Maintain Healthy Relationship with your Parents

October 18, 2014

Of course you love your parents – that’s given. But at times, maintaining the bond between parent and adult child can be challenging.

These days, both of you are confronting new challenges – retirement or career changes, health issues, concerns about the future. It’s to be expected that these issues will affect your relationship, but as you change, your relationship with your parents change.

Part of that evolution requires forging a new relationship, one between mature adults rather than parent and child. You already have the basic underpinnings – love and shared memories. Add mutual respect and common interests and you may find a more fulfilling relationship with your mother and your father than any you’ve had since childhood.

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Here are healthy ways to forge an adult relationship with your parents and enhance your relationship with them.

  1. Talk to your parents as friends. If your parents still treat you like you’re 6, it may be funny to give up your role as a child. A good start is to model your conversation with Mom and Dad on those you have with friends. Don’t limit your conversation strictly to family memories, or gossip about family members, or your personal life. There's a whole wide world out there - why not explore it with Mom and Dad as you would with a friend?

  2. Keep your sense of humor. When you're dealing with your parents, laughter can be a lifesaver - both to help you handle the stress of dealing with sometimes crotchety individuals and to help you bond together. Tell a few jokes you know they'll enjoy. Share some comics from the paper or email with them, watch some shows together or join in a musical event together . If you can laugh together, you're doing okay. (Join now.)

  3. Tell your parents what bothers you. If you love your Mom and Dad but they drive you batty, your resentment can eat away at your relationship. So don't seethe silently, communicate with gentleness and respect.

  4. Express your appreciation for all your parents have done for you. Your parents still do things for you that deserve your notice - and gratitude.

  5. Be honest about who you are and what you want. Maybe there are things about your growing up that your parents regret. But as long as you don't regret it, they have to adjust. Be clear about who you want to be and help your parents accept you.

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