What to do if your parents don’t understand you?

What to do if you grew up a long time ago and your parents refuse to admit it

Mom is inundated with texts and calls, and when you don’t respond, she’s resentful and demands attention. For dads and moms, we are often still children, even if we have lived separately for a long time and have our own family. Parents are pressuring, prying into your life, and you don’t know how to change it, so as not to be an ungrateful daughter/son. Psychologist Vita Malygina is about the separation of adult children.

Several years ago we bought our oldest son, who was still living with us, a bed with a spacious linen drawer. The bed was so high that the drawer was like another floor. We could easily sleep in it and still have room to put a tray of tea and a computer. We joked that we would put annoying guests in here. My son then said: “You, Mom, can move into the box.” We made a thriller with him called “My Mom Lives Under My Bed.

The joke isn’t that funny: in a sense, many people I know under 30 live that way – with their mom (and sometimes their dad, or both of them) under their bed. In a metaphorical sense, of course.

Though it depends on how you look at it.

One of my acquaintances had worked up the courage for years to take the keys to her apartment from her mother. She kept dropping by unannounced, with only good intentions: to help with the cleaning, because her daughter worked hard and had no time (who would vacuum, if not my mother), or to bring groceries. One day my mother dropped by unannounced on her day off and found her daughter with a young man, not at all at dinner. Her friend tried to negotiate new rules, but her mother made a “I’ve put my whole life on hold for you” scandal. Arrangements were not reached, the young man ran away. Good riddance to him on the one hand: he was afraid of his mother. On the other, he’s understandable.

Here are some more stories:

  • An acquaintance hides from her mother that she smokes, so as not to upset her.
  • Another one hides the fact that she does not eat meat and choke on meatballs when she visits her mother. Fortunately she lives in another city and does not have to suffer so often.
  • The young man always (even in the bath, even during sex or in the toilet) answers his mother’s phone calls. Otherwise, mom will worry.
  • One “good son,” in order to please his father, an engineer, went to a technical college, struggled there for five years, wrote his diploma, and then went to work as a TV cameraman. He was quite successful, but for many years, along with my dad, he considered himself a loser because he never wrote his dissertation.

These are, of course, hard cases. Here’s you, for example. How many times a day do you call your mom? Do you feel guilty if you go out of town for the holidays, especially the New Year? Or maybe for some reason you don’t like to tell your dad about your work? Because he’s bound to say something that will make you think you’re doing nothing all day long, and your mood will go to hell.

Separation from parents is a relatively new social phenomenon (if we are talking about Russia). As long as life in our country was based on subsistence farming and peasant labor, no such separation was out of the question. The family lived as a big clan, young people married, had children. They listened to their elders, waiting patiently for them to weaken and no longer be able to manage the economy, and then surrender power to the young. For most people, the established order was a convenient framework, within which all life fit: you do not have to think, just follow the well-known rules.

As soon as this order ceased to be beneficial for society, it began to change with different speed and painfulness. Where life was richer, where it was easy to survive for one person who was not included in the context of the family clan, the changes were faster. Where the economy is worse, such as here, it is slower. It’s important to understand what it is that prevents you from breaking free.

7 signs that your parents forgot to “untie” you from themselves

1. You have long graduated, you make your own living, but your parents still give you money. And not just once, and regularly: on vacation, new furniture, a laptop. Yes, simply because you are a child, how not to help your child. It’s hard to find the strength to say “no” to parents and give up a certain lifestyle, if you’re used to it since childhood. There is only one problem: in such a case, there can be no real separation from parents.

2. You continue to react violently to your parents’ words. Even if you live completely on your own, you still react emotionally to parental manipulation. Parental taunts make you angry, resentful, offended, and then a lot of energy is spent on internal monologues with either or both parents. You go along with your parents in spite of your own desires and needs. You swear and get angry, but you go.

3. You cannot talk quietly with your parents. Your communication is either too emotional, or too cold.

4. You consult your mother at the slightest opportunity. You react aggressively if a friend or acquaintance tells you that it’s not a good idea to consult your beloved mother on every issue. You also spend vacations exclusively with your parents, even though most of your friends don’t understand you.

5. At the same time you will never do as your mother advises. Even if it is the only right decision of the possible. Not because you want to do outrage. You just honestly feel that her version – sucks. Although after the fact you admit that mom was right.

6. You have a hard time accepting the rules of another family. For example, your boyfriend (or husband). I once saw two adults get into a serious fight over how their families cooked borscht differently and argued about how to fold clothes properly. By defending the rules of our parents, we reaffirm that they have all the knowledge of the world and that their rightness cannot be questioned. Probably haven’t gotten past adolescence. So that’s news to you, isn’t it?

