Our relationship with our parents can be a complicated thing. For the first 12 years or so of our lives, they’re our heroes. Then, the hormones kick in and things can get a little rocky for a while. Despite relying on them to feed us, put a roof over our heads and get us to school, we pretty much don’t want a bar of them. They become the ‘uncool’ people who stop us from going over to our boyfriend’s place and force us to do our homework. Then as we move out of adolescence, the hormones settle down and generally, so does our relationship with the rents. In our early twenties (if not earlier) we move out of home and get our first ‘adult’ jobs.
Personally, up until last year, I spoke to my mum on the phone twice a day. Don’t get me wrong, it was something we both enjoyed. But life got busy and Mum would get worried when she hadn’t heard from me (and vice versa). So now, we mainly just talk on Facebook messenger (Mum has mastered using it!) and it works for us. But it can be hard for parents when their kids turn into adults and start relying on them less and less. Being an ’empty nester’ can be quite lonely, especially for stay-at-home parents. This can put strain on your relationship, as they may no longer feel needed — and you may feel a bit smothered. Luckily, you don’t need to cut them off or move back home to make things right with the rents. By making some small changes to the way you communicate, you can create a healthy relationship that will make everyone a whole lot happier. Here’s how.
Meet them eye to eye
We tend to put our parents on pedestals and judge them quite harshly if they do something we don’t agree with. But it’s vital to remember that they’re human beings who make mistakes, just like you. Your parents have their own feelings, thoughts and experiences that have shaped who they are. By putting yourself in their shoes and showing empathy, you’ll be well on your way to creating a ‘friends’ style relationship you only thought possible on The OC or Gilmore Girls!
If your mum constantly calls you while you’re at work or your dad bombards you with funny cat videos all day, every day — it may be time to set some ground rules. Otherwise, you’ll just become more and more irritated and will eventually snap at them (then regret it). Obviously, your parents probably won’t take it very kindly if you ambush them with a typed manual of rules. But if you sit them down and gently explain that there are certain times you won’t be able to speak to them, it’ll ensure everyone is on the same page before the issue gets worse.
Don’t worry, we’re not going to suggest you get emancipated from your parents (you’re an adult, you don’t need to!) But if you still heavily depend on your parents — whether it’s to bail you out financially or make your decisions for you— it’s going to be really difficult to get them to see you as an adult. If you really want them to level the playing field, it’s vital to get out of any situation where you feel indebted to them.