Taking responsibility and setting boundaries
Sometimes it's hard to communicate with your parents.
They give unsolicited advice, try to impose their views, worry over nothing, and generally refuse to see their children as independent, adult people. It's not easy to change this way of communicating, but it's still possible. Here are some tips.
Why the difficulties arise
From the moment a child is born, there is a strong emotional attachment between the child and the parents, especially the mother. Scientists consider it to be the most important part of the biological mechanism laid down by evolution, which helps mankind to survive. It is activated when mother and child first come into contact.
It is this bond that makes parents care for their children and protect them without demanding anything in return. And children stay close to their parents and obey them, gaining the necessary experience. At first, the child is in a subordinate position to the parents. For many years, they make decisions about where he lives, what he learns, what he eats and what clothes he wears.
But the older the child gets, the more they become estranged. Separation is necessary for a person to truly mature: to learn to make decisions and take responsibility for them. And ideally, parents should not interfere with this, but gradually give their children more freedom and build a new relationship with them.
But in practice this is not always the case. Parents can be painful to perceive the alienation of the child. This leads to emotional inequality: parents often have a stronger need for communication with their grown-up children than children have with their parents.
As a result, constant calls, insensitive inquiries and unexpected visits of parents become a reason for quarrels. The situation is aggravated by the fact that children often perceive such actions not as care, but as criticism.
Over time, all of this can lead to a cessation of communication. Here's how to prevent this.
Figure out the relationships
That is, be honest about your feelings. In most cases, this helps to solve some of the problems, as parents often do not even realize how you hurt some of their words and actions.
For maximum effect, family therapist Shahi Shahnovaz advises to stick to a few rules:
- Don't start discussing painful topics with your parents if you are irritated. Better give yourself a little break: go for a walk, take a bath, sleep. And then with a clear head describe on a sheet of paper your problems in relations with your parents. Chances are, by this stage you will calm down a little, some of your emotions will seem excessive, and you will be able to formulate the problem more clearly. And this means that it is better to convey it to your parents.
- In the process of discussing the problem, use "self-talk." This method helps to avoid conflicts. The essence in the process of discussion is to refrain from accusatory language like, "Mom, you don't let me breathe easy! You're always telling me what to do!" Instead, describe only your feelings, thoughts, and reactions. For example: "Mom, every time you give me advice that I do not ask you for, I get the feeling that you think I am good for nothing."
- Try not to interrupt your parents, but actively listen to them. This is a technique used by psychotherapists. It is necessary to allow your interlocutor to speak, and then, if necessary, to ask questions for clarification and retell how you understood him or her. This will help both you and the interlocutor to better understand his position and discover the source of your common problems. It is possible that it has nothing to do with you: just parents are going through a bad time, and communication with relatives helps them to relieve stress.
- Another way to avoid quarrels is to start a discussion remotely. For example, send your parents a letter describing your feelings and emotions via e-mail. This prevents them from immediately blaming you, and also gives them time to calm down and think about the letter for a while. This increases your chances of being heard.
Many people feel guilty when they make rules for their parents. It can really hurt their feelings. But in the long run, clear boundaries make for a healthier relationship.
First, you are an adult and have every right to let others know your needs and ask them to respect them. Second, the longer you don't address the issue, the more - and more often - you will become irritated. As a result, your relationship with your parents will only get worse. By contrast, by setting boundaries, there are chances to reduce stress and tension. In this case, and parents will be more pleasant to communicate with you.
How to set boundaries correctly:
- Clearly formulate new rules. For example, say that from now on you would like your parents not to come to you unannounced. And argue this rule: explain that the apartment is your personal space. And you do not feel comfortable when it intrudes even the most beloved people. Especially since from time to time you just need to be alone, to take a break from work. And you also sometimes have guests.
- Talk to your parents as respectfully as possible. This will sweeten the pill a little. For example, tell them that you are very pleased that they care about you.
- Offer a compromise. For example, tell them that you will come over for lunch once a week on the weekends.
- Communicate the penalties for breaking the rules. For example, tell them that if your parents come over unannounced again, you simply won't open the door for them.
Don't try to win every battle
Try to have it out with your parents only when things are really important to you. For example, when their behavior creates serious problems in your daily life. And if possible, avoid arguments over abstract things like politics.
Such arguments get you nowhere. Studies show that most of the time the parties stay with their opinions - and in a bad mood. But in doing so, they pose a great risk to the family. For example, according to psychologists, disagreement on political issues is one of the reasons why adults stop communicating with their parents altogether.
Don't forget that a parent is an ordinary person. He can have his point of view and has the right to express it. You can raise your objections in response. But he doesn't have to agree with you - and you don't have to agree with him.
If arguments on a topic that is sensitive to you regularly start by a parent, and they end up with nothing but general annoyance, set another boundary. Agree with your parent not to start talking about this topic again until one of you changes your position.
Tell parents about your life
Another reason why parents actively interfere in their adult children's lives is that they know little about it. And the unknown always causes anxiety.
There is only one way to remedy this situation: reopen yourself to your parents. Start small, and the next time you talk to your parents, tell them how your day went. And then make these conversations regular: tell your parents about your feelings, desires, actions, problems, dreams and joys.
By getting more information about your life, they will worry less. This will lessen their need to constantly control you in order to protect you from trouble. And if you do get into trouble, your parents will have a better sense of what kind of help you need.
But most importantly, sincere conversations will help to strengthen your connection with your parents, making your relationship richer and more truly friendly.
Behave like a grown-up.
It is often the case: the man demands that parents strictly enforce its personal boundaries and stay out of his affairs. But in this case and then he starts to behave like a child: for example, asking for help to him at any trouble.
This sends mixed signals to parents, and they unconsciously start to consider their child to be not independent and behave accordingly. In psychology, this phenomenon is called regression.
If you really want an equal relationship with your parents, always act like an adult. Don't expect your parents to solve your problems for you, don't be afraid to take responsibility, always fulfill the commitments you've made.
- Live with your parents - do not force them to serve you. Take over some of the utilities, buy groceries, cook for them and yourself, do some of the household chores;
- If you take money from your parents, always pay them back on time;
- Remember: it is not your parents' job to take care of their grandchildren. It is a service they provide for you, and it is not always their pleasure. Be grateful to your parents for helping you with your children.