7. Constantly miss your parents. Suffer that you are still very attached to your mom and dad, and find it hard to admit that besides childhood you have nothing in common with your parents.

What to do to finally “get rid” of parental custody

In general, if you are not 18 (or even 20) already, and your parents are still the center around which your life revolves, you cannot do without psychotherapy. Something has interfered with the natural separation from your parents. It is difficult to cope with this on your own, but if there is no other option, you need to detach yourself.

1. Think about who you are without parental beliefs and controlling beliefs. What/what kind of person are you? What do you want? What do you believe? Play the game: “I live on another planet, and my family won’t know anything else about me. What will your life look like? Scan your life across the board. Honestly tell me if you like it or not.

Answer yourself: why do you need to “detach” from your parents. How does overparenting bother you, and what do you have to lose by having an overly attentive son or daughter. In general, whose idea it is that you necessarily need independence – yours or your girlfriends/friends/partner’s.

3. Who (you, mom, dad, or both) benefits from you behaving this way. Try to figure out what bothers you if you behave differently: guilt, insecurity about your decisions, or fear. You are perfectly capable of taking care of yourself and assessing whether your parents really need your care or if they are driven by other motives.

4. Once you’ve done all this, you’ll find a part of you inside that is still, as when you were a child, willing to do anything to make mom/dad happy. Or, on the contrary, anything to spite them. This part is called the “inner child. Of course, this is a metaphor, but there is a complex of feelings, emotions, reactions. They keep us from growing up if there has been too much pain in the past and not enough real love and acceptance. Until you pay attention to your inner child, he will continue to live the way he is used to: having vain hopes of ever pleasing his parents and getting some more love.

5. As soon as you discover this child and feel like crying, take a deep breath/exhale and separate yourself, big and adult, from the child. You are a long time adult, your life is up to you alone. Not on mom and dad or their beliefs. None of that matters. All that matters is how willing and ready you are to take care of yourself.

6. Now learn to live your own mind and your own beliefs. Make your own mistakes. Deal with your failures. There is usually plenty of both. Especially if no one runs to make straws, no one is at the door with the words “Over my dead body,” and you are no longer tormented by visions of moms, tons of sedatives from worrying about your fate.

Love / not love: what to do if the family relationship is complicated.

There is a popular phrase: we all come from childhood. It’s true, because it’s in the family we get first experience of communication and the first knowledge of the world, which affect the rest of our lives. Interactions with significant adults form ideas about security and interpersonal relationships. That is why it is so important that a secure attachment is formed in the family, that is, that children have trust in adults and a sense of security.

Unfortunately, not all parents are emotionally literate enough to build a secure and trusting relationship with their child from the first years of life. Family discord often causes destructive behavior and emotional instability in adolescents. Problems in communication, difficulties in self-determination, the desire to please, or, conversely, indifference to the opinions of others – as a rule, it all does not start from scratch, but is the result of childhood traumas. According to the theory of stroking, when a child is ignored at home, he or she seeks some kind of response from the family, even a negative one. The desire for parental attention provokes the child to do dangerous or harmful things.

I feel I am not loved

In some families, children face such a problem as a lack of parental warmth, the feeling that you are not loved. If a child at any age experiences such emotions, it is a serious reason to talk to parents and a psychologist. Unconditional parental love is a basic human need, so if it is absent for some reason, it can bring a lot of pain and frustration. At the same time, sometimes people, even the closest ones, do not have the same emotional habits, and it is possible that parents show love in ways that the child simply cannot notice or understand.

Together with a psychologist, or independently, the teenager needs to learn to recognize and spell out his or her feelings. Then the depth of the problem will become more tangible and it will be possible to share experiences with parents. It is very difficult to start such a conversation on their own, because in the ideal scenario, it is up to the adults to resolve this issue.

But sometimes parents do not dare to admit their mistakes and do not understand that family relationships need to be worked on. If you want to talk to the family about what hurts you, what you miss and what you want, it is better to prepare in advance. For example, write out your reflections in a journal. It is important to remember that regardless of the reaction of your parents, you are good if you dared to have such a discussion.

I get scolded all the time and never praised.

Another common problem in parent-child relationships: the child receives only negative stroking from adults. For example, a parent scolds a teenager for bad grades in math and as if he does not notice achievements in other areas, praises little for fives, but scolds heavily for threes. To get out of this negative circle, you can directly ask your parents for positive reinforcement, telling them that you need praise. Chances are, parents will respond to such a mental impulse.

