Psychologists and sociologists believe that millennials and zoomers get along with their parents much better than previous generations. Thanks to the Internet, people, regardless of age, are in the same infofield, share the same values, and there are fewer and fewer reasons for disagreement.
Nevertheless, the generational gap is still present at times, and differences in outlook on life sometimes result in conflicts. If you live with your parents under the same roof or if you simply talk to them a lot, these disagreements can really damage the relationship. We tell you how to quell and prevent such quarrels.
What do conflicts usually arise from?
The list of reasons can be endless, but in general the reasons for quarrels from generation to generation remain the same and are associated with different views on many things. Among them:
- Choice of profession and lifestyle. Parents believe that a reliable job in a stable company is important, and the adult child is freelancing and doing creative work;
- Family values and parenting. Parents believe their son or daughter should get married as soon as possible and have a child of their own, while they prefer to live for themselves;
- Financial issues. Parents think it is important to live frugally and save, and the child wants to do nice expensive purchases and enjoy today;
- Mismatched worldviews: politics, religion and social processes;
- Approaches to communication. For example, one side advocates empathetic, non-violent communication, while the other side prefers to chop up the truth and violate boundaries.
How to behave with your parents if you have a disagreement?
Here’s what experts recommend:
1. Focus on what you like about your loved ones
For example, on their positive qualities or what you have in common. If you want to scold because your mother told you that you need to quickly find a mate and get married, think about how she supported you when you decided to change jobs, how she taught you to embroider a cross or how you went to the theater together.
That doesn’t mean you don’t have to take a stand. But this approach will help to see your loved one as an ally, not an enemy.
2. Try to figure out if the conflict is worth stirring up
Perhaps the disagreement is not so global, does not generally interfere with communication, and the situation can be put on hold. For example, parents do not want to vote for the same candidate whom you intend to support, or they believe that baby food should be given at four months, and you follow the WHO recommendations and prefer to wait until the baby is six.
Most often, it is not the kind of controversy that is worth getting into a fight, they do not wedge into everyday life. It is worth trying not to touch painful topics, move the conversation in a different direction, or joke around, use phrases like “I think differently, but let’s not quarrel and talk about something else”.
But if it’s a matter of principle, say your parents don’t like your partner or your work, and they constantly tell you about it or even throw a stick in the wheel, you still have to assert your boundaries.
3. Separate the person from what he says
If someone expresses ideas that you don’t like, even if they are dangerous and harmful, it doesn’t mean they are a bad person. Maybe you just disagree, or maybe he’s confused or doesn’t have the right information.
It’s important to keep this in mind during discussions with your parents and only criticize what they tell you, not Mom and Dad themselves.
4. Don’t forget that your goal is to extinguish the conflict
And also to protect your boundaries and prevent new disputes in the future, but not to humiliate your opponents and defend your rightness at all costs.
Especially since in some cases, it’s just impossible to do. So it is useless to argue about whether there is a God or whether gays and lesbians should be allowed to marry. It is more important to get the other side to speak correctly, acknowledge your point of view, and not impose theirs on you.
It’s the same story with more practical issues. If your parents insist that you need another job, try to convince them not that your current one is better and they don’t understand anything, but that it is your choice and telling you what to do is not a very respectful thing to do.
5. Show that you can hear your interlocutors
You will be pleased if mom or dad, even in a very sharp question, recognize that your point of view has a right to exist.
In the opposite direction it works the same way. You may not, for example, share your parents’ political views, but still agree that they are in favor of “their” party, and they have their reasons.
And it’s important not just to keep it in mind, but to say it out loud: “Yes, I hear you and understand. That’s an interesting point of view, even though I don’t agree with it”.
And really listen more, don’t try to immediately challenge what you don’t like. That way you can better understand the person and find the key to resolving the conflict.
6. Speak up correctly
Try to stay calm, not to spit and not to throw accusations. Use “I-messages” – talk about how you feel when mom or dad expresses ideas you don’t like or tries to put pressure on you. For example: “When you say that I have an unreliable profession and I will end up on the porch, I feel very hurt. I feel that no one believes in me”.
Be proactive and try to offer compromise solutions if possible. Remember that you are a team, not the enemy.
7. Be prepared to break off communication
At least for a while. If the situation goes too far, your parents do not hear you, continue to insist on their own, rudely violate personal boundaries, spoil your mood, subject you to psychological and economic violence – this is a reason to take a time-out and suspend a little.
For example, you are categorically required to enter into marriage and actively against your will match you conditional “sons of Mom’s friend”. Or blackmail and threats force you to change your job or place of study: “If you go to study for the artist, do not expect help from us”. Or pressure you with authority, devaluing, using toxic statements: “You do not understand anything, but we lived our lives”.
Distance will allow you to cool down, to restore the emotional resources spent, to look at the situation in a more detached way, and to understand how to proceed. Maybe you should also go to a specialist if you can’t understand yourself, deal with your feelings and find a solution on your own.