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Tuesday, 17 January 2023 17:14

Ask This Mom: How do I navigate differences in life opinions with my parents?

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How do I navigate differences in life opinions with my parents?

This question comes up often with a mixed bag of emotions. Some are sad and others are angry, but the underlying motivator is the chasm they now feel with their parents. As we move into adulthood, we start to see flaws or perceived flaws in the people we love, as we are all imperfect. Here are steps to build stronger relationships.

Looking for common ground helps this process. Before spending time with your family ask yourself these questions: How have I changed in my faith? How have my parents changed? Where do we have common ground?

Work through the following steps:

  • Pray before you go. Ask for wisdom and peace.
  • Jesus commands us to love, even love our enemies. (Luke 6:27-28) How can you show your parents love without compromising your beliefs?
  • Be your authentic self without antagonizing your parents. Avoid controversial subjects but also respectfully stay true to yourself. Ask them if you can agree to disagree and move on. Remember you don’t have to prove yourself right or prove them wrong. Trust the Holy Spirit to direct their steps.
  • Listen to them, recognize they are passionate about the world around them. Try to patiently allow them to express themselves. Being heard is powerful. James 1:19 Reminds us to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry. Listening does not necessarily mean you agree.
  • If you feel the need to challenge something they say, do so by asking questions. This is the way of the Rabbi, Jesus asked questions all the time. Watch your tone as you ask, leave sarcasm out of your conversation.

Why is this important to you?

Where did you learn this?

Why do you think that is true.

You might be surprised by what you learn as you respectfully listen. You certainly will see where their thoughts diverge from yours, but you may also see beauty and wisdom in there as well.

  • Reassure your parents that you do love them no matter what they say or do. Just between you and me, you may not like them but you don’t have to communicate that to them. Scripture tells us to honor our parents, you can do this even when you disagree through love and respect.

We are complex, emotional beings, and establishing an adult relationship with your parents may be difficult. Assuming the center of your lives revolve around Jesus, use this as your unifier.  Opinions are based on views or judgements, sometimes the facts get skewed as we work through them. As we grow, we work to gain knowledge, understanding grows from the application of the knowledge, and finally we apply it with wisdom. No matter how your parents respond, live this life exploring the richness of faith.

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