Parents are normally the first people we meet when we take our first breaths. Although we tend to spend a huge portion of our childhood with them, we frequently realize that it is easier for us to share our experiences with friends or other family members, even when we have a great relationship with our parents. The more important the conversation is, the more difficult it seems to be able to talk to them. Even adult children have a hard time talking to their parents about sex, troubled relationships, getting in trouble with the law, drug addiction, etc.

That, notwithstanding, there always comes a point in our lives when we feel like sharing our true feelings with them, about some important matter without alienating ourselves. They might be in the best position to help, give advice, and support us during our toughest moments. Sharing your experience with your parents becomes even more important when you want to enjoy a close relationship with them. The good news is that there are a few approaches you can use to help have important conversations with your parents without feeling estranged:

1. Talk about everyday basic stuff (small talk)

Engaging in small talk on a daily basis can be the easiest way to start. Making this a habit will make it easier for you to remain connected and make it less difficult to get into more sensitive topics.

You can talk about your workout routine, share something interesting you learned watching television, talk about how much you enjoy dancing, etc. Doing this regularly can improve a strained relationship and help your parents feel more connected to your daily life.

2. Choose the right time and place

This might be more important than you think. Think about the time and place when they feel the most energetic and often initiate conversations. For example, if you have noticed that they feel tired and are in a bad mood immediately after work, it might be smart for you to avoid bringing up a sensitive conversation then. And it’s not just about your parents, try not to start a conversation when you are frustrated or feeling angry. You might want to cool off first.

3. Have a plan

What is it you want to talk about? What are your expectations from the conversation? Do you have bad news to break to your parents? Do you need a piece of advice or their permission to do something? Or do you just want them to listen to you? Planning far in advance will help you get closer to your expectations.

Sharing your experience without thinking it through might make you more emotional, which will, in turn, increase the likelihood of forgetting what you wanted to say. You might want to write the main points down. Honestly describe how you feel. And if you are complaining about something, make sure you also provide a possible solution.

4. Talk to the parent most likely to understand

Chances are you are more comfortable talking to either your father or your mother about a specific subject, because he or she is more likely to understand. You might also feel that it is easier for one of them to make the other understand how you feel. If that holds true for you, then pull that parent aside when the other is not around and have your conversation.

While sharing your experience, it is important for you to have realistic expectations about the outcome. Keep in mind that it might not go your way and do your best not to react emotionally if it does not. Share your true feelings as clearly as possible and make sure you also carefully listen to what they have to say. Even though you might think you know your parents and how they will react, “people do better when they know better”, and their response might surprise you!

Sharing your experience in a mature way will inspire your parents to listen to you and think of you as an adult; someone with the ability to make important life decisions.

Categories: Sharing

24 Comments

Amie Warwick · November 18, 2019 at 9:02 pm

I would have to agree. Even though we love them, sometimes our parents can be the hardest people in the world to talk to. And of course, you have to be very careful how you speak to them because it can come back to haunt you later. Very good advice. I like the part about talking to the parent who is most likely to listen—that is always my mom. Her and I are always trying to convince my dad to listen.

    duppydomTEAM · November 22, 2019 at 5:10 am

    Amie, thank you for your comments. “Talking to the parent most likely to understand” is always a good idea. If your dad is the one who is usually more immovable (particularly when it comes to his belief system) 😠😒, forming a coalition with your mother is probably the way to go. Your mom will know the best way to get him to budge.

      Adaego M. Azi · November 23, 2019 at 9:27 pm

      Yes duppydomTEAM, I totally agree. 🤗👍

Adaego M. Azi · November 19, 2019 at 7:26 am

This is an interesting article. Personally, it is much easier to talk to my parents now than it used to be. As you get older you can understand why your parents do and say the things they do, because you are now in the real world. I also think that now my parents give me more slack because they know I am on my own and trying to make a living. It’s funny you mentioned about talking to the parent that understands you more. I think all children do that. Children always have a better rapport with one parent than the other. Thanks duppydomTEAM 🧡💛❣

    duppydomTEAM · November 22, 2019 at 5:09 am

    Thank you Adaego – excellent points. I agree, parents do give more slack to their adult children, but in my experience, it happens only under one condition – if the adult child behaves like an adult. Let’s say your plan was to talk to your parents about the fact that “they still treat you like a child and you wish they would stop butting into your personal relationships”. Your parents have been watching you your entire life 👀 and taking note of the relationship behaviors you engage in and the relationship decisions you have made. If you are still behaving the same way at 35 years old as you did at 16 years old, they will probably still treat you like you were 16. Adaego – thoughts??

