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How can I get along with my parents?

Ways in which to deal with family conflicts

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in life

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The parent-child relationship is not always easy. Your relationship with your parents can get particularly difficult as you grow up and start to make your own choices in life. You may butt heads with your parents if you start doing things they don’t approve of or don't quite understand.

Common causes of problems between parents and children 

  • Relationships/Sexuality
  • School/College 
  • Career
  • Religious/Political views

Steps to get along with your parents 

Talk to one another 

A problem cannot be fixed without talking about it. Pick a time when you are both calm, then sit down and talk about the issue. Make a rule that you will not interrupt each other when you are talking. Otherwise you will never get anywhere. You may be very surprised at what happens when you have a calm conversation with your parents. You may be able to reach some type of compromise that you wouldn’t have been able to if you had kept yelling at or ignoring one another.

Avoid “You” statements and instead use “I” statements such as “I would like to stay out past 10pm on a Friday, as I feel that I would be able to be responsible” instead of “Why can’t you let me stay out past 10pm on a Friday?”

Show your parents how much you care about them 

People are often afraid of changes in other people because they think it means that they will no longer care about their loved ones. Although it can be easy to distance yourself from your parents as you get older, ignoring each other rarely helps in solving an arguement. If you are able to keep on friendly terms with your parents in regards to the things that you do agree on, it will then be easier to be able to talk about your issues when they arise.

Be patient 

Be aware of age differences. Things that are perfectly normal to people below the age of 30 may seem weird (or even wrong) to older people.

Give your parents time. They may just need time to come round to your idea, decision, identity or choice, so it’s important to let them know that you will always be willing to have a relationship with them.

Try to give your parents information to help them understand your new choice/ thinking. They may disapprove simply because they don’t understand. So give them some solid information that will allay their fears. 

Nothing I do improves my relationship with my parents 

If you feel that you can't resolve a fight with your parents remember that they almost certainly still love you, they just cannot cope with your life choice for reasons of their own. Even though they love you some space from each other may be what you need until you can see eye to eye. 

If you feel you and your parents cannot resolve your arguments by yourselves it may be a good idea to attend a counselling service either as individuals or together. You can find a list of regional counselling services and therapists here.

There are some arguments that can be harder to get past or forgive than others. If your parent or parents won't accept your gender or sexual identity it can be extremely hurtful and create a difficult environment to live in. If you are experiencing a situation like this there are services that are there to support young LGBTI+ people such as BeLonGTo and Teni

If things get really bad and you can no longer live under the same roof as your parents, remember that you have rights. Click here to check out information on social welfare and housing.

For more information about ways to create healthy relationships click here

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Published Jan­u­ary 15th2013
Tags parents relationships
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