Unless you grew up living in a Norman Rockwell painting, we’re guessing you and your parents have been through a rift or two. When you were a teenager, you knew exactly how to deal — scream, slam doors, use all the terrible words you should never use in a fight with someone you care about. (Just kidding. And hopefully, you’ve grown out of that.) Now that you’re an adult, it can be even harder to know how to deal with family drama. You’re still their “kid,” but you also pay your own cell phone bill now, and you deserve to be treated like you know what you’re doing with your life. (Even if you’re in the middle of a quarter-life crisis.) No matter how hard you try to understand your mother, sometimes you’re still going to butt heads. And don’t even get us started on siblings (for now — there’s more coming for this series!). Here are some tips on keeping your cool when your parents are driving you insane (who taught Dad to text?!). And if all else fails, rest assured that there are plenty of families way crazier than yours.
1. Set boundaries on communication. If your parents are calling, texting and emailing at all hours of the day — whether it’s thoughtful, “helpful” advice or questions about using their iPad — that can be stressful. Let them know the best times to reach you that won’t disrupt your day, and then make sure you actually stick to that schedule. That way you’re being clear about what won’t work for you, but also offering a real alternative.
2. Share your opinions and be clear about your needs. If your parents still see you as a little kid, speaking up and telling them how you really feel about things might help you gain some adult-level respect. Just be sure to keep the conversation focused on just that — your feelings — rather than using statements that might seem accusatory or assign blame.
3. Try not to argue. Engaging in an argument or debate with your parents suggests that maybe you’ll change their mind about a decision, or do things their way — they just need to convince you. There’s nothing wrong with saying, “OK, I appreciate the advice,” and then making it clear that the decision is still yours to make.
4. Change the subject. Don’t dwell on whatever issue is at hand or allow them to keep debating with you. Your parents have lives of their own — they just forget that sometimes. An easy conversation starter: Talk about the new photos of so-and-so’s kids you both saw on Facebook. Parents love that stuff. (But be prepared to shut down any questions about when you’re going to give them some grandkids.)
5. Recognize that they’ll probably always worry. When your parents ask questions about your job or seem skeptical about your living situation, it may not necessarily be that they’re just looking for ways to nitpick, or balking at the fact that you’re taking a different path than they would. If they’re good parents, they just want you to be happy and have stability (whatever that means for you).
6. If nothing works, you can at least bitch to your friends. Everyone’s family has its issues. For every time your dad has called to tell you he’s mailing you more vitamins, your friend’s mom has called to fix her up with a “nice young man from work.” Share your latest parent horror stories, then share a laugh.
What do you do to minimize parental-induced stress and stop yourself from blowing up? Tweet us your tips @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)