I have attempted to write this blogs subject matter so many times in the past, but have held off because I was scared of offending anyone, namely my family. But as I watch so many of my friends going through issues of varying degrees it seems to me that there is a pattern emerging within my generation. I am sure I am not the first one to figure this out, but I will say I am having a heck of time finding anyone else’s writings that have quite identified what I feel is something that must be pointed out. I felt really alone for a long time with what I was going through with my parents at various stages of my life and perhaps going though what I did at a younger age has made me a little more cognoscente of the patterns I now view around me.
I have written about children before and although I have none of my own, I was a child of divorce. And I do believe that how we relate to our parents impacts our future relationships. After all, this is the first bond that we form upon birth. The primary one is with our mothers, and secondary is with our fathers. Because of this, whenever I am given the opportunity to comment on a situation where children are involved I will always be the voice for the child. As much I want to side with the parent, I will never fail in pointing to the needs of the children as the primary action to consider. But we must not forget that the relationships we have with our parents are starting to change now too even without children involved.
Here are some common problems that I am noticing between my friends the relationships they are having with their parents. The first is that the parents are too involved in their child’s life. I went to counseling with one of my parents a few years back because I felt like I had a relationship that was not normal or what I needed. I felt that the involvement was as a friend and not as a parent. That the parent voiced opinions and concerns that were inappropriate to voice. Almost to the point where I felt that if I didn’t not take the opinions of that person that I was letting them down in someway, and a major issue in this was that those opinions were almost forcefully put upon me. I thought I was so alone in this issue, but the more I look around I see parents of friend my age doing the exact same thing. I see parents telling 30 year olds who they can and cannot date. I have friends who are being judged for their specialties in their chosen professions, especially when the wants are different than their parents. Across the board I am seeing my generation almost being forced to take a stand against our parents.
It is absolutely baffling to me to even write this. I have never felt unconditional love except by my grandparents and thus I truly thought I was the only person out there who had to take a stand first against one parent at a very young age, and then against the second parent at a much older place. But now I am seeing the big picture where it is not just me going through this crazy transition. What has taken place in our parents generation that has afforded them this belief that they have the rights to force their adult children into actions that they perceive as correct? Parents need to understand that they have made mistakes in their life time. Not only that but that their children will make mistakes in their lifetimes. But the real issue is projecting past mistakes upon your children.
My therapist who counseled me during my realization of this years ago said something that helped but hurt a lot. She told me that my parent was experiencing a sense of loss in losing the child who needed love and support to letting go and accepting that I was now an adult. The advice was that I needed to set the rules for how I wanted the relationship to continue in the future and I had to set the tone for our relationship. Honestly it is something that I find so hard to do, to stand up to the person who I owe life to and express that I am an adult who is free to make my own decisions and more importantly my own mistakes. Maybe in writing this a few of you out there will recognize your own patterns in this situation and your own way to rectify the problems and salvage the relationships with your parents. It is after all the first relationship you have in your life, and will define you until the end.