Dear Avery: Healthy Relationships with Parents


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A young man and woman work together to grow their love and improve their committed relationship.

Dear Avery,

When I was young, my parents were my best friends. I wanted to do just about everything with them, and I could never imagine ever leaving their side; however, as months pass and I mature into a young-adult, I feel like that special bond we once had has faded away. As I try to discover myself, I am disconnecting from the people who have been with me since day one. Sometimes this consists of fighting, other times it means ignoring each other for hours. Either way, all I want is to build a healthy relationship with them again, but it feels as if they don’t understand the person I am becoming. No matter what I do, they never seem to trust that I am becoming independent and can care for myself. I want to be my own person, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose them. Do you have any advice? 





Dear Anonymous,

With a new year will come new experiences, goals, struggles, relationships, and interests. Things are bound to change, especially when you are an adolescent who is steering their way through middle school all while discovering themselves and learning to be more independent. As hard as this is, it can be even harder for your parents, who have to witness the person they’ve raised transition into a young-adult. It is hard to put yourself in this position as you have never raised a child, but you have to empathize towards them. Even adults can have a hard time dealing with emotions. They may choose to channel these emotions into anger or sadness, or simply being silent, all easier options then expressing how they feel. Either way,  working on a relationship isn’t a one person task, and as easy as it is to pin the blame on one person, remember that growing up is inevitable and as are the emotions and changes that come with it. It may take the adults in your life more time to process that, but that doesn’t make it their fault; however, there are things that you can take control of, like how you speak to them, how you behave around them, and the amount of respect you show towards them. They were teenagers once too, and if you vocalize your concerns rather than yelling or fighting, you will have a much easier time getting through to them. Communication is key, as it proves that you can handle a situation responsibility and control your emotions. Through communication, you guys can learn about each other and find common interests. Finding similarities is one of the best ways to rebuild a relationship, as it creates things to bond over. Another thing to remember is that sometimes in order to prove yourself, you need to do it through your actions. Actions always speak louder than words, because words don’t have to necessarily be true but actions speak for themselves. If your parents don’t recognize that you are becoming a responsible young-adult, show them. Prove yourself by acting appropriately and taking on responsibility. Advocate for yourself and work hard. Make smart decisions and do anything in your power to reach goals. Give them a reason to trust, understand, and feel proud of you and all you’ve accomplished. 


Unfortunately, things will never be perfect. It’s hard to grasp sometimes, but there will always be an age gap that will act as a barrier separating you and your parents into different generations that will never fully understand one another. This is where acceptance comes in, which is a critical part to a healthy relationship. One thing I’ve carried with me throughout my life is the idea that a parent figure is not a friend. My parents have always been there for me, supportive of me, and loving towards me, but they aren’t my friends. They are my parents, and with their fun and outgoing personalities comes boundaries and responsibility over me. With your friends, you adventure, try new things, and make mistakes as you grow up and learn about life. Your parents have already been through that, and now they are in a different stage of life than you. They have the responsibility of making sure you are safe, something that a friend will never have; therefore, your parents may never fully understand you, but that is only because they are in a different stage of life where their only priority is your safety and well-being. 


Parenting is difficult, and every parent reacts to its challenges differently. Your parents may feel overly cautious of you, but sometimes accepting change means having time to process it, and that’s exactly what you need to give them. So, there may be strands in your relationships and places that need improvement, but that is also normal. The adjustment is difficult for a parent, which is why it’s important to communicate with them and be patient with them. In the meantime, continue to be yourself and use your actions to prove your maturity.

 “Romance fails us and so do friendships, but the relationship of a parent and child remains undeniable and indestructible, the strongest relationship on Earth.”

-Theodor Reik