How to Find Some Common Ground with Difficult Parents

We’ve all been there, through moments when we feel so powerless towards our parents, because of that gap that exists in our understanding of one another. Yet there are some things we should keep in mind during this type of communication.

No matter how progressive our views become, I believe there will always be a certain point in communication that creates a gap between us and our parents, or, between us, younger generations as parents, and our children. Things are evolving constantly in how youth manifests itself, and we can’t remain modern forever. Not to mention the fact that there are parents whose views are completely and utterly conventional, and do not reflect our views of society, politics, living, and wellbeing in general.

What happens quite often (especially, significantly in the Balkans where I’m from) is that we are hugely impacted by the way our parents perceive us, how they talk to us, and what they think of our achievements. However, some of the lucky ones have escaped this pressure of perception, and they’re out there living their own lives, exploring an identity that is completely opposite to the one they’ve seen within their family.

Here are some things we should take into account when our parents’ views are opposite to ours.


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George Rudy/

Your Parents Only Want The Best for You

Although quite often what our parents think is the best for us might just be the worst. They think we have all that it takes to become doctors and scientists, whereas we are filled with the need to express art, in many different forms. But they worry about the profits and financial stability because they probably had to struggle to assure stability while they raised you in the first place. So think of their pressure as the only way they know how to try and make sure that you’re investing in the best future for yourself. Nevertheless, do not settle for convenience.


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First Affirm Their Efforts, then Oppose Their Views

This approach pretty much relates to the one I briefly elaborated on above. Do not become severely mad when your difficult parents do not recognize your art, your social activism, or your altruism for the community – because they think that you’re not making anything out of them. Think of the source of their thoughts, think how narrow-minded they must feel for relying only on financial rewards to feel stability in their lives. Once you’re able to think about the source, recognize their worry, affirm their efforts towards your well-being, and then let them know exactly where you’re finding fulfillment.


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Consider Becoming Their Friend

In most cases, this is what our difficult parents really want from the bottom of their hearts. The feminist movement discusses a bit about how patriarchy has been keeping both women and men away from expressing feelings towards children, out of fear of weakening children — especially boys, who are socially expected to become less sensitive as they grow. This shouldn’t be the practice we follow, as younger generations. We can break this unhealthy cycle and offer them our love instead.


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Try to Keep Them Posted on Things They May Appreciate

If you can easily identify things in which you hardly disagree with your parents — then if possible, and if that does not impact your wellbeing, do avoid these topics and talk about things you agree on instead. Keep your mother posted on that girl you’re dating, or your father about that TV show you both watch on global politics, or vice versa. See what they’re interested in, and follow their flow for a little while.


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Keep Being Your Empathetic Self

It’s really hard for our parents to completely shift their personalities and become who we want them to be. We cannot impose our intellect on them, and if we try doing so, we will end up fighting for our convictions all the time, as they have lived a lifetime believing certain things. Changing now may seem like the end of the world to them. So try to be as empathetic as you can, and keep your little victories to yourself, if they don’t necessarily welcome them. You got you, and that is what matters!


Photo: fizkes/


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