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The Boom and Bust Cycles of Parent-Child Relationships

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

A couple of days ago I was talking to a colleague about how difficult it has been for me to live so far away from my immediate family. I explained to her how when this summer I had finally been able to see my mom after 2 years, no amount of time spent with her had seemed to be enough. Then she compared me to her teenage son who occasionally shuts her out of his life. And that’s when I remembered that as a teenager, I couldn’t wait to get away from my parents. It made me think about our ever-changing relationships with our parents.

The thing is, in most relationships, the dynamics that exist between individuals are bound to change or shift over time. However, the relationship we have with our parents, in most cases, is the longest relationship we ever experience. The very first emotions we experience, our transitions into and out of puberty that’s accompanied with physiological and psychological changes, and all the personalities we try on and off throughout our lifetime, happen alongside our parents. Similarly, our parents make mistakes, go through losses and stresses of their own, while also learning what it means to be a parent every day. 

From my own experience and my observation of the majority of the people around me, we all go through our versions of a cycle of attachment and separation depending on our age, environment, and overall state. As children, we tend to be more attached to our parents and are desperate for attention from the two people we deem flawless creatures. Then as adolescents when we realize that our parents, just like other human beings, make mistakes, feelings of separation can occur as a result of anger, sadness, disappointment, etc. This is the stage in which most teenagers feel that they can no longer understand or be understood by their parents, and so in varying degrees, they isolate themselves from them. 

But the older we get, we leave aside the anger and blame and learn to appreciate them more and more – at least, in my experience. I left home and realized how sweet life was with mom’s pancakes, hugs, and advice. I started a new stressful job and wished dad was there to guide me as he did with my homework. 

Realistically, it’s quite normal for us to have such inconsistent relationships with our parents. However, I think it’s important that once we notice how much they mean to us, we let them know to make up for the times we yelled back, slammed the door, or stayed out too late. 

18-year-old me would never believe what I’m about to say but… Call your parents and tell them you love them.

It's me, Mojan. I'm a psychology major, currently also minoring in philosophy. I've always had a strong passion for writing so I'm glad that HerCampus has given me the opportunity to be able to share my thoughts and experiences with people.
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