Gilmore Girls. A classic television show about a mom and a daughter’s unbreakable bond. A mom and daughter that shared everything with each other. Growing up watching shows like this, I had always wanted that “perfect” relationship with my mom. One where we spend countless nights talking about boys while doing each other’s nails, or spending hours baking together while singing along to old Taylor Swift songs. However, this was never the case for me. My mom and I had never had that easy relationship where we could talk openly to each other. Our time together consisted mostly of sitting in silence and both of us hoping that somebody would say something to get rid of the awkwardness. I was even less close with my dad, with him coming home after I went to bed and leaving for work before I woke up. For the first 15 or so years of my life, a strong bond with my parents was something that I had always longed for yet did not know how to start working towards.
For most of us, our parents are one of the most important people in our lives and having a good relationship with our parents can help us become healthier socially, mentally, and emotionally. Our relationship with our parents can determine our relationship with other people in our lives and affect how we interact with them. For most of my life, my relationship with my parents had not been the best since we would usually either be screaming at each other, or not know how to talk to each other. This would often cause me to be in a negative mood and I found that I had a hard time maintaining healthy relationships or opening up to my friends due to my unhealthy relationship with my parents. My relationship with my parents is still not perfect but over the years, I have learned how to slowly start building stronger bonds with them.
One of the most helpful things for me was finding what similar interests I had with my parents to find things that we could do together. Even though sitting down and trying to talk usually just ended up in awkward silence, finding an activity that we both liked to do ensured that we would have fun and put less pressure on making conversation. For example, driving was an activity that both me and my dad liked to do, so we would make plans for him to teach me how to drive every night. Since he was busy teaching me and I was busy learning how to drive, we did not feel like we had to talk and were also both having fun at the same time. In addition, doing this activity together gave us something to talk about even when we weren't driving.
The next thing that really helped me out was just starting off simple by telling my parents about my day. Throughout the day, I would make an active effort to notice things to tell my parents when I would see them later. For example, if one of my friends spilled their lunch all over their shirt or if I saw a dog with a broken leg on my way back home, I would make a mental note to tell my parents about that when I see them. Even though these small things do not seem like they would have much impact on improving your relationship with your parents, these small steps can have the biggest impact in the end. You do not have to tell them about the deepest darkest parts of yourself immediately, and starting off small and working at your own pace based on what you feel comfortable sharing with your parents was something that I personally found helped me a great deal.
The final thing that was really helpful was realizing that every parent-child relationship is different. I used to watch TV shows of parents and children with amazing relationships or see my friends have ‘perfect’ relationships with their parents and would feel jealous that I did not have the same with my own parents. It took me a long time before I realized that every relationship and every family is different. I had always thought that my unhealthy relationship with my parents had stemmed from me not being good enough or them not loving me enough. I had always been focusing on all the “perfect” relationships that I had seen around me and was trying to forcibly have the exact same relationship with my parents. This took me away from being able to see that my parents do love me and show that to me, just in a way that was different from what I saw on TV. Yes, I don’t talk about boys late at night with my mom or go on camping trips with my dad. However, my parents show their love by always supporting me in everything I do and by being there for me no matter how much I mess up. Realizing that every relationship is different allowed me to see what’s special and unique about my relationship with my own parents and this can be such an important step in fostering a positive bond with them.
Our relationships with our parents are not always the easiest or the best and it is completely okay to go slow and take a break from spending time with your parents if it gets to be too mentally straining or uncomfortable for you. However, if you are looking for ways to slowly start improving your relationship with them, I hope that I was able to help!
Have a great day!
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Teenagers With Experience is an organisation created to provide teenagers worldwide with an online platform to share their own experiences to be able to help, inform and educate others on a variety of different topics. We aim to provide a safe space to all young people. You can contact us via email, social media or our contact form found on our home page.