If you and your parents have always been at odds, then you might find it hard to bring yourself closer to them as they age.
Years and years of grudges can pile up quickly, leaving both sides uncertain as to whether the relationship can ever be mended.
However, there's always hope of growing and fixing your relationship with parents. It is never too late to try and put certain practices into action.
Perhaps you need a few pointers on how to go about starting that process. If so, here are several tips on things that you can do to begin to heal the relationship you have with your mom and dad.
1. Look Inward First
First things first, if you want to nurture or save a relationship of any sort, you have to be willing to point the finger at yourself first.
The reality is that no side is innocent. However, you should only attempt to control what you can control.
Often times, people start to force change in themselves after they see another person attempting to do the same. In this case, that means that your parents will start to lighten their spirit after they see you trying to do the same.
Start by thinking of what you can improve on. If there were fights in the past, then what could you have done to prevent them? What can you apologize for in order to set things in motion?
Think all of these things through and write down a few resolutions you think can help kickstart the relationship nurturing.
2. Start with a Positive Phone Call
If you and your parents' disagreements have been festering over years and years, then don't expect everything to suddenly be all smiles right off the bat.
It's going to take baby steps for this process to slow things down to a point of agreement.
A great place to start is to begin by giving them a phone call to check in on them and see how they're doing.
Remember, depending on how long it's been since you've talked to each other, they probably weren't expecting your call so soon (if ever again). The call might be kind of awkward at first, but stay strong!
If you want to cut through the awkwardness, then just get straight to the point by acknowledging the mistakes you've made and apologizing for them.
It's important to not expect them to apologize right back at first. It may still take a while for their heart to soften and that's perfectly okay!
Let them know that you aren't expecting anything in return, but that you miss them and want to start fixing things in your relationship.
That phone call may not take any longer than 10 minutes, but it will mean the world to both you and your parent(s).
3. Always Prepare Several Possible Resolutions
Perhaps your relationship with your parents hasn't brought you to the point of not talking for several years.
However, there might be other things that have soured the relationship over the last few months.
One of the most common fights between adults and their elderly parents is the topic of moving the parents into a different situation. Whether that's a 55 and older community, retirement center, or nursing home, they might not budge.
That's why it's important for you to always have at least 2 possible solutions prepared for every scenario.
For example, if you and your parents are fighting about moving them out of their home, then try to offer a unique solution.
Granny pods: the newest trend in senior care? Maybe! Be sure to check out solutions like granny pods to solve that ongoing issue.
4. Try to See Their Point of View
The only thing more difficult than looking inward and self-assessing your own faults is looking at the situation from someone else's point of view.
But if you can manage to pull it off, it can be a relationship-saver between yourself and the people you're feuding with (in this case, your parents).
The reality might be that your parent is one of those people that are just difficult to deal with. But they still need you to help them and love them all the same.
As hard as it might be at times, try to see their side of the dilemma, acknowledge it and be the bigger person by apologizing for it.
5. Find Common Interests
People change, and so do their interests. You might think that you and your dad/mom have nothing in common, but you'll only know that for sure if you try.
Try to spend some time asking each other about the different interests that you have and whether you share any of them.
This probably won't leave for a "lightbulb" situation where you suddenly realize you both had the same passion all along. However, it can be a great stepping stone towards that. You may even find a new hobby or interest out of this.
For instance, if your mom is really into plays, but you're not, then attend a play or two with her. You might find that you actually love plays as well, but you hadn't previously given them a shot.
How to Build a Stronger Relationship with Parents: Time and Effort
The only way to build a stronger relationship with parents is to put forth the time and the commitment to doing so.
It's just like any other friendship. The more effort that you put into that relationship, the more that it will grow over time.
Be sure to browse our website for several more articles on family, as well as many other helpful topics.