Relationship Bridges: Parents
Your mom was your playdate coordinator and your dad was your piggy-back ride. Anytime you wanted ice-cream, you went to dad! When you wanted Emily to come over, you asked mom! You finally figured out who to go to for the right answer. Your relationship with your parents was easy and outgoing. Of course, there were times you liked dad better than mom...because mom made you clean your room. But then there's the time dad said no to your third scoop of ice-cream and you vowed to always be a mommy's girl. Whatever the case was for you, there was probably hardly any deep or offensive conflicts that came up. Your dad was your prince and you were his princess. You told him you were going to marry him when you turned 18. You volunteered to help mom cook anytime shed let you. Even when it meant doing the dishes...as long as you were helping mom.
Your relationship with both your mother and father was almost effortless- there was no shouting or cold shoulder moments. You were both outwardly and inwardly submissive. How enjoyable!
When you were twelve...
Your mom became too outgoing and your dad was excessively embarrassing. How? You have no idea. It all started at your piano recital, when they yelled out your six-year-old nickname. You've barely had time to process your own emotional changes, let alone your parents. Why are they different? You wonder. The reality is, they've always been that way. Now when a friend asks you to hangout, you dread telling mom in fear of what she'd say in front of your friend. When you wanted to go shopping, you got extremely nervous because you're afraid dad will ask what you're planning to buy. Car rides became tense. Mealtimes were subdued. You'd rather talk to your hamster then your parents because...uh...you don't know. You feel awkward. Conflicts became more and more frequent. You harbored a cold-shoulder attitude after a light comment made by your mom. Anger fueled up inside of you when your dad mentioned how messy your room was getting. How could you be so difficult? You were confused. Although you felt guilty at times, knowing you were the common break-up factor, you don't know how to reconnect. You wonder if you can ever connect again. Its not that you want to go back being a princess, but you miss the stress free conversations on the back porch late at night. You wished they understood your viewpoints. You might've seemed outwardly submissive, but on the inside you were full of turmoil. How depressing!
If you're past the twelve-year-old stage by now, life either got more confusing less. You are now aware of the cause and effect on life's choices. You might even be able to see your own mistakes in conflicts and address them. If you do that...you show great maturity. Being more open and flexible in viewpoints and correction in conversations allows a BRIDGE to be built between the GAP you created at 12. Get out of the awkward stage! Don't you miss enjoyable conversations in the car with your mom? Don't you miss having deep talks with dad after dinner? If you desire to grow your maturity and rebuild a relationship with your parents, read the following key-points.
- Communicate your feelings. When you feel the time is right to sit down with your parents (one or both is fine, I prefer one on one) communicate maturely. Don't work up tears to make your point, and don't act dumb if they ask you something when you're uncomfortable. Be calm and relaxed. To get your heart right, you might read your Bible and pray before, or journal and listen to music. Write out what your trying to communicate before hand so you're collected. When you talk, talk slow respectfully. Here's a little example of how you might want to start:
I've missed being connected to you like it was when I was little. I want to do everything I can to reconnect and build a bridge between us. Do you think we could try again? (List frustrations you have and how you plan to work at being teachable)
- Accept correction. During your conversation, if they correct a view point or point out a false pretense, don't get clammy and defensive. Accept it, and move on. Don't hang on to it the rest of the time. Chances are, they had this same talk with their parents when they were your age.
- Be teachable. If and when they point out an accusation is wrong ("I never yelled at you that one time!) Don try to fight it, even if you think your 100% right. Remember, they are the parents.
- Contribute. Offer suggestions into making the relationship work. Perhaps it means you clean up the house more without complaining. Or maybe offering to interact more with your siblings.
- Keep your spirit right. Never never never become cold or angered. Stay calm and collected and show that you are truly submissive. If they feel you're not listening/accepting what you're saying, chances are you will never get your point across.
Most of all, remember what God says about parents. The fifth commandment says to honor your father and mother. Pursue The Lord and your relationships will thrive!
Comment about funny times you had with your parents...