As teens and young adults, it can be incredibly challenging to know how best to interact with our parents and cultivate great relationships with them. Some parents don’t really know how to relate to their children at those ages and their not knowing where to begin can lead to them inadvertently growing distant. Teens and young adults, on the other hand, naturally want to practice more independence and be respected for having their own opinions and desires in life. These feelings can lead to a lot of misunderstanding and growing pains.
As challenging as this season can be, it can nevertheless be a beautiful one, as well! Especially when we keep in mind these 5 practical little steps we can take towards cultivating great relationships with our parents:
- Seek their counsel rather than the counsel of your peers.
Remember that your parents have “been around the block” a time or two. They know things you don’t, simply by nature of their having experienced more of life. This is not at all a put down to you – it’s merely a reminder of the wonderful source of wisdom you can tap into as a result of seeking your parents’ wisdom and counsel when making life decisions. Even if, in the past, your parents have been standoffish, this seeking of their advice will likely encourage them to become more involved – especially if they have been scared to do so in the past.
- Be intentional to daily spend time with them.
Enjoy doing everyday things with your parents. Play games together, cook together, go shopping, or go to the movies. Show them you enjoy spending time with them. Do this even if you haven’t enjoyed spending time with them in the past – the more you do it, the more you will want to do it.
- Don’t be afraid to share with them your desire to be protected and guided in your dating relationships.
Parents have a hard time when it comes to understanding how to move forward when their kids begin dating. On the one hand, many operate from a place of fear over what could happen, so they become incredibly strict and stifling. On the other hand, some parents fear accidentally pushing their kids away, so rather than becoming too strict, they become too lax and appear as if they don’t care what you do. Both responses can drive a wedge between parent and child. It may take your willingness to be open and honest, humble and vulnerable with your parents, sharing with them your desire to have their input, protection, and advice as you begin to date. This will go a long way towards deepening your relationship as they see your maturity and you see their love and wisdom.
- When they offer advice, be teachable and receive it with humility.
Assume the best about your parents – believe they have your best interests at heart. This will help you obey God’s command to honor your parents even as you are getting older and you don’t always want their advice. Remember, again, that they have lived longer than you and that naturally results in their having acquired wisdom and insight that will be helpful to you.
- Thank them for being your parents and express your gratitude for their role in your life.
Being a parent is a hard job. It’s a high calling, an impactful job, and an important role, but it is still hard. Acknowledge this and express your gratitude for all your parents have done for you (and continue to do!). This can look a multitude of different ways – express your thanks verbally, write them a note and leave it on their pillow, buy them a little surprise gift, do something special for them around the house, offer to babysit your younger siblings so they can go out for a refreshing date night, or pray for them and let them know you have. This will be a bigger blessing to them than you know!
Cultivating better relationships with your parents or deepening already good relationships doesn’t have to be hard, challenging, or complicated. It can be as simple as your being willing to hear what they have to say or leaving a note of encouragement in their car. As simple as it may be, though, you will never be able to overestimate the lasting positive impact having a good relationship with your parents can have on the rest of your life! Cultivate it now. You will be glad you did!