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How to Strengthen Your Adult Relationship with Parents

Updated: Apr 30

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“In order to grow, they must learn to fix their own mistakes. Have the door open and the coffee poured, ready to listen.” - Unknown 

In our life journeys, the relationship between adult children and their parents undergoes several transformations. Throughout life's stages, we go through childhood, adolescent, and teenage years before we reach adulthood. In these earlier stages, we have no choice but to abide by our parents' rules and regulations and follow their guidance even when we may not wish to. As children, we wish to have a safe bond with our parents. In adulthood, we begin a journey to foster deeper connections and understanding with our parents. As adults, we have a choice: We want autonomy and freedom and the will to be free to express and communicate and make our own decisions. As we move through all of the stages of life, the adult parent stage can be thought of as the hardest due to figuring out how to be your own person with your own morals, values, ethics, and decision-making skills. Strengthening adult relationships with our parents, requires patience, empathy, and willingness to navigate the complexities that arise along our journey.  In this blog, we will be going through strategies for how to navigate, strengthen, cultivate, and create more fulfilling relationships with your parents, once you enter adulthood. 

Navigating adulthood and continuing to foster healthy relationships with our friends, family, and significant others can be difficult to manage. If these tasks appear to be difficult for you, you are not alone. According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of young adults in America report that they have a positive relationship with their parents which leaves another 41% of adults who do not have a positive relationship with their parents as adults. Having a positive relationship with your parents can be very beneficial for your overall well-being, and support. So how do we foster these bonds and keep our relationships with our parents healthy?


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Tips for Strengthening Your Relationship with Parents as Adults    

  1. Effective Communication: Communication is key to fostering a stronger and long-lasting relationship with your parents. Healthy communication involves clear, open, and transparent expression of feelings and emotions will create a safe space for communication. 

  1. Understanding Perspectives: Understanding each other's perspectives can help foster strong communication, ties, and understanding between individuals. According to an article written by Harvard Business, active listening is defined as meaning: Hearing what someone is saying while also being attuned to their thoughts and feelings. The goal of active listening is listening to understand and not listening to respond. Active listening aids the conversation by ensuring that all individuals who are a part of the conversation feel, heard, validated, and understood. Through active listening the four horsemen should also be avoided, as mentioned by John and Julie Gottman from the Gottman Institute–pioneers of research in relationships. The types of the four horsemen include criticism, contempt, stonewalling, and defensiveness. The four horsemen break down communication and, therefore, affect relationships severely through increasing conflict. Utilizing their antidotes such as Gentle start-up (utilizing I statements instead of You statements), Sharing Fondness and Admiration (verbally sharing love and care for one another), self-soothing and taking accountability for our actions will keep communication strong.


  1. Boundary Setting: Boundary setting is crucial for maintaining autonomy and respect within adult parent-child relationships as mentioned earlier in the blog. As adults, we strive to focus on our individual responsibilities, priorities, and personal lives without the influence of our parents. Boundaries are needed to provide a healthy framework of interaction that also assists with fostering safety, security, and balance within the relationship. When setting boundaries, you want to focus on rules and limits that you wish to set within the relationship. The rules and limits should be clear and concise on what is OK and what is not OK within your relationship with each other. 

  1. Quality Time: Spend time together! During the hustle and bustle of our adult lives, it can be difficult to make time to dedicate to our friends, families, and significant others. Think of activities you can enjoy doing together, as well as ways to celebrate milestones, birthdays and anniversaries in fun ways. Spending quality time with your parents will assist with keeping the bond and relationship strong, as well as continuing to foster healthy, emotional connections. 

All in all, healthy adult parent-child ration relationships are possible to have. Like any other relationship, keeping our relationship strong and healthy has its challenges but it's not impossible. With the tips mentioned above such as effective communication, understanding different perspectives, boundary setting, and prioritizing quality time, your adult parent-child relationship can be stronger than ever and stand the test of time.

For more tips, please check out our other tips here:  You can always find us at 954-903-1676 for counseling services.

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