How in the world are you supposed to manage a relationship with your parents when fraught with manipulation, stress, anger, trauma, etc? You love your parents, you want more from them. However, the desire for repair becomes dull as you fear reliving some uncomfortable, painful dance from the past.
Listen in to today’s podcast for hope towards repair in the adult child/parent relationship.
“A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it. ~ Frank A. Clark
Recap from Last Week’s Podcast:
- The break in your relationship with your parents most likely began in your childhood and will likely continue to be frustrating for you until something is named and addressed. Instead of remaining in the ‘old dance’ of familiarity and pain, you choose to step outside of this and dream for something more.
- Parents who are willing to learn from their child, no matter the age of the child, will most likely be the parents in healthy relationships or those moving toward healthy relationships with their child.
- Be humble, admitting you are not perfect and make mistakes, even as your parents aren’t perfect and make mistakes.
- Listen to your children, apologize to them where they did not feel your delight in them or your respect for them. Then, move into repair.
- Your own emotions and disruptive feelings may sidetrack necessary repair. Beware.
- As parents desiring something more for your relationship with your child, it is vital for you to model self-control and movement into their lives, reinforcing your delight in them and your respect for them.
- While you may not respect or delight in your child’s behavior or their choices, the focus here is more about being with her as a person, whom God created in His image, worthy of delight and respect.
- If your parents are humble and willing to grow, then the odds improve for having a healthier relationship with them. You will likely have a successful conversation when you do approach parents who are humble and open. If they are not, do not worry. You are still in a parent-child relationship, which carries a lot of weight.
Restoring Relating with Your Parents is a 3-Step Process:
1. Know your story and from where your pain emanates.
a. Name the damage.
b. God created us with a desire to be seen and be known by our parents.
c. “A baby is born with a need to be loved and never outgrows it.
~ Frank A. Clark
2. Do the work to have your needs met by God, by yourself, and by seeking help from others.
a. If all three of these components (Acceptance, Attunement & Connection) are present, it would thereby follow that you would be able to have a healthy conversation of repair with your parents.
b. If you are lacking or needy in any one of these 3 areas, you will be looking, if even subconsciously, for your parents to provide these basic childhood needs. In some cases, you may find your friend or spouse or worse, your child, has become a parental surrogate, meeting these needs in some way.
c. You are now an adult with an adult brain. You can meet these desires on your own, by asking God, and/or a friend or trusted confidant to help you name and find healthy ways to provide for your own needs.
3. Dream (or hope) for a redeemed relationship with your parents, recognizing possible boundaries may need to be established, speaking the truth in love.
a. Speak the truth in love with boundaries- your ‘yes’ and ‘no’.
b. Delight in (dream for) the relationship with your parents to be healthier and more respectful- not wanting your parents to remain in the sludge of their sin.
c. An ‘if-then-else’ statement may be necessary. The ‘else’ refers to a ‘when I
return next time’ or ‘we can talk on the phone next week’ statement. Pay attention to these statements, for they are meant to ‘wake you up’ so you do not remain in your unhealthy relating style.
d. As an adult, consider what your part has been in the dysfunctional relationship with your parents.
Changing the relational dynamic between adult child and parent is never easy. You are called to be alive and present. You can offer acceptance, attunement and connection with your parents, even when they did not provide these for you. It is also imperative for you to offer these to your children. To do this, you must first change- find acceptance, attunement and connection within your own body. This is your work. After offering acceptance, attunement and connection to yourself, you will be in a better position to offer these to not only your children, but as well, to your parents. May detachment stop now, with you, your generation. Please, do not let detachment be passed down to your children.
Stay tuned next week! I will interview a young woman who was brave enough to wrestle with both the harm done to her and her deep desire for restoration within her relationship with her parents.
1 Pet 4:8; Eph 5:21; 1 Pet 5:5; Phil 2:3; Prov 27:17; 2 Cor 4:16-18; Rom 12:18