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How to survive difficult parents

education Updated: Dec 29, 2010 09:18 IST
Samir Parikh
Samir Parikh
Hindustan Times
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Sometimes we find ourselves in situations where we are stuck between doing what we want to do and what our parents or families want us to do. This disconnect can be a source of significant distress and discord. We frequently attribute it to having difficult parents or the generation gap. But dealing with this aspect and developing a harmonious way of functioning is essential.

Not just a generation gap
When youngsters say, ‘Our elders do not understand us,’ it is not just because of a generation gap. There are other factors at play. These also include the elders’ experiences and their understanding of situations based on these which cause them to respond differently from the way you do.

Respect their concerns
It is not prudent to dismiss parents’ concerns. Listening to parents and respecting their opinion without rejecting them outright is better. The respect given to their concerns can allay many of their fears and make them think that you are mature enough to look at different aspects of a situation.

Value their experience
Valuing older people’s experiences can do a lot to abate their anxieties. It is not just about what they know but also about giving it some value because you can learn a lot from their past.

No confrontation
Confrontation isn’t always the answer to all problems. Instead, resolving issues amicably demonstrates maturity and helps build confidence in one’s ability to analyse situations and take decisions. Quarrels only spoil relationships. So do not confront or become aggressive.

Be open to learning
You can learn from anybody and being open to these learning experiences will in itself help you thrash out difficulties.

The author is a psychiatrist, and chief, Department of Mental Health and Behavioural Sciences, Max Healthcarem next session.

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