The relationships with our parents are of the most disparate: some more peaceful and serene, others conflicting and full of clashes. Most of the time the relationship with our parents tends to evolve, depending on the period we are living: very trivially, both we and our parents are growing up but experiencing different phases. The more distant we are, the more difficult it can be to meet. After all, we both belong to different generations and every historical period is following an evolution and maturation of many concepts, which perhaps years ago were less “obvious” than today.
Depending on the case and the background of your parents, maintaining a constructive and equal dialogue can be complicated and very likely to fight, even more on issues that affect us personally and risk turning us on (understandably) like fuses. How do you converse with parents who are different from us, in mentality and approach?
Meanwhile, recognize that we don’t have to talk about everything. If some topics are more complex and delicate than others, and if we already know that our parents tend towards a school of thought quite distant from ours, we try to find valid arguments and articulate them in a calm but resolute way. Often many topics also touch on our current condition – whether it concerns feminism, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity or anything else – and taking our everyday life as a prime example can help them to get closer and empathize more with causes and situations apparently distant to them. But even with the best arguments, some heads don’t want to commit to breaking out of their shells of beliefs and preconceptions. We don’t always have the energy for a heated fight, so we might as well – also to preserve our mental health – divert the subject.
Sometimes talking to our parents is not as immediate and sparkling as with our closest friends or people of our age, but there are certainly issues that can unite us and create a healthy and constructive conversation, without imposing one on the other. Conversation can also be an opportunity for discovery: different backgrounds and generations do not necessarily have to agree on everything, but if nothing else we can understand more about our past, how we arrived at our goals, and understand where some legacies or problems come from. In some cases we may learn to converse by observing our parents before judging them. Sometimes their respective roles risk obscuring each other, but both they and we remain people, human beings who are trying to discover and get to know each other every day. Precisely for this reason, it is not said that we will always get along or that our respective lifestyles will be able to match. Of course, you can mature and improve at twenty-seven as at fifty-four, but the sooner we accept the limitations of our parents and the sooner we will be able to talk to them without expecting something from them that they never were.