Relationships with our Parents might Influence our Life as Adults

Relationships between parents and children are always multi-layered, changing and diverse. As children grow up, both parties involved live through the transformation corresponding to each age. When reminiscing about the years of childhood and adolescence that were spent together, both parents and children can recall different trials and a range of emotions. One can find relationship situations that are both sweet and supporting, and others that are wounding and provoke negative emotions in almost any family. Depending on how each individual feels about the general description of the relationship, we as mature children or mature parents perceive an image of our parents and children, which is correspondingly closely linked to this general feeling about our past relationship. Besides, it tends to affect the entire course of the current relationship, because when we are looking at things with a general feeling of resentment, pain, betrayal or happiness, joy and support it is difficult to objectively see the other person as an independent adult.

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Show your Interest, Respect and Love Unconditionally

It is wonderful if at adult age, parents can shape their relationship with children and vice versa as a mutual relationship of two grown-ups that is not based on a sense of duty, indulgence and “routine models of parent-child interaction”, but rather on genuine interest, mutual respect and independence. On a mutual basis, this involves respecting each other’s decisions, showing an interest if something appeals to us without hoping and waiting for it to be shown as a result of a sense of duty, as well as refraining from insisting just because we are related. These principles ought to be applied by both parties!

In Whose Opinion You Want to be Good?

Another aspect we should pay attention to: No matter how much we try to deny it, for a lot of us one of the innermost determiners of our daily behaviour and life choices is the actions and behaviour that might provoke appreciation, attention and love from our mother or father. If we want to give ourselves a truthful answer to the question “in whose opinion do I want to be good, suitable, successful,______ (any personally significant value)?”, the response may surprise us. It is often not only conscientious and “correct”, but also a destructive action that is aimed not only at other people, but also at ourselves. For instance, a lot of our convictions about how to be/act/live tend to be adjusted or even juxtaposed to those of our parents whose attention, love and appreciation we have always longed to have. Moreover, our “inner critic” tends to use the exact same phrases and expressions that were used by one of our parents in our childhood.

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Building New Relationships with Parents

It does not necessarily mean we should all start reproaching and judging our parents, we should rather consciously evaluate our relationship with them from the perspective of an adult and not our inner child. By acknowledging and accepting the reality of the relationship with our parents and by straightening out our inner attitude towards it, we can achieve freedom of action and finally liberate ourselves from the influence our child-parent relationship exerts on our current life events. Furthermore, it then becomes possible to construct an adult relationship with our parents and to help our parents build it with their children.