There are a lot of things in life that give me anxiety and fear, but speaking openly to my parents is not one of them. I have had so many friends during my life who tell me how hard it is for them to talk openly to their parents about various topics.
If you’re reading this, you may have a parent who is this way or know someone who does.
Needless to say this has not been my experience with my parents and I feel like because I am able to communicate openly with my parents, it has given me a certain level of confidence as an adult. It has also given me an example on what kind of relationship I want to have with my daughter.
Because my parents missed a chunk of my life due to them battling drug addictions, there has been a lot to talk about.
Of course, now that I’m an adult it’s easier to talk to them now than when I was child, because of the fear I had of getting in trouble.
What I have learned
Seeing my parents model the behavior of open communication and allowing myself to speak my mind without judgement or any negative reactions has been crucial in the way I parent and how I communicate with other adults.
My parents are growing too – I have been able to tell them how their choices have affected my life and how they hurt me. I’ve also been able to tell them when they need to get their stuff together and do better. Through communicating this to them, I was able to learn that they are learning and growing as well. We assume because our parents are our parents that they have all the answers. Maybe now they probably have most of them, but not all of them. At one point they were exactly where I was in my 20s; trying to raise children the best way they knew how while dealing with their trauma of the past and life’s stressors.
It’s OK to admit you are wrong/take responsibility for your actions – When I call my parents out on the areas they need to improve on, or how they could have made a better choice, they don’t take it as disrespect. They listen to what I have to say and yes, there is still some push back, but they ultimately hear me out and admit their wrongs. This has taught me to do the same with my daughter. I never want her to think that just because she is a child, neither me nor any other adult is right just because we’re adults. This has given me the confidence to speak up in situations where most people wouldn’t.
Forgiveness – There is so much forgiveness we need to give out to all the people who have hurt us and to some that continue to hurt us. In a perfect world, everyone would be able to sit down and have a conversation with the person who hurt them in some shape or form, where they admit their wrongs, there’s a deep dialogue and there is then understanding of the person’s actions and you forgive them. But that’s not how forgiveness works and it sure doesn’t happen like that. Being that I have been able to talk to my parents and communicate to them directly on how they have impacted my life, it allowed me to get out my feelings and move to the step of forgiveness. Because I have had this practice with my parents, it has shown me that forgiveness is possible and that forgiving people is OK to do. Forgiveness is not just hearing the words I’m sorry or someone admitting they are wrong. None of those things can take away the hurt and pain that was caused.
- If you are reading this and need to forgive someone and you feel as if you need to talk to them for closure in order to get to that next step but there’s just no way for you to do that for whatever reason, try writing a letter to that person. Write EVERYTHING you would want to say to them in person and don’t hold anything back. Then do what you want with it: send it to them, burn it, throw it away, etc. Whatever you do, let it go. The action of writing it out allows you to let your feelings out. Often times we don’t live in a perfect world and we can’t have a dialogue with the person we need to forgive, and sometimes even if we do, they almost never say what we want to hear because forgiveness comes from within you (I think I’m going to write a blog about forgiveness).
What’s the point of this?
If you have not found anything helpful in what you have read so far, then too bad. Just kidding. The moral of this blog is that there is nothing we can do to change our parents and the way they choose to communicate: they are just how they are.
But you can do something about changing the way you choose to communicate with your child and how you allow them to communicate with you. Apologize to your kid, tell them when you have messed up, show them how to forgive.
I am a living example of the positive impact it can have when your child becomes an adult. If your child is already an adult, it’s NEVER too late.
Are you able to express yourself to your parents?
Do you want your children to be able to express themselves to you?