I understand when you’re in your 20s this may be easier said then done. For many of us, our natural instincts are to pull away from our parents and push toward independence. But there needs to be a balance. Some people never resolve parental issues and their parents die and that’s that. Only they’re left with all the things they didn’t say. And then there are those who lose their parents when they’re all too young. I had a friend who was only 24 when she lost her mother to cancer. She grieves this loss every day. Fortunately, both of my parents are still alive, and we are close. But it wasn’t easy to get here. Living nearby helps – although some would argue it’s better to be far away. Whatever your situation or age, it’s important to get to know your parents and help them get to know you. While they can be your biggest judges and critics, they can also be your hugest supporters. Because they’ve been around longer, they also typically know more than you do about most things (even though they may make you want to scream sometimes). But don’t just take my word for it, here’s an excerpt from The Learning Network (http://learning.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/01/how-close-are-you-to-your-parents/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0) in the New York Times: “Our research shows that the closer bonds between young adults and their parents should be celebrated, and do not necessarily compromise the independence of the next generation. Twenty-five years ago, young people sought advice and help from naïve peers. Today’s young adults may be savvier than their predecessors; they receive advice and help from middle-aged adults with greater life experience and material resources to offer.” And now I’m going to contradict everything I just said. On the other hand, every one has a time in their lives where they bond strongly with their parents and also a time when they don’t. For better or worse, this has been my experience. But it doesn’t have to be yours. Can you think of ways you can spend more time with your parents today?
Word to the wise: If you think your parents are going to be around forever, think again. Make the most of the relationship you have or improve the one you don’t. You’ll be amazed at how much better life gets when you do.
What’s your relationship with your parents like? How can you improve it? Note: If I’m lucky enough to get a book deal, your comments may be published anonymously in the upcoming book, “Wise Before 25, 50 Things Young Women Need to Know.”
This has aroused my primitive wisdom (perhaps the only kind of wisdom I’ll ever earn). I feel that any relationship with parents has to be the “right”. As an adult, you must know deep down to your belly button what is healthy for you and hopefully for your parent as well.
In my twenties, I chased a relationship with my father for decades only to learn that he wasn’t interested. Still I tried. In my thirties, I thought I could bribe him with a few hearty Sunday dinners and a grandson. Still, he wasn’t interested.
I’m proud of myself for trying to reactivate that relationship. My efforts were exhausting and rejected, but that’s A-okay. At my dinner table: pot roast, mashed potatoes, steamed broccoli and my son’s favorite apple pie I cried for the last time. At that moment I became a warrior for myself. I loved my father but had to let him, us, go–forever.
Deep down to my belly button I am thankful for the dad I knew as a five year-old, but what I’m most thankful for is the courage to decide what relationship was best for me and my son. I’m happy knowing my dad is happy with his life. And, lastly, I was blessed to have been loved by my incredible mother. Sometimes one parent has to be good enough and it was for me.