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How to get your parent or guardian to treat you like an adult

Building an adult relationship with a parent or guardian is something which can take time


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


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As a young person it can be frustrating if your parents don’t treat you like an adult. Parents can often see their children as needing their guidance, regardless of their age, and this can lead to a situation where their children then do not feel trusted or respected as they grow up. Developing a relationship of mutual respect with your parents is something which can take time, as you move away from the role of parent and child and work to create a new relationship as equals.

6 ways to get your parents to treat you like an adult

Take responsibility

Taking on more responsibility in your own life is a way in which you can try and create a more equal relationship with your parents. It can be easy to be stuck in a child/parent situation if your parents are still looking after you in the way they did when you were young. If you live at home small things like pitching in around the house, contributing some of your income to the household and taking responsibility for your own washing can help show your parents that you are no longer a child. Even keeping your bedroom tidy can help show a level of personal responsibility that can encourage your parents to see you in a more equal light. 

Stay in contact

Whether you live with your parents or out of home, staying in contact with them can help to relieve any worries that they may have about you when you are not at home. Parents often worry about their children and are overprotective and find it difficult to allow freedom.This can often come across as a lack of trust but may be more about parents worry.

If you feel that your parents are checking up too much with you a way to approach this is to contact them first. If you are going on a night out text them and let them know what time you will be coming home. If for some reason your plans change and you decide to stay out later text them again and let them know what your plan is for getting home. You may feel that your parents do not need to know where you are or what you are doing on a night out, but having some contact with them allows you to minimise their concerns and build trust within the relationship.

If you are on holiday, keep them informed of your travel plans and how your trip is going. You do not need to be in constant contact with them, but if the only time you contact your parents is when you need something or something goes wrong it furthers the relationship of child and parents rather than one of equals.

If you live out of home, text and call your parents a couple of times a week to let them know what is happening in your life. Keeping your parents informed about how your life is going can help to reassure them that you are able to live your life as an independent adult. Not everything that you share with your parents about your life needs to be positive to prove that you are doing a good job, instead keeping in contact should be a way that you can both grow and learn from the relationship.

Communicate with them

It isn’t always easy to communicate our feelings to our families, but open communication can help to grow your relationships with your parents. If you feel that they are treating you like a child then it is important to say this to them and explain what it is that they do that makes you feel that way. Often a parent may not realise how the way they treat you makes you feel, as it is just the way they are used to the relationship being. It is best not to speak to them about it when you are upset or having an argument, but wait until you can talk to them about it calmly and explain to them why you feel the way you do. Give examples of specific behaviours and try to discuss with them how you would prefer to be treated in those situations.

Listen to them

Listening to your parents can help to create a more adult relationship. If they are giving you criticism or are concerned about a certain aspect of your life, listening to their view can help you to understand where they are coming from. At times your parents may feel that you disregard their advice just because it has come from them. By listening to what they have to say and then discussing the issue with them you can show that you have taken their opinion on board. By listening to the reasons why they feel a certain way or treat you a certain way you can begin to better understand where they are coming from. Listening, even if you don’t agree with what they are saying, shows respect and showing respect is central to receiving respect.


Treat them like an adult instead of as a parent

If you would like your parents to treat you like an adult you may also have to change the way that you treat them. We can often treat our parents in a way that we would not interact with many other people such as relying on them for certain things, looking for their approval or expecting them to live up to a certain standard. If you are looking to create a relationship of equals with your parents then realising that they are human too can help you to be more forgiving of the things that they do that can annoy you and help you realise that it is okay for you and your parents to disagree. Think about how you resolve issues with your friends and, if it seems effective, then try and apply the same principles in your relationship with your parents.

Have fun with your parents

Spending social time with your parents can help to improve your relationship. Find something that you can enjoy doing together such as going for walks, a meal or a coffee. As an adult it can be enjoyable to be able to share parts of your life with your parents that they might not be aware of such as your interests and hobbies. It may also be important to them that you show an interest in what they enjoy. Going to a match, playing golf or going to a play with a parent can help to develop your bond together and spend time as equals.

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Published August 30th2019
Last updated Novem­ber 15th2019
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Can this be improved? Contact editor@spunout.ie if you have any suggestions for this article.

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