7 Tips to Improve Your Relationship with Your Parents

Improving your relationship with your parents allows you to live in peace and enjoy a bond of love and support. Discover some keys to achieving this here.
7 Tips to Improve Your Relationship with Your Parents
Elena Sanz

Written and verified by the psychologist Elena Sanz.

Last update: 27 May, 2022

When adolescence arrives, it’s common that the communication between parents and children decreases. This is either because young people are hostile and indifferent or because parents fail to adapt to this new stage and continue to treat the young adults like children.

In some cases, when the person becomes a young adult, the bond recovers. However, in others, the discomfort becomes entrenched and lasts for decades. That’s why, whatever age you are, we want to offer you some tips to improve your relationship with your parents.

The bonds that unite parents and children are among the most significant that exist. Therefore, they’re a source of great love and satisfaction. However, they can also become the source of disputes. In most cases, our parents have not only given us life, but they have also raised us in the best way they’ve known how.

Despite their faults and mistakes, they’re the most unconditional love we can count on. So why not make an effort to enjoy a healthy and rewarding bond with them?

Why is it necessary to improve your relationship with your parents?

Everything would be simpler if parent-child relationships were smooth, easy, and friendly all the time. However, this is not the case for several reasons.

First of all, they’re very intense and intimate emotional bonds, which impact both parties and carry a lot of demands and expectations.

Thus, parents often expect their children to be a certain way and to fulfill what they projected for them. Meanwhile, children often expect their parents to conform to that ideal of parents they have in mind. When this doesn’t happen (and it can’t happen 100% of the time), resentments, disappointments, and anger arise, which tarnish the bond.

In short, in this relationship, the deepest part of each one of us is projected. If we’re not aware of this, we can lash out against each other.

On the other hand, the generation gap can also cause problems. Times are different, as are rhythms, needs, lifestyles. What was useful and appropriate for the parents may not be for the children. This leads to children feeling misunderstood and parents feeling ignored. Without communication and understanding on both sides, difficulties and conflicts are bound to arise.

How to improve your relationship with your parents

It’s essential to remember that when a relationship isn’t working properly, it’s the responsibility of everyone involved. No matter what negative characteristics you think your parents possess, you can do a lot to make your exchanges more pleasant. Here are some guidelines and tips.

Mala relación con los padres.
Conflicts with parents are inevitable, but we can work on them to improve the relationship.

1. Heal the past to improve your relationship with your parents

To improve your relationship with your parents, it’s essential to forgive and let go of the past. However, to leave it behind, you first have to heal it.

Maybe you feel that your parents didn’t give you the love or support you needed, that their actions or words hurt you, or that they didn’t give you the education or the life you deserved. You have the right to feel this way, but the pain will continue if you don’t work through those emotions.
Seeing a professional can help you heal your childhood, integrate your past experiences, and understand that you are now responsible for your happiness. From this point, you’ll be much more capable of modifying the current relationship. 

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2. Perform an exercise of empathy and understanding

Following the above, it’s very good to remember that your parents are also people. Therefore, they’re human, and they do and did the best they can.

Sit down and talk to them. Ask them about their life, about their childhood, and about the difficulties they went through. This will help you to look at them from a new, more compassionate perspective. Understanding where they come from can help you understand why they are the way they are and act the way they do.

3. Foster independence and boundaries

Often, when children leave home, strained relationships ease, and this is because both parents and children have their own space. However, if you’re still a teenager, you can also set some boundaries and seek more comfortable and enjoyable independence for everyone.

For example, show that you’re responsible and take charge of your studies, cleaning your room, and your chores at home. This way, your parents won’t have to come after you or insist that you comply.

At the same time, your parents will begin to perceive you as a mature, responsible, and reliable person. Their attitude towards you will also change. This will also allow you to have more freedom.

4. Express yourself assertively to improve your relationship with your parents

Assertiveness is a great skill when communicating with others, expressing disagreement, or making requests. It allows us to express what we think without resorting to violence, shouting, or disrespect, but without repressing our feelings.

To practice assertiveness, you can apply the following guidelines:

  • Be firm in your message, but don’t raise your voice or disrespect anyone.
  • Speak from what you feel, rather than criticizing the other person. “When you compare me to my brother, I feel humiliated” is better than “You keep putting me down all the time.”
  • Make clear requests: For example, “I wish you wouldn’t keep telling me what to do and trust me to be responsible.”
  • Emphasize the win-win situation: For example, “This way, we wouldn’t argue so much and we could get along better, which is what I want.”

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5. Expect the best and acknowledge when it happens

You may have become accustomed to thinking about your parents in a certain way. Perhaps you may think that they’re too strict or stubborn or that they always criticize you.

However, do the exercise of trying to identify those behaviors that you like and appreciate. When they compliment you or show you support, keep it in mind and enjoy it. This way, not only will you begin to see them in a different light, but you’ll also encourage them to continue relating to you in this positive way.

6. Being peaceful is healthier than being right

When anger, frustration, or our ego dominates us, we can’t reason and get into useless arguments. We may even say things that we later regret.

Therefore, you must make a firm resolution to choose your battles, learn to breathe so as not to explode, and deliberately choose your words. Being peaceful is healthier than being right. Keeping silent is not a weakness and not getting involved in a fight is sometimes the best decision for yourself and others.

Comunicación asertiva con los padres.
Assertive communication is a way to establish relationships with another, less violent and aggressive place.

7. Keep an open mind and heart

Finally, remember that your parents have given you their life, time, and affection, even if it hasn’t happened the way you would like it to. For this, you can honor them and thus reconcile with them – at least within yourself.

Keep in mind that their teachings and advice you may have rejected can be useful to you, so be open to sharing moments and conversations with the true intention of listening. Keep your mind and heart open to them. Ultimately, improving your relationship with your parents is about your own peace and well-being. Do it for you.

Improving your relationship with your parents is not about seeking perfection

Even if you follow the above tips, know that there may still be disagreements and conflicts. No one is perfect – neither children nor parents.

However, by changing your attitude, you can learn to deal with them more healthily and positively. Relationships are transformed by what we put into them. Start by putting more of yourself into them, and you will reap great rewards.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Chávez, M. A. (2017). Tu hijo, tu espejo (nueva edición): un libro para padres valientes. Grijalbo.
  • García-de-León, M. R., Chávez, V. Á., & Gómez, J. M. (2015) Considerando las necesidades de los adolescentes desde la brecha generacional padres e hijos para el desarrollo de contenidos curriculares: Aprendizaje y desarrollo personal. Recuperado de: http://ri.uaemex.mx/handle/20.500.11799/32918
  • Paleari, F. G., Regalia, C., & Fincham, F. D. (2003). Adolescents’ willingness to forgive their parents: An empirical model. Parenting: Science and Practice3(2), 155-174.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.