Struggling to get along with a parent? That isn’t much fun! Whether you just have the problem occasionally or frequently disagree, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only one in the world who has these issues.
The reality is that every child or young adult struggles to get along with their parents from time to time. Some friction can actually be healthy since it shows that you’re gradually becoming more independent. Ultimately, that’s exactly what both you and your parent want. As you work through these completely normal struggles, here are some things you can try to help ease the tension.
Your emotions and words have great power for good and for bad. Although your parent may not show it, when you say mean things to them, it hurts them. They’ve hurt you with their words, too. Everyone feels like lashing out at people sometimes.
If you feel the urge coming on, try writing out your intense emotions in a journal instead of saying them out loud to your parent. Write out whatever you need to say even if it wouldn’t be appropriate in any other setting. After you’re done, crumple up that page in your journal and throw it away. No one will get hurt in the process and a bad argument could be avoided.
Random Act of Kindness
If you’re having a tough time with a parent, try doing something kind for them. It’s probably the last thing that you’ll initially feel like doing. Try it even if you don’t feel like it. You’ll feel good afterwards knowing that you did something kind and your parent will appreciate what you did too.
Something funny happens when you do something nice for someone you don’t feel nicely about. That person doesn’t seem as bad as they did before you did that thoughtful thing. There are many kind things you could do. Compliment your parent, water their flowers, write them a letter, bake them some cookies or do something of your choosing.
Have Fun Together
You and your parent likely have some of the same interests even though you don’t always get along. Work and school obligations can make you both forget to have fun. Find something fun that you can do together. Go shopping, take a hike, go fishing, go out to eat or whatever you want.
By doing something that you both enjoy, you’ll strengthen your relationship. Hopefully you’ll get to talk without conflict, smile, laugh and build some memories. You’ll remember that your parent isn’t that bad after all and they’ll remember the same thing about you.
Complete a Task Together
The last piece of advice was to “play” together. It’s a human need to have fun things to do. It’s also a human need, believe it or not, to “work.” It makes people feel purposeful. You can look for a job that needs done and suggest helping your parent with that task.
Although it may not be an easy job, this will help to make your relationship stronger. It’ll remind you both that you’re a team instead of rivals. You could do yardwork, organize your attic, paint a room or help to detail your parent’s car. Again, don’t worry if you don’t feel like it. Just try it anyway. Some of the greatest human achievements have happened from people doing things that they didn’t feel like doing at first.
Things may be going badly between you and your parent right now but that’s not how things have to stay. You may feel like a victim of your unpleasant situation and that you can’t do anything to improve it because you’re young. That isn’t true, though.
Some of these tips will work better for different people. If one that you try doesn’t work as well for you as you’d hoped, don’t get discouraged. Just try something else and watch your relationship with your parent improve in the process!