When you're young, parents can seem like the most annoying people on the planet. They give you rules, and curfews, and dumb life lessons. All you want to do is push them away. But then you get older, and suddenly realize how awesome (and loving) they are, and suddenly you want to have a better relationship with your parents.
It's funny how that works, isn't it? I had moments as a teenager where I wanted nothing to do with my mom, but now I call her every day for seemingly everything. I view her advice as invaluable, but I also simply enjoy talking to her.
Such a relationship can be a tricky thing, however. That's because parents often have a hard time letting go of the idea that you're a not a child any more. On the flip side, you might have a hard time viewing your parents as adult equals, instead of rule enforcers. However, both of these presumptions can be challenged, and eventually left behind, to reveal a super awesome and loving parent/child relationship.
I do know that this isn't possible everyone. Your parents might be totally toxic, or gone for one reason or another. When that's the case, it's obviously totally OK to not have your parents in your life. But if you are lucky enough to have some kind of relationship with them, then it may be time to really start enjoying their company. If that sounds like something worth working on, then here are some ways to boost your relationship, and get a little bit closer with your parents.
1. Give Them A Call
This is the simplest way to start getting closer to your parents. Simply pick up the phone, and have a little chat. If it's been a hot minute since you last rang each other, it will be a totally welcome surprise. Try to make calls a more common occurrence, and watch how quickly you get to know each other better.
2. Don't Ask For (Too Much) Advice
If you call your parents for everything, the whole parent/child thing never really goes away. And if that's the case, it may be time to start acting more mature, as a way of improving your relationship. According to the editor's of RD.com, "If your parents still treat you like a kid, despite the fact that [you are grown], you may have to help them let you 'grow up.'" One way to do this is to make decisions on your own. Give it a try, and you'll see the respect get a lot better.
3. Be Mature When You Visit
Here's another chance to show them that you're a grown ass adult, and not some kid they need to look after. The next time you stop by for a visit, do your best to be as adult as possible. This means cleaning up after yourself, having mature conversations, and not leaving with half their groceries in your purse. (I know, it might be difficult at first.) After a while, the relationship will shift, and you'll find yourselves closer on a whole different level.
4. Don't Make Them Bail You Out Financially
Of course, this is often what parents are for — getting you out of yet another financial pickle. They are usually so glad to help, if they can. But relying on them too often can lead to some resentment, according to RD.com. And that's not really a recipe for a close, happy relationship.
5. Be Honest If You Worry About Them
Your parents are adults, and even if they're getting older, they don't want to be treated like babies. So if that's become a point of contention between you, do your best to express worry and care in a different way. According to Katherine Schreiber said on Greatist.com, many of us may see worries as negative emotions. Assure your parents that you worry because you love them, and not because you think they're incapable.
6. Forgive Them For Past Indiscretions
If you don't have much of a relationship now, it may be due your parents' past indiscretions. Maybe they were emotionally abusive when you were younger, or unavailable, or over-protective. If so, it may help to try to forgive them for what went wrong. As David M. Allen, M.D., said on Psychology Today, "Although we may not want to or be able to forget past misdeeds, most of us could readily find it in our hearts to forgive family members for bad past behavior if only they would let us." If you are all willing, it can be possible to move on.
7. Realize They Are People, Too
Once you realize your parents are people, too, it kind of opens up a whole new world. It may help a little in allowing you to forgive them for being less than great in the past. It also allows you to view them as people worth knowing. You know, almost like friends. So start chatting about news, politics — whatever interests you, and enjoying hearing what they have to say.
8. Help Them With Their Problems
The thing about being an adult is the roles often reverse when it comes to parents. As they get older, you may find yourself helping them out a little bit more, and admittedly, it can be kind of scary. As Margarita Tartakovsky, M.S., said on PsychCentral.com, "Sometimes you might be taken aback by your parents’ frustration, moody behavior or neediness. In fact, on some days, they might be downright unpleasant to be around. But it’s important to be empathetic and understand where they’re coming from." It's just as weird for them, but they will appreciate the help.
9. Listen To Each Other
One big difference between being a kid, and being an adult, is you now have the magic ability to listen. That might mean some way better communication between you and your parents, assuming they know how to listen, too. It could just lead to some pretty big insights, and some pretty good conversation.
10. Include Them In Your Travels
The next time you go somewhere interesting, try giving your parents a call on Skype of FaceTime. My brother does this when he's traveling, and my parents absolutely love it. I recommend you do the same, as it will allow your parents a little peak into your fun life. They'll appreciate being included, even if it's just on a little five inch screen.
11. Be Appreciative
Your parents have likely done a lot for you over the years, and they probably continue to do so to this very day. So show them a bit of appreciation every now and then. Write them a thank you card, give them a call, or show up to their house with dinner. In fact, doing any of the things on this list would also be a pretty good start.
Because once you start appreciating your parents, and reaching out to them on more adult levels, the three of you will be able to become closer than ever.
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