December 10, 2015
We are discussing how adult or child-like we feel and act around our parents. Last week we discussed the roles we played in our families growing up and pondered if we are still playing that role as an adult. Here is our second point about being an adult around our parents.
Point #2. You can be honest with your parents about how your relationship could improve whether they choose to listen or not.
If we can be honest with our parents, we can probably be honest with anyone.
It takes a vulnerable and courageous person to speak the truth, in love, to one’s parents. I always advise clients not to do this unless they can tolerate the worst possible outcome. If you were honest with your parents in a loving way, what would happen? Most folks fear rejection, abandonment or anger would result from telling their parents the truth. Being an adult means you can stand on your own and tolerate your parents’ response, whatever it is. It’s always worth a try to ask for what you want. Even if you do not get a desired response it’s a step of growth for you to be honest.
What should you be honest about? The focus should be on one specific thing your parent(s) could change that would improve their relationship with you. Try and tell them something you appreciate before and after you make this request. Ephesians 4:15 tells us to “speak the truth in love.” Love is gentle and kind and rejoices in the truth. (I Corinthians 13).
Remember, Jesus fulfilled his destiny even though at one point his mother and brothers thought he was crazy. (Mark 3:21). Jesus suffers rejection and disapproval every day. Part of being an adult around your parents is to stand up for what is right, regardless of their response.
I have worked with many families whose parents had a lot of faults but did the best they could. I have worked with a few families where parents crossed the line from dysfunctional to evil. In these cases it may be necessary to cut off all contact. Jesus spoke harshly against evil and in Matthew 18:6 Jesus says;
“If anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him if a large millstone were hung around his neck and he were drowned at the bottom of the sea.”
Personally, it took me (Kay) two years to work up the courage to be honest and have an adult voice around my Dad. I was 34 at the time. It didn’t change our relationship, but it changed me.
Blessings to you!