The One Liner

Navigating Parent-Child Dynamics in Adulthood: How to Improve Your Relationship

Kanjul Verma

July 13, 2023. 4 minute Read


In this article, we’ll delve into the reasons behind poor parent-child relationships, explore common issues that can arise, and, most importantly, provide practical tips on how to fix and improve your relationship with your parents.

As we grow older, our relationships with our parents go through significant changes, evolving into more complex dynamics during adulthood. 

The once-dependent reliance on our parents gradually develops into a deeper understanding and shared growth. 

However, this transformation isn’t always smooth, and many of us may find ourselves struggling with strained or distant parent-child relationships.

But fear not!

We’re here to help you navigate through this maze and find ways to improve your relationship with your parents.

Let’s get started!

3 Ways Relationship with Parents Changes in Adulthood.

3 Ways Relationship with Parents Changes in Adulthood.

When it comes to your relationship with your parents in adulthood, It’s like a whole new ball game where everyone’s grown up and changed. 

Some folks stay super tight with their parents, while others might find themselves facing some challenges or a bit of distance.

Let's break it down into simple words!

1. The Transition from Dependent to Independent

In our younger years, we rely heavily on our parents for guidance, care, and decision-making. However, as we step into adulthood, the dynamic shifts as we become more self-reliant and seek independence. 

This transition can be both liberating and challenging, as it requires renegotiating boundaries and establishing a new equilibrium.

For instance, consider young adults moving out of their parent’s home for the first time. They may feel a sense of freedom and excitement but also experience moments of uncertainty and homesickness. 

The parent-child relationship adapts as parents learn to trust their child’s judgment while still offering support and guidance when needed.

2. The Shift from Authority Figures to Friends and Mentors

During childhood, parents are often seen as authority figures who set rules and enforce discipline. However, as we grow older, the parent-child relationship can transform into a more balanced friendship or mentorship. 

This shift allows for open communication, shared experiences, and mutual respect.

Have you noticed an adult who seeks career advice from their parent? Instead of a one-sided lecture, they engage in a heartfelt conversation where both parties share their experiences and perspectives. 

This kind of relationship fosters personal growth, as parents become trusted confidants and mentors who offer guidance without being overly controlling.

3. Navigating Differences and Boundaries

No two individuals are the same, and as we grow into adulthood, we may discover differences in opinions, values, and lifestyle choices between ourselves and our parents. 

These differences can lead to clashes and require a delicate balance of understanding and respect.

For example, adults who choose a different career path than their parents had envisioned for them. Initially, tensions may arise due to differing expectations. 

However, by maintaining open lines of communication, expressing empathy, and by understanding their respective perspectives, they can bridge the gap and foster a more harmonious relationship.

What Causes Poor Parent-Child Relationships?

Let’s get started!

1. Lack of Communication

When parents and children don’t communicate effectively, it can create misunderstandings and distance between them. 

Imagine a teenager who comes home from school feeling upset about a bad day. If their parent doesn’t take the time to listen and understand their feelings, it can lead to a breakdown in communication and a strained relationship.

2. Unhealthy Parenting Styles

Different parenting styles can affect how children perceive their relationship with their parents. 

For instance, if a parent is overly controlling and strict, it might make the child feel suffocated or rebellious. 

On the other hand, being too permissive and not setting boundaries can lead to a lack of guidance and respect.

3. Lack of Quality Time

In today’s busy world, where both parents are working, they may have demanding jobs or other responsibilities that consume their time and energy. 

If they consistently prioritize work or other activities over spending quality time with their children, it can make the child feel neglected or unimportant.

Emotional or Physical Abuse

4. Emotional or Physical Abuse

Sadly, some parent-child relationships are strained due to abuse, which can be emotional or physical. 

This can include verbal insults, threats, physical harm, or neglect. Such harmful behaviors create an atmosphere of fear and distrust, making it incredibly challenging for a healthy relationship to develop.

5. Generation Gap

Differences in values, beliefs, and interests between parents and children can also contribute to a strained relationship. 

For example, a parent who grew up in a different era might have difficulty understanding their child’s fascination with technology or certain cultural trends. 

This lack of understanding can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and a sense of disconnection between them.

6. Parental Stress or Mental Health Issues

Parents facing high levels of stress, mental health challenges, or unresolved personal issues might unintentionally project their negative emotions onto their children. 

This can lead to strained relationships as children may feel responsible for their parents’ well-being or might struggle to cope with their parent’s emotional instability.

7. Lack of Trust

Trust is a crucial component of any relationship, including parent-child relationships. 

If a parent consistently breaks promises, invades their child’s privacy, or fails to support them during challenging times, it can erode the trust between them. 

This lack of trust can make it difficult for children to confide in their parents or seek their guidance when needed.

8 Tips to Repair Bad Relationship With Parents

Repairing a bad relationship with parents takes time, effort, and open communication from both sides. Here are some steps you can take to work towards improving your relationship with your parents.

1. Reflect on Your Feelings

Take some time to understand your own emotions and thoughts about the relationship. Identify specific issues or conflicts that have caused the strain. 

This self-reflection will help you communicate your needs and concerns more effectively.

2. Open and Honest Communication

Initiate a calm and respectful conversation with your parents to express your feelings and concerns. 

Clearly communicate what you would like to change in the relationship and listen to their perspective as well. Try to avoid blaming or criticizing and instead focus on expressing your emotions and needs.

3. Active Listening

Actively listen to your parent’s side of the story and try to understand their point of view. 

This doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything they say, but it helps in building empathy and finding common ground.

Seek Professional Help

4. Seek Professional Help

If the relationship is deeply strained or if communication is difficult, consider seeking the assistance of a family therapist or counselor. They can provide a neutral and supportive environment for both you and your parents to express yourselves and work towards resolving conflicts.

5. Set Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries can be crucial in improving the relationship.

Clearly communicate your boundaries and expectations to your parents and request that they respect them. Similarly, be mindful of their boundaries as well.

6. Practice Empathy and Forgiveness

Try to understand that your parents are human and may have their own struggles and limitations. Practicing empathy can help you see things from their perspective. Forgiveness doesn’t mean forgetting or condoning past hurt, but it can help release the burden of resentment and open the door to healing.

7. Find Common Interests and Activities

Engage in activities or interests that you can enjoy together. This can help create positive experiences and strengthen the bond between you and your parents. 

It could be something as simple as going for a walk, cooking a meal together, or watching a movie.

8. Focus on the Present and Future

While acknowledging past conflicts is important, try to focus on the present and future of your relationship. 

Learn from past mistakes and work together to create a more positive and supportive dynamic moving forward.

Final Thoughts

So, what’s the catch?

Improving and repairing relationships with parents in adulthood requires effort, understanding, and open communication. 


As individuals, we can bridge the generational gap by empathizing with our parents, seeking common ground, and respecting each other’s boundaries. 


By implementing these strategies, we can build stronger, healthier relationships that contribute to our overall well-being and personal growth. 

Remember, it is never too late to work on mending and strengthening the bond with your parents.

Subscribe to new post

Subscription Form