship they share with their parents is not as harmonious as it used to be? Who is to blame in such a situation? As you grow older, the relationship between you and your parents can turn more complex. Not everyone is lucky and claim that they share a great rapport with their own parents. As you age, your points of view on life may greatly differ from those of your parents.
Due to the generation gap, there is a huge scope for misunderstandings to crop up between the parent-child relationship which can lead to a conflict. Let's see what you can do to maintain a fulfilling relationship with your parents, first, as a teenager, and then as an adult.
Maintaining a Healthy Relationship with Your Parents
As a Teenager
First and foremost, respect your parents for who they are, and what they have done for you. Behave responsibly and maturely. Carry out the duties your parents have assigned to you. If you complete your daily chores on time, you will realize your parents don't nag you so much after all! Do not go out of the way to do something which your parents have forbidden you from doing. There must be a good reason why they feel you should not do a particular thing. Do not sulk about it and fight with them. Talk to them and find out their reason for denial. Explain to them your point of view. Reason it out. Talking helps. Arrive at a conclusion after both sides have explained their side of the story.
As you enter your mid-teens, you will realize you want to be independent, from choosing what to eat for breakfast, to buying your clothes, and making new friends. This shift is going to cause a clash between you and your parents, who, till date, did all the shopping for you and monitored what you ate. Keep in mind that parents will not agree to your decisions right away. You will feel you have controlling parents, and that there is no way out of this situation. To avoid further conflict, talk to them. Hear them out
It's the best way to resolve a lot of problems you feel have risen between your parents and you. You may even feel this is an impossible situation to be in. But keeping your cool is important. It might take some time for your parents to realize that their little kid is growing up and is entitled to his or her own opinions. There is no need to worry about it a lot. This is a common situation in every house with a teen, and remember, as teens themselves, your parents too went through this stage at some time or the other, so it's something they can relate to.
Make it a point to talk to your parents everyday, whether it's your school/college life, friends, your day-to-day activities, your teachers, just about anything. If you are stressed about any problems at school, discuss it out with your parents. Come to think of it, who knows you better than them? They are the best people to help you out and deal with it. Be honest with your parents, and keep them up-to-date on your whereabouts, so they do not worry about you a lot, which decreases the tension. Do not hide things from them. If they realize you are keeping things from them, it will gradually lead to distrust.
If your parents have put restrictions on you staying out late at night, follow them. Remember, you are still a teenager, and your parents are responsible for your safety. Arguing and whining about any matter bothering you will not help. If you act sensibly and maturely, it will make your parents see you in a whole new light, as responsible young adults, and you would not have much to worry about maintaining a strong relationship with them.
As an Adult
When you grow older, you develop a sense of personal independence, which can put you at a distance from your parents. Remember that your parents are not getting any younger either. Listening to each other and understanding each other's point of view is central to building a healthy relationship with your parents. You may feel that their opinion on a certain matter doesn't count much, but try to remember, they are older and wiser than you, and they have your best interests at heart when they offer advice.
They will certainly not want you to make the same mistake they committed when they were younger. Now that you are an adult yourself, the parent-child relationship evolves into a relationship between two adults. Agreed, some things never change, you will always be their kid, no matter how old you are. To avoid such a situation from bothering you, treat your parents as fellow adults and friends, rather than as your mom and dad. At some point, willingly or unwillingly, they will have to "let go" and realize you are grownup.
Make it a point to meet them, at least once a week if you live in the same town, or call more often if you cannot visit each other a lot. Communicate with them as much as possible. They are entering old age, and need to spend quality time with their children. Share your life with them, ask them about theirs. Make them feel wanted. As kids, didn't you come back from school and chatter endlessly about your day's activities with your mom? Much in the same way, talk to them about your job, your kids, your interests, and you will realize they are just as much delighted to listen to your stories!
If there's something about your parents that bothers you, discuss it with them. It could be your dad, offering you unwanted advice on your car, or your mom giving her opinion on your wardrobe and kids. Gently let them know what you think of the situation. If you do not talk about it and keep it to yourself, the resentment will only grow, which will gradually put a strain on your otherwise healthy relationship. Avoid an argument at all costs, especially if you have a strong feeling it will lead to a conflict. If they still offer unsolicited advice, put on a smile and just listen to it. You are of course entitled to make your own choice!
Try to work together on activities you both know you enjoyed doing together. With mom, it could be shopping or cooking; with dad, it could be gardening, fishing, or carpentry. Participating in such tasks will strengthen the bond you share with your parents. Create opportunities that will interest you both. For example, if they are not too tech savvy, teach them computer basics, and you will see how excited they are at the thought of communicating with you through chats and emails, especially if you live far off.
A lot goes into keeping a relationship secure and healthy. It's a two-way traffic. When you become a parent yourself, you will realize the sacrifices your own parents made to provide you with a comfortable life. Solve any problems you may have faced with your parents, and do not harbor feelings of resentment and guilt.
Dwelling on unpleasant memories you might have shared with your parents in the past will keep you from opening up and amending the relationship. Communication is the key. Love and respect them for what they are and everything that they have done for you, and no doubt, they will in turn respect you for turning into responsible adults.