Becoming mates with your parents

Parents, one minute you wish they would leave you the heck alone, the next minute you are upset when they don’t reply to your FB message even though you explained that you can see when they have ‘seen’ it, which ended in you having to reassure them that you couldn’t physically see them on the other side of the computer, but suggested that they put tape over their cam to ease their paranoid minds.When does this shift in relationship occur? And how does it happen?

For some, the idea of being friends with their parents may be a foreign concept. They’ve never really ‘clicked’ with them before, so what would be different now? Sometimes, your personalities are so different from one another that you once spent a good half hour sifting through your Mum’s desk drawers to find evidence that you are in fact adopted. No luck.

The parent/child relationship can be full of conflict in your early years; you don’t want to conform to their ideals and most of the time, they are cramping your 15-year-old style. However, as you get older these people shift from just being the two humans who are responsible for clothing you, feeding you, sheltering you and, at one point, wiping your bum and they turn into actual human beings. You start to relate to their problems, you can understand where they’re coming from and, surprisingly, you start to actually enjoy their company.

Regardless of the relationship you had as a youngster, it’s most likely to change when you hit your late twenties. These days, they are more likely to meet your new partner over a civilised dinner rather than in the emergency department after you’ve been hooning around on their motorcycle. Rather than hiding behind the shed, sculling a bottle of wine, you’ll open a nice red, let it air and enjoy it together and who knows, you might even start to pay attention to your Dad when he gives you financial advice because you’ve got more than $61 in your savings account now.

You’ll start sharing your secrets, recounting your tales and letting them in. Of course, having alcohol with your parents is a real game changer. It can go one way or the other, depending on the severity of red wine mouth, but still it’s all bonding, isn’t it? (FYI: make sure you don’t overshare this isn’t cocktails with the girls.)

In your early adulthood, you can still experience a level of parental dependence. That job interview from hell is coming up and you need people who are on your team but can also give you no holds barred advice. And take Christmas for example, who the hell else is going to get you an advent calendar to smash through in one sitting? Let’s not forget when things turn pear shaped with your partner, you can always count on your parents to tell you they “never liked them anyway and you deserve so much better” whilst handing you tissues to mop up that horrific tear streaked cheek display.

While we still need them to hold our hand every now and then, there is a shift in the way that we appreciate them. Remember the times they gave you a ‘big talking to’ and it really pissed you off? Or grounded you for over stepping the line? Now it makes sense. They were just doing their best to mould in you into the best, functional, human they could make.

Seeing your parents through adult eyes can be humbling. You see how strong they are and how much shit they put up with and you finally get it. All the times you wanted to battle them just remember this – these people made you from scratch, they know what they’re doing.