How to build healthy relationships with your parents when you are no longer a child

Learn to talk to each other as equals.

What a harmonious relationship looks like

For the interaction to be comfortable, the participants must communicate from the perspective of adults, which they are. The roles “parent” and “child” no longer work, both of them are on an equal footing. Let’s say you don’t dream of moving the laundry in the closet of a friend of your age. The closet and personal space of the child, like the parent, belong to them.

Nadezhda Efremova

Any relationship that we build between two or more adults is always about the ability to set boundaries. Boundaries are not sky-high palisades, but instructions for another person how to handle you.

It happens that loved ones are so used to considering us as their continuation that they do not pay attention to the boundaries. For example, you are already an adult woman who lives separately, and your mother comes to you early on Saturday morning, opening the door with her key. Or you started your own family a long time ago, and your parents say that your wife is raising children incorrectly. All this speaks of a misunderstanding of where borders end and strangers begin.

Nadezhda Efremova

It works both ways. It does not happen that a person keeps his boundaries well, and violates others’ ones with ease. If strangers are violated, it means that he feels bad about his own.

When this happens, it is necessary to change the conditions – just like when working with a counterparty. Don’t expect to be understood at once. It will take time for all parties to adapt.

It is impossible to bring a relationship to the adult-adult level if you are not ready to take responsibility for your life. Declaring this is not enough, you need to confirm maturity by actions.

Oleg Ivanov
Psychologist, conflictologist, head of the Center for Settlement of Social Conflicts.

You do not have to live up to the expectations of your relatives. You should not be judged positively or negatively. If you understand that you are in a dependent position, you are under pressure, protect your personal boundaries.

How to talk to parents about the importance of personal boundaries

You can only convey your point of view through dialogue. Psychologist Lilia Valiakhmetova suggests taking into account the following nuances.

1. Understand why you need this conversation

Take some privacy and articulate clearly what you want to achieve from the conversation, what is important to you. Write it down on paper, you can make up questions or any suggestions of your own in advance.

2. Choose the right time

All participants in the conversation should be in a calm emotional state, exclude fuss and agitation. It is important that you have enough time for communication, you are not in a hurry.

3. Monitor the degree of the conversation

Move away from emotions when speaking. If you feel that you are boiling, it is better to stop communicating. When discussing something, talk about your feelings and attitude to it: “When you do this, I feel like this.” The likelihood that you will be heard in this case is greater.

Lilia Valiakhmetova
Psychologist, coach and co-founder of the coach selection service.

You can not get personal, insult, manipulation. Ultimate honesty is important! Without it, you will lose the trust of your parents, and there will be no sense in the conversation.

4. Don’t expect everything to work out overnight.

The conversation may not end the way you want it to. It’s good if you can come to a solution that suits both sides. But even if you do not get the result, it can still work out in the best way. After finishing the conversation and postponing it for later, you give your relatives the opportunity to think, analyze what was said. After some time, they themselves may return to it and, perhaps, will approach the discussion from a different position.

How not to blame your parents for their mistakes

Communication from the perspective of adults assumes that you see separate, independent personalities in your parents. Be prepared to interact on an equal footing, as with another adult, and not as with a person who owes you a list of things due to parenthood.

Maria Eril
Head of Psychology of Communication at Business speech, psychologist, psychotherapist, business coach.

Mom and Dad made certain mistakes in our childhood. But the parental role, albeit not the most successful, is not the whole personality. And if we compare the entire personality of the parent only with their function, then we lose their integrity.

The personality is bigger, wider: from an adult position, our parents turn out to be people with certain difficulties, worries, torments. Finding this integrity and communicating with real, and not “obligatory for all elders” respect is just the only possible harmonious strategy.

Is it possible to stop communicating with parents

The ability to negotiate largely depends on which family and how the person was brought up. If your family member grew up in a family that received respect and support, they most likely have the skills to understand their desires and emotions. These people usually have relatively good personal boundaries.

If the family has cultivated a sense of fear and guilt, then in this case, the relationship can cause a lot of pain and suffering. The boundaries of an adult will be poorly built. Such people are not responsible for their words and deeds. In these cases, it is very difficult to reach a compromise.

Lilia Valiakhmetova
Psychologist, coach and co-founder of the coach selection service.

If from time to time you come across aggression, threats, pressure – end the conversation and minimize communication. You did everything you could, therefore, you have the right to build communication with this relative according to your rules and to the extent that you need it. You decide how much you are willing to communicate with him, at what time, on what topics and how.

This does not mean that you end the relationship forever. But if you really want to make a difference, then it’s important not to be manipulated and cultivated by guilt. All this, again, is a violation of borders.

Nadezhda Efremova

If you understand that you are uncomfortable and the person does not hear you, then you need to calmly inform that such a relationship is unacceptable for you, and end it. Do not be intimidated by this period. Most likely, after some time you will be able to resume communication on different terms.

How to raise a child so that your relationship will be healthy in the future

By building personal boundaries throughout life in accordance with the phases of growing up, relationships will develop harmoniously. It is necessary to understand that the child is a separate person.

Oleg Ivanov
Psychologist, conflictologist, head of the Center for Settlement of Social Conflicts.

Psychological fusion is normal for a mother and child under three years old, but not for adults. Therefore, separation – the separation of children from their parents – is an important stage in the formation of a person’s personality.

The separation should be gradual. At 3-4 years old, it is advisable for children to make a corner in the house where they can go about their business. The child can and should be periodically left with a nanny, grandmother or grandfather. At the age of 7–8, children may well be left alone for a short time. At about this age, they can already be sent to summer camps.

Building boundaries involves listening to the wishes of the children. Perhaps you were once forced to cuddle with a second aunt, although you did not want to, or burst into your room without knocking. All of this has the opposite effect.

Separation of a child from his parents, the development of his independence, independence is a normal process. If it is difficult, if the parents are not ready to let go of their grown children, they will remain in a codependent position. Children, no matter how old, will not be able to separate their needs from those of their parents.

Oleg Ivanov
Psychologist, conflictologist, head of the Center for Settlement of Social Conflicts.

Sometimes separation is necessary to literally increase the distance between the child and the parent. He must fly out of his native nest, move to another city, for example, to study. Practice trips with friends more often. Distance doesn’t always help, however. When the departure is perceived by the parents as a personal tragedy, the child develops a sense of guilt for leaving mom and dad.

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