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How to Have a Better Relationship with Your Parents and Why it Matters

Not all parents are the same -- some are helicopter parents, some let you get away with whatever you want, some are your best friends, and some are your worst enemies. But whatever kind of parents you have, everyone can improve their relationship with their parents. In the end, it's about mutual respect. You must realize all that your parents have done and continue to do for you, and how much you can give back. Here's how to have a better relationship with your parents.

Show Gratitude

When your parents have been nagging you your entire life to meet your curfew, get better grades, apply to summer internships, clean your room, and be friends with the neighbors, it's hard to see the reason behind the nagging. But realize that what's nagging to you is a way for your parents to show that they care. They want what's best for you, and are therefore encouraging you to be your best self. Be grateful.

Listen

Your parents might like to tell you stories about their past which you might think are boring or irrelevant. But they're not. It's important to know about your family history by listening to these stories, asking questions, and comparing them to your own stories. How has your family changed over the generations? Do you know where you came from? Listen to your parents, your elders and relatives. Their advice might seem obsolete, but human problems remain more or less the same across history. There's always love, grief, abandonment, hope. These themes don't change.

Talk About the Future

While you might not want to think about it, your parents will not be around forever. That's why it's practical to talk about the future. We don't just mean financial planning, but what do your parents want for the future of the family? How can you ensure that their wishes are satisfied? It's worth a discussion. You can keep it light, though.

Know Your Family Values

Your own family will be largely influenced by your parents. Each generation tweaks parenting styles and has different family values. Know yours so that you can create the family that you want. Notice which aspects of your parents' parenting style that you appreciate, and where your opinion veers off. Use what you know to create your own ideal style. It's through trial and error that you'll succeed.

Identify Changing Roles

Your parents took care of you for most of your life, and now you're on your own. The cycle goes that pretty soon, you'll have to take care of them. Show them that you care -- ask them what role they want you to play in their lives as they get older.

Put Your Parents in Your Schedule

Make time to see your parents -- once a week, once a month -- whatever works best. But nothing should get in the way of this valuable family time. They'll appreciate it, and so will you.

Keep Up Family Traditions

Keeping up family traditions shows respect for your parents and their values. It's an important way to pass down a sense of spirituality, and to keep your family grounded in history.

Share With Your Parents

Just because you may not live with your parents, that doesn't mean you should be totally separated from them. Call them with updates on your life. Invite them to dinner, to see your art opening, to be the first tasters of your new summer menu. Make them feel still involved in your life. You'll always be their child, and they'll always be your parents. Don't cut yourself off.

As time goes on, it's important to stay connected to our roots. So give your parents a call. You'll be glad you did.

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