Relationships between a parent and child can run the gamut, ranging from healthy to toxic. If you have a challenging relationship with your parents, it could be due to a variety of reasons; including divorce, illness, struggles or personality conflicts that have left you feeling unaccepted, neglected or alienated.
However, if you want to try to reconnect and mend those family ties, it’s never too late. Here are five steps you can consider:
1. Start with forgiveness
You may have decided you want to repair relationships; firstly, check that you are emotionally ready before picking up the phone to initiate that step towards reconciliation. Forgive your parents and release the past hurts, disappointments and any thoughts of resentment. Doing this does not justify or minimise any wrong done, but harbouring any bitterness or anger can eat away at you and become a stumbling block to real reconciliation.
2. Put yourself in your parent’s shoes
While parents are supposed to be supportive and nurturing, remember that no one is perfect, and to err, is human nature. Your parents may have made some mistakes and perhaps there were occasions where you could have behaved in a better way.
3. Take small steps
Make the effort to connect, by starting with a simple phone call, an email or text message. Once you are connected, keep the conversation light. Keep the difficult conversations for later.
4. Be patient
Rebuilding that broken tie may take a while, especially if there are deep-rooted issues. It may require multiple attempts to reach out on your part. Your parents may also need time to process the feelings of anger or unhappiness they have had to grapple with.
5. Be consistent
Rebuilding that bridge will take time, so do keep working at it. Making up and then disappearing for a year doesn’t help to mend the relationship. Try to call, email or send a text message once a week or every fortnight. By consistently showing that you are keen to build the relationship will give all a chance to process and resolve old issues.
If it all proves too challenging, consider seeking a caring professional to help with the healing and reconciliation process. Ultimately, remember that we can’t change others – only ourselves. Relationships are a two-way street, and given time and some care, it is possible to mend any form of broken relationships.