Getting your parents to treat you differently


Finding a way that YOU can communicate differently can really change how the other person listens.

Do your parents drive you crazy? 

Do their interfere with your life? 

Do you wish they would just stop it and treat you differently?

Here is a tip that just might work for you.  It sure worked for me, and when I have passed this tip on to friends, it often works.

Let me paint a real life scenario for you as an example…

Scenario:  You have decided to divorce and you have broken the news to your parents.  They are shocked and embarrassed – after all, what about saving face with their friends and relatives?   They begin by trying to save your marriage, lecturing you and your spouse to convey their wisdom of why society has created selfish people and we just need to learn to accept each other more. Their worried tone overlays every interaction they have with you. They lay a guilt trip on you about how it will affect your kids for the rest of their lives.

Your reaction?  – Frustration!

For a moment, put yourself into their shoes:  They are likely thinking “oh, how can I fix the situation?  How do I stop my child from making this big mistake?   I want my child to be happy, so I have to do something!”

Now for the tip. Here’s what you can do:  Communicate differently and clearly to your parents, being very specific about how you want them to support you.  It is my true belief, especially now that I am a parent myself, that parents do indeed want the best for their children, and they do their best to help them in the best way they know how. What is often not well communicated, is how the child wants to be supported. So it is up to the child (you) to find a way to communicate differently and noticeably – have a conversation that will get noticed.

1)  Setting the scene:

Go somewhere different to have a conversation – maybe to the park, a coffee shop, etc, so the atmosphere feels different.  Taking someone outside of their day-to-day surroundings will make them pay more attention. 

2) Here’s how this conversation may look:  

Speak in a respectful, calm, non-judgmental tone.

You:  “Mom and Dad, I know you love me and want to help me.  My getting back together with my husband is not going happen.  If you really want to help me, here’s how you can help.”

  • “Support me in my decision. Supporting me means to stop trying to get us back together.”
  • “Support me by helping to babysit my kids once in awhile and helping me settle into a new place.”

The bottom line is, that your parents truly are doing their best to help, but if they are not told, they are going to assume their own version of what ‘helping you’ means.

This is about good relationship communication, regardless of what scenario we are talking about – your parents, your friends, your spouse, your sisters, your own kids, etc.  Is it so common that we get into ruts about how we interact and communicate with the people in our lives, and sometimes do not realize how something as basic as clearly expressing expectations and needs actually works. Good communication needs responsibility from both sides.

I hope this is helpful to you, if not now, then at some point in your life.


2 thoughts on “Getting your parents to treat you differently

  1. So true…
    This is actually applicable to relationships in general. Often our conflicts arise from the fact that we are not willing or able to understand where the other party is coming from. If we could just take a step back, and think about other potential perspectives or reasons for certain reactions by our family members, friends, co-workers… we could break that spiraling circle of negativity and bring more harmony into relationships.

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