The relationship you have with your parents is one of the most fundamental and impactful relationships you have. For example, if you grew up having a very healthy, stable dynamic with your parents, oftentimes you also feel secure in your other relationships. But if you struggled to see eye to eye with your parents during childhood, you know the difficulties this can pose in your other relationships (including the one you have with yourself).
Luckily things can change and do. If you’re an adult now and are now finally becoming close with your parents, you know there are a number of unique things that can happen. Here are eight of them.
1. Sometimes you wish you all got along better earlier on in your life.
As you continue to navigate your new adult relationship with your parents, you sometimes wish you guys had figured out how to get along better when you were growing up. In fact, you may even experience feelings of grief and feel as though you “missed out” on some facets of your childhood since you were always arguing or feeling some sort of distance with the people who knew you best.
But at the same time, you also understand your past dynamic is part of your story and makes your relationship what it is today. And you feel grateful you still have time to make more loving memories with them. In fact, you see how important it is to do so now since everyone is only getting older.
2. You find you have more in common than you thought.
Since you’re able to do more “adult” things with your parents now, such as grab a glass of wine at the bar, you also have more adult conversations that reveal you’re a lot more alike than you ever knew before.
You also discover your parents have already been where you’re at. At one point, they too were the scared, awkward 20-something with no sense of direction. But they figured it out. This gives you faith that you will too. After all, you are your parents’ child.
3. You forgive them. You forgive yourself.
As you’ve matured, you now know that your parents did the best they could to raise you in the best, most loving way they knew how. You get that they had their own pain, trauma, and experiences that affected the way they parented. You forgive them for anything they did to hurt you because you know that this wasn’t their intention.
At the same time, you also forgive yourself. You know you could be a difficult and unruly child (and even more so as a teenager). You know you did your best with the tools and maturity level you had. You let it go.
4. You see their humanity and love them more for it.
In forgiving your parents, you allow them to be human. You see their humanity and realize you love them more for it. You realize imperfect people are the only type of people that inhabit this planet, and sometimes those quirks are the good stuff in the end anyway. These are the things that help make us who we are.
5. You realize how young they truly were when you were growing up.
As you get closer to the age they had you at (or maybe you’ve already passed it!), you realize how young your parents truly were when they had you. You realize they still had a lot of growing up to do in some ways as well, all while taking care of their own kids. The amount of stress that was probably caused couldn’t have been easy and you admire them for it.
6. You give them advice now.
In an odd turn of fate, you can now give them advice instead of it always being the other way around. And they thoughtfully consider what you have to say and even do what it is you suggest. It is weird at first as you learn to navigate your new dynamic but you also feel honored your parents take you seriously and respect what you think.
7. You start to see pieces of them in your adult self.
You’ve heard others bemoan the realities of “becoming your parents” as you grow up but you find this to be an honor. You feel lucky that some pieces of them rubbed off on you. You’re thrilled that your mother’s pride and your father’s work ethic and their mutual sense of goofy humor are yours now, too.
8. You don’t love them because you feel like you have to (you love them for who they authentically are).
While you definitely loved your parents growing up, the adoration you have for them now is different. As you make a home for yourself in the world outside of the one you grew up in, as you support yourself and move through your career, you don’t need them in the same ways you used to.
Instead, you need them because of who they are. You don’t love them because you feel like you have to as your caregiver. You love them for the wonderfully imperfect, beautiful, caring, human beings they are. They didn’t always get it right but they always did their best. And you realize that’s all you can ask for from anyone.