If you cannot change the relationship with your family, try to keep your own self-esteem: this is very important, much more important than comments from adults who cannot please you all the time. Remember that your value depends not only on the opinion of your parents, and making mistakes is absolutely normal as long as you learn and grow up. It is possible to find friends with whom you will feel safe. It is worth paying attention to the praise of teachers and others. Try to focus not on negative comments from parents, but on compliments and support from others. Spend as much time as possible with those friends who help you grow and improve.

I’m bored with my parents.

Over time, parents cease to be the only significant people in our lives. Boredom or unwillingness to spend leisure time together should not make a child feel ashamed, because separation from the family is a natural stage of growing up.

If you feel sad, try to find common ground, suggest that your parents do something together. We enjoy spending time with people with whom we share common activities and hobbies. This rule works for the family as well. If there happens to be a distance between parents and children in the family, it can be reduced only by mutual efforts. It is great to be friends with the family, but you must do it only out of interest and love, and not out of guilt.

Parent-child worldview conflict

Adolescence is a period of active exploration of the world. At this time a person is often seized by different philosophical and political ideas, and he wants to discuss his beliefs with others. But often there is an ideological or worldview split in the family.

The reason for the dispute can be a different view of historical events, attitudes towards social movements or religion. Sometimes a disagreement between family members can be very painful, especially if your opinion is not taken seriously.

In this situation, it is important to have patience to see if it is worth discussing such topics with your parents. If adults are aggressive during an argument, it is best to avoid the discussion. It is unlikely that you will be able to change the minds of adults who are not used to questioning their beliefs, and it is important to allow for the possibility that you yourself are wrong about something, too. When the boundaries of an argument are safe for you, it can even be useful to learn why people take the opposite position. In addition, the discussion will give you the opportunity to exercise your eloquence and strengthen your arguments.

Try to follow the rules of environmentally friendly communication in such arguments: don’t get personal and don’t raise your voice. Quiet conversations about important issues in life, where both sides can hear each other, will enrich you and your parents intellectually.

Caring and personal boundaries

A common cause of parent-child conflict is excessive control. As a rule, adults try to warn children against the dangers of the world. However, when control becomes hyperactive, it begins to harm the child. Before you quarrel with adults about this, it is necessary to understand whether their requirements are adequate from the point of view of objective factors. For example, up to 18 years old children are not allowed by law to walk alone at night, so a curfew is quite a reasonable rule for underage students. A completely different situation is reading a child’s correspondence: this is a gross violation of personal boundaries. In such a case, it will be useful to visit a psychologist to learn how to set boundaries in communication with parents and gradually separate.

How to help yourself

As a teenager, you need to learn emotional self-regulation. To adapt to a stressful situation and survive it with minimal damage to the psyche, you need to look for healthy coping strategies that will help in a crisis moment.

Let’s list the main tools of psychological defense in quarrels with parents:

  • To cope with strong emotional tension, sports or any physical activity helps. Especially useful will be activities that have repetitive movements (washing dishes, walking): by performing these actions, the body is physically tired, and mental worries temporarily recede into the background.
  • to cope with the physiological manifestations of stress, psychologists recommend breathing exercises: this calms the nervous system and reduces anxiety.
  • remember to drink water when you get upset or angry. At times of stress, the body is severely dehydrated, so it is important to restore resources.

The most effective way to deal with difficult family relationships is in a calm state of mind.

To strengthen your stress tolerance and improve your teen’s self-esteem, you can take these four steps:

  1. Create your own “pet bank. Keep and cherish good memories of yourself: praise yourself when you are good at something, listen to others when someone notices your virtues. To maintain your self-esteem and emotional stability, you must develop a love for yourself, remember what you are competent at and what you respect yourself for.
  2. Set priorities in life, reflect on what is valuable to you. Think about what you like to do, what you want from your future, set yourself goals. These should be global goals that relate somehow to the question, “What is most important to me in life?” Confidence in your ideals will help you to more easily endure any quarrels and crises.
  3. Give enough time to your hobbies or favorite school subjects. Study, sports and creativity are areas of self-realization, a way to become more confident, find new acquaintances, gain autonomy from the family. Through hobby groups and clubs, teenagers can communicate with the world and get more positive emotions. It is important for this activity to be constructive and interesting.
  4. Appreciate your friends and intelligently choose whom you can trust. Try to communicate with those who treat you with care. Talking with a close friend helps us reflect on our experiences and teaches us how to deal with difficult emotions.

Attachment problems leave an imprint on all subsequent relationships, including those with oneself.

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