      Adaego M. Azi · November 23, 2019 at 9:33 pm

      👏👏

    S. Jakes · November 24, 2019 at 8:01 pm

    👍

Bruce Peters · November 21, 2019 at 4:18 am

duppydomTEAM – I particularly liked the Mary Halton article about “Small Talk”. A lot of people think small talk is simply talking about the weather and fail to realize that it is a good way to get insight on people. When I was in college, a course I took went into great detail about the “Art of Small Talk”–it was very revealing. My parents…oh, my parents…all I will say about this topic is that some parents are just hard to talk to. Some parents are just set in their ways and always believe that you are a child and they never take your seriously. If I ever told my parents truly how I feel about them, they probably would never speak to me again, and I would truly alienate myself. I do appreciate your advice though.

    duppydomTEAM · November 22, 2019 at 5:08 am

    Thank you, Bruce, for taking the time to respond to the article. And because I know how some parents can be and I fully understand your perspective, I will not belabor the point. But, keep in mind that if you get to the point where you want to talk to your parents about your true feeling, start off with “small talk”, then “choose the right time and place” and “have a plan” 👌

      Adaego M. Azi · November 23, 2019 at 9:37 pm

      👏👏

Lisa Steffler · November 22, 2019 at 8:49 am

duppydomTEAM – If I’m being honest, the first thing I thought about while reading the article was, I hope when my children are teens/adults they will feel comfortable talking to me about everything. I think when you have parents who make you feel crappy after revealing your true feelings to them, you make a promise to treat your own kids differently. I hope when my children leave my house, they continue speaking to me, so they don’t have to use small talk as an in, or feel that they have to make a plan, or pit my husband and me against each other – this would make me very sad. On the other side – duppydomTEAM where were you guys when I needed help talking to my parents.

    duppydomTEAM · November 23, 2019 at 3:42 pm

    Lisa, you can take solace in knowing that many children have great relationships with their parents and speak to them with ease and without fear of alienation. I think what you are alluding to (and I agree) is that the communication template begins at an early age. At a young age, you must show your parents respect when speaking to them and make it clear that you value their insights and advice, and your parents must show you the same in return. If both parties (you and your parents) grow with this mindset, you will feel comfortable speaking to them about most things and communicating with them as an adult will be just as seamless 🧵

Nadine Wu · November 22, 2019 at 3:50 pm

I really like the idea of making a plan. I always get nervous when I have something very important or serious to talk to my parents about. The last major conversation I had with my parents was about their dissatisfaction with my career choice. They came up with so many points – basically telling me why I was an idiot (at least, that was how I interpreted it) – I started crying and ran out of the room like a moron. Every time I think about it, I get angry at myself. I idolize my parents and I am always looking for their approval. I know that this is their advantage over me and this has to change. Thank you….from Miss Emotional.

    duppydomTEAM · November 23, 2019 at 3:40 pm

    Miss Emotional (😉), the first step to having meaningful conversations with your parents is to stop idolizing them. Loving and respecting your parents are proper adult emotions/attitudes, but idolization is not. Remember, your parents will start respecting your decisions: (1) when they see that you respect your own decision-making abilities; and (2) they understand that you are not asking for advice about how to live your life, you are simply informing them about changes in your life. Stop asking for approval to live your life the way you want to!! “Stick to your guns” and over time, your parents’ attitudes toward you will change ⭐

      Adaego M. Azi · November 23, 2019 at 9:39 pm

      👏👏

      Nadine Wu · November 24, 2019 at 8:53 am

      duppydomTEAM, thank you for the advice. I really appreciate it.

    Adaego M. Azi · November 23, 2019 at 9:43 pm

    🌞💖

      Nadine Wu · November 24, 2019 at 8:55 am

      🎈🎈

S. Jakes · November 23, 2019 at 6:40 am

My parents don’t really disapprove of my decisions, but I can tell when they are not happy with my choices, by the way they treat me later (fewer phone calls or dinner invites until a month or two passes). I would really like to know what my parents say to each other, after one of my talks with them. When we get older, we really do have the most bizarre relationship with our parents – we love them, we know they love us, but because they created us (sort of), we have to be so careful what we say to them and how we say it. After all, it’s one of commandments – “Honor thy father and thy mother.” Thanks duppydom 👏👏

    duppydomTEAM · November 23, 2019 at 3:38 pm

    Interestingly, I have heard parents say that they have to treat their children (even adult children) with kid gloves, and children say the same thing about how they tread lightly when speaking to their parents – these two perspectives speak directly to the crux of the article. The communication process between parents and child can be a delicate one 👨‍👩‍👧

      Adaego M. Azi · November 23, 2019 at 9:30 pm

      👏👏

      S. Jakes · November 24, 2019 at 8:00 pm

      Agreed!! 😍

D’Gauntlett · December 12, 2019 at 3:34 pm

I grew up with a mom who drew a line in the sand regarding children having a voice. You speak only if you are spoken to. Just imagine how afraid I was to discuss personal problems. As I got older many days wishing we could share things I was going through. That caused me to pledge that my children and I would have a different type of relationship. I thank God that my sons and I can chat for hours about life events, our feelings about whatever, business ventures, the topic of the day and laugh about silly non-eventful things. It’s beyond beautiful and our love and respect is not diminished in anyway. Where ever they are they know their mom is always open and available with listening ears. Thanks duppydom team – you never fail to amaze.

    duppydomTEAM · December 13, 2019 at 6:11 pm

    D’Gauntlett – we appreciate your kind words. I always tell children who grew up with very rigid and stern parents not to judge them to harshly. Children often do not know the trials and tribulations their parents went through that made them the people they are and caused them to adopt the parenting style(s) they used. You can take solace in knowing that your misfortunes during childhood shaped you into the person you are today – someone with an openness of mind, who is an empathic listener, and who loves and cares for her children unconditionally – and in return, your children have reciprocated these sentiments. Living in this era of enlightenment is a wonderful thing! 🎈🌺🌼

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