How can I get along better with my parents?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you fight a lot, it helps if you and your parents can give yourselves a timeout similar to the ones they may have given you when you were a kid. Surely you remember when they removed you from a situation so that you could calm yourself down. This timeout allows all of you to step out of the heat of the moment and really think about what you want to discuss.

Taking yourself out of the hot state into a more rational cold state will work better for all of you. You may not always get what you want, but they’ll be more likely to understand your point of view if you can strip away the emotion and/or attitude that often comes
with arguments.

Pick your battles. It’s not in your best interest to argue over everything, and you’ll be more effective if you make your case when there’s something you really want at stake. And try to be sensitive to stresses in your parents’ lives. Don’t raise a touchy subject when they’re rushing off to work or have just come home from a draining day taking care of your sick grandmother.

The best way to get “stuff ” or “privileges” is not to make demands or tell your parents that everyone else is going to the [name pop star] concert and they’re being unfair by not letting you go too. Rather, offer to earn what you want, and you’ll earn your parents’ trust at the same time. Is there a set of weekly chores that you can do, such as taking out the garbage or washing the dishes or walking the dog or doing the laundry? 

Taking on household chores puts credit in the parent bank that you can draw on later. Also, never underestimate the power of manners. A little friendliness or even asking your parents about their day can go a long way toward understanding one another and maybe even bring you closer.

If you just can’t see eye to eye with your parents, seek out another adult who can give you the support you need without all the emotional baggage—perhaps a relative, teacher, coach, employer, guidance counselor, or spiritual leader. It’s important for you to have mentors and good relationships with adults for many reasons (including enjoying the benefits of oxytocin).    

Continue Learning about Parent-Child Relationship

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.