Growing up, my parents joked, “You can select your pals, but you possibly can’t select your loved ones.” These words were meant to encourage and maybe force me to learn tips on how to get together with my members of the family because “friends come and go, but your loved ones stays the identical.”
For some it should be the opposite way around; friends were more like family than relatives. For our purposes, nevertheless, I’m addressing those whose family dynamics are relatively healthy, apart from occasional family conflicts – especially the tensions of navigating parental relationships as adults with their very own children.
As believers who desire to honor God with their lives, many adult Christians wonder tips on how to honor their parents as family roles and dynamics change, especially during major life changes similar to marriage and having children. Understanding the common causes of tension and establishing healthy resolution plans between adult children and their parents can alleviate these normal family stressors.
Let’s have a look at three causes of tension between adult children and their parents:
1. Failure to respect the biblical role of fogeys within the lives of adult children
As just a little girl filled with insolence and attitude, I often heard my parents recite the fifth commandment. “Honour thy father and thy mother,” they’d say after rolling their eyes barely or stamping their feet. If you too grew up in a Christian home, I’m willing to bet you heard these words too.
But we are not any longer little girls and boys. Does this rule imply that as adults we’re to do whatever our parents tell us to do? And if we do not, will we disgrace our parents?
Let’s return and have a look at God’s original intention for the family. The house is the place where children learn to undergo authority, respect, and obedience. In return, they’ll hopefully receive love and protection. If children learn to undergo earthly authority (their parents), they shall be higher in a position to undergo God’s ultimate (everlasting) authority.
Respecting our parents doesn’t mean that we must obey all their wishes and commands. As long as we’re under the care of our parents (i.e. live under their roof), we must always follow their rules, commands, and preferences (assuming they don’t conflict with God’s Word). However, as we get older and move out of our parents’ homes, we bear the responsibility and burden of maturity.
In Matthew 19:4-6, Jesus describes the natural progression as children change into adults: “Have you not read,” he replied, “that to start with the Creator “made them female and male,” and said, “Therefore a person will leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife and the 2 will change into one flesh? If that is true, it could be a natural progression that when we’ve our own lives and families, our parents’ authority will change from full authority to a source of smart advice and guidance. Their advice is suggestive, and our final authority would come from Christ.
As adult children, we will respect our parents by taking their concerns and advice into consideration, showing them respect, and attempting to live in peace so far as it is determined by us. We hope that folks will welcome the change of power in our lives with great joy and gratitude as they see their children walk in obedience to God. But the reality is that such changes are difficult, and sometimes tension is unavoidable. When these situations arise, consider tips on how to honor and respect your parents while maintaining autonomy and considering the brand new relationship dynamics, similar to your spouse or children.
2. Unrealistic expectations
Having unrealistic expectations is considered one of the most important causes of relationship tension. Due to the intimacy of family relationships, these expectations usually tend to be unspoken and misunderstood. We all have different outcomes that we consider appropriate responses to different scenarios and circumstances. Of course, because these are our ideas, we sometimes wrongly assume that everybody else will react the way in which we imagined. But when people don’t behave as expected, there’s conflict or at the very least tension. Can you relate to considered one of the next scenarios?
Your parents retired, creating additional time on their calendars. You are excited because you’re thinking that it should get them to assist children more often. It’s been a number of weeks they usually have not contacted you and also you’re beginning to get nervous.
You and your spouse have offered to host a giant family Christmas at your private home this 12 months. You thought it could make life easier to your parents, but you get annoyed after they don’t conform to a smaller gathering at home.
Your parents determine to go on a giant trip and invite the entire family on it. You thought that since they invited your loved ones, they’d cover the fee of the vacation; you change into bitter whenever you discover that it should be your responsibility.
One of the perfect ways to ease tensions attributable to unrealistic or unfulfilled expectations is to stop imposing them on people. After much misfortune with my preconceived notions of how people should respond, and my general desire for others to do things the way in which I do, I actually understand that this is way easier said than done. But possibly it could be helpful if all of us tried to not impose our opinions on others a lot.
We can talk openly and truthfully about our preferences and concerns. I understand that this can be a difficult task for many who don’t like conflict. However, normally, pouring out our grievances or sharing how we would really like it to be helps prevent misunderstandings in the longer term. Auditing your personal opinion expectations, letting go of assumptions, and communicating openly shall be an amazing start line for coping with unrealistic expectations.
3. Fast assumption of the worst and slow forgiveness and forgetting
Assuming the worst generally is a knee-jerk response to relationships with parents and in-laws. A straightforward declined dinner invitation quickly makes me think I’m the worst daughter on the planet, an incompetent mother, and an overall disgrace to the family. God help me if the exchange is via text or email! I understand the challenges of not seeing facial expressions or voice modulations, but why will we assume the worst for the people we love essentially the most? It seems that almost all of us show grace and understanding to friends and strangers much faster than our relatives.
As if it wasn’t difficult enough that we generally assume the worst about ourselves, conversations can get loaded at times. Someone comments on higher parenting technique, comments on someone’s funds on the mistaken time, or a parent continues to make unsolicited suggestions. These things could cause tensions to accumulate, people to shut themselves off and activate relationship tension, making it harder to commit to one another as time goes on and unforgiveness escalates.
We discussed God’s original plan for the family to be a model of submission to authority. And the family unit is an amazing place to practice coping with the inevitable breakups and repairs required in human relationships. As we learn to like unconditionally, forgive quickly, and show grace and mercy to our families, we will do the identical with God’s family.
While there are a lot of reasons for tension between adult children and their parents, we will make sure of a number of things. The change of power, the change of seasons, the transformation of youngsters growing up and oldsters aging will cause tension in our families. But as God showed us by adopting us into his family despite our shortcomings, family is His grace. Love covers plenty of sins (1 Peter 4:8), giving us the privilege of honoring our families.
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