8 ways you and your parents can actually become friends this year
Want to improve your relationship with your parents? Keep reading for eight ways you can make your relationship more positive, and if you're already in a good place, even closer.
No matter how much of a self-sufficient adult you've become, your parents might still see you as a child. It doesn't matter how many bills you pay, how much you're succeeding in your career, or how independent you've become. To them, you're still their baby, who needs to hear their sometimes unwelcome opinions and constructive criticism.
When you want to form a friendship with your parents in adulthood, the road to get there isn't always easy. If you're feeling exasperated, we totally get it. "Even though you may have a great relationship with your mother and father, you've likely had plenty of rough patches. At the end of the day, you just want your parents' approval and a loving connection with them," says Dr Shilpa Aggarwal, a Mumbai-based clinical psychologist.
So, why is it so complicated? Well, it doesn't always have to be. There are several things you can do to deepen your bond with your parents in the New Year. Keep reading for eight ways you can make your relationship more positive, and if you're already in a good place, even closer.
1. Explore interests that you have in common
Even if it feels like you and your parents are way too different to connect, chances are that you have a lot more in common than you think. "Find ways to bond over things you both enjoy. If it's difficult to find common ground, perhaps you can make a point to take interest in something they love and ask them to do the same for you in return," suggests Dr Aggarwal.
2. Remember that it's okay to disagree
Just because you and your parents have very different viewpoints doesn't mean you can't get along, says Dr Aggarwal. "Instead of feeling defensive or irritated when a disagreement arises, try to accept that it's okay to have contrasting opinions. Fighting to prove your point isn't always the answer," she adds.
3. Don't search for their constant approval
Making your parents proud is an amazing feeling. However, there's no way you'll be able to constantly please your parents while still remaining true to yourself. "In order to have a healthy relationship, try to accept that they might not always agree with your decisions, and that's okay," says Dr Upasana Ghosh, a relationship expert from Kolkata.
4. Make fun and exciting plans with them
What better way to forge an amazing relationship with your parents than to create unforgettable memories with them? Make sure you make exciting plans with your parents, says Dr Ghosh, such as going to an amusement park or the beach. “You'll walk away with stories you can talk about for many years to come,” she says.
5. Accept your parents for who they are
"Your parents can't change you any more than you can change them. If you want your parents to respect the adult you've become, it's vital that you respect who they are in return," says Dr Ghosh. Try to remember that your parents aren't just your parents, she adds. They're people who have hopes, dreams, joys, and sadness of their own.
6. Avoid rehashing past issues with them
You've been through a lot with your parents, and chances are you share some painful memories with them. If it's been a long time and you've all come a long way, it would be wise not to constantly rehash the past, suggests Dr Ghosh. "Try to establish a setting where you can all let the past go and look forward to a better future," she says.
7. Learn when to protect your energy and take a break
Of course, having a perfect relationship with your parents is nearly impossible. When the going gets rough, sometimes the best course of action is to establish some personal space. "Respecting each other's boundaries and limitations is the key to having a smooth relationship. Conflict is best resolved after everyone has calmed down and taken time to think about what went wrong. So don't feel bad or guilty about taking time away when you need it," says Dr Aggarwal.
8. Recognise everything they've done for you
Your parents probably made a lot of sacrifices while raising you and it's always good to recognise them and let them know that you appreciate everything they've done for you. "If you can step back and remember all the love you have for each other and that they always want what's best for you, you can build a positive foundation in your relationship in adulthood," says Dr Aggarwal.