We're All Adults Here: 9 Tips To Maintain A Healthy Relationship With Your Parents As A Grown-Up
Now that you're an adult, how should you treat your relationship with your folks?
Whether you and your parents had a good or bad relationship growing up, figuring out how to go about a relationship with parents in adulthood is tricky.
Asian adult children, in particular, have strange relationships with their parents because of how close-knit Asian families are. Many adult children only move out of their parents' home after getting married, so it's normal to feel a little frustrated when Mum and Dad still treat you like a kid.
How do you change your dynamic and get them to finally start treating you like an adult? What can you do to make your relationship flourish as adults?
10 Tips on How to Have a Healthy Relationship with Parents in Adulthood
1. Stop trying to win their approval.
Before you can get your parents to accept that you're an adult, you have to start by accepting who you are. The sooner you stop beating yourself up for not living up to their expectations, the better.
You're old enough to make your own choices, to have your own opinions, and you should stand by them. Yes, your decisions might end up to be mistakes (actually, a significant number of them are guaranteed to be mistakes), but that's all part of growing up and learning.
2. Accept that they're not perfect.
When we're little kids, we think our parents are invincible and all-knowing, so when we grow up and learn about their flaws, it can feel like a betrayal.
We could resent them for not being the Perfect Parent (newsflash: no such thing) or for not being more like our friends' parents. With this line of thinking, it's easy to blame our parents for all the bad in our life.
Perhaps your upbringing really wasn't all that great, but you'll never get anywhere by stewing in resentment for parents. Acknowledge your past, make peace with it, and pick yourself up. We all need to remember that our parents are human.
3. Establish limits.
You don't have any power over how your parents act (or how anyone acts, for that matter), but you can set boundaries with them. When you feel like they're going too far, have a calm and respectful discussion with them and remind them that you're an adult now.
4. Stop expecting your parents to pick up after you.
Don't expect your parents to start treating you like an adult when you still rely on them to pay your phone bill or your rent. Yes, you can still ask for help from Mum and Dad when you're in a pinch, but this shouldn't be the norm. If you want to be treated like a grown-up, start acting like it.
5. Have an attitude of gratitude.
Most of us have a loooooot of emotional baggage when it comes to our folks. Don't let this weigh you down and damage your relationship with parents in adulthood.
Cut them some slack — if you ever have kids in the future, you'll want them to do the same to you. Instead of focusing on our parents' flaws, think about all the good things they've done for us. And, of course, let them know how much you value them and everything they've done for you.
6. In case of conflict, take the high road.
When issues spring up, avoid blowing it out of proportion and attributing it to their flaws or part of long-standing battles. There are instances when our parents act more immature than ourselves. In these cases, it's easy to follow their lead and start acting like a child, too. But this kind of arguing won't lead anywhere — stay level-headed and mature.
7. Don't be so defensive
Our parents' words are powerful, which is why unsolicited advice or criticism from them seems to cut us just where it hurts. But instead of going on the defense, try hearing them out and agreeing with them. You don't necessarily have to follow their advice — just end the discussion and don't let it snowball into a full-on debate.
8. Remember: it's not too late to have a better relationship.
Even though you're already a grown-up, it's not too late to improve your relationship. And you don't have to distance yourself from your parents to stop being treated like a child. Try new activities and learn new skills together and watch your relationship evolve.
And if your relationship with parents in adulthood is strained, try to stay in contact, even if it's just through Facebook or SMS.
9. It's also okay to give yourself some space
There are many toxic parents out there who are controlling, insecure, and downright abusive. In these cases, it's sometimes better to take a step back and distance yourself from your parents. It's not your job to fix your parents, and if they're not looking out for your own wellbeing, you have to make sure that you're taking good care of yourself.