Growing Pains: Parent-Child Relationships Change Over the Years

Among the many relationships people form over their lives, the relationship with their parents is among the most important. Whether the relationship is good or bad, the relationship someone has with their parents helps to form a person into who they are.

One of the toughest things to do when it comes to a parent-child relationship is maintaining it throughout all of the changes that a person faces from childhood to adulthood.

Having a relationship with your parent as an infant, toddler, and even as a child is easy. Parents feed us when we cry, comfort us when we’re sad and snuggle with us when we’re tired. It’s when we reach the teenage years that it starts to change.

Everyone knows the teenage years can sometimes be tough when it comes to relationships with parents. Most teenagers want to be treated like adults, even though they’re not, which can cause a strain on the relationship.

“I remember when I was around 16 I just had the worst relationship with my mom,” said 22-year-old Alex Gabrielly, a WCC student. “We fought all the time and just didn’t get along which is so strange because we’re so close now.”

As we grow older and move into our adult lives, relationships with parents get even more different. They start to transition from parent-child to parent-child who is actually a grown up like their parent.

For many people, it’s really confusing. A lot of people are too old to be considered a child, but they still live at home with their parents. They aren’t stable enough to fully support themselves or a family, but don’t need to ask their parents for spending money.

“Every day I understand my parents more and understand them less,” said 22-year-old Vanessa Carter. “The ways that we relate to each other has changed, but the relationship dynamic and love hasn’t.”

For some, this change makes the relationship stronger. Some parents find that it’s easier to have a relationship with their children who are grown because they can relate to them as adults.

“My kids and I were always close, but now that they’re both older it’s a different kind of close,” said Judy Fiumara, mother of two college-aged kids. “There’s a different level of closeness because we can talk about more together.”

As children grow up, their eyes open to the world around them and they get the ability to see people for who they are. It’s not as easy as it may have been as a child to keep a close bond with parents.

“I think it’s harder to keep a relationship with children as they grow because then they get to know you as a person, not just as their parent,” Fiumara said. “Regardless, you have to maintain that relationship with your kids because if you don’t, forget it. It takes effort from both sides, but it’s worth it.”

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