Family dynamics can bring out some of your most immature or unnecessary behaviours. When speaking with family members, old patterns of parent child communication start to emerge and this will often cause resistant or defensive behaviours.
The parenting instinct could be one of the strongest bonds we experience and to expect it to ever disappear is underestimating its power. Like many of our learned behaviours, they are so strong that they feel automatic.
When parent child communication happens but the child is now an adult, the adult child sees this behaviour as a set back to their independence. As a child, you embarked on creating boundaries for independence, you now feel the need to protect these boundaries. You will get frustrated by parent child communication styles and react with similar behaviours to early childhood, like being moody or agitated etc. Parents also need to recognise their ingrained behaviours can be triggering. As a parent, when you notice yourself tempted to ‘force’ feed, dress, overbear or insist, you are creating that parent child dynamic instead of treating your fully grown child as the adult they have become.
Adult children will need to be more compassionate and understanding of the parent child bond. Recognising that these parenting tones or actions are not an attack on their independence but a gesture of love and protection that the parent may never be able to suppress. Parents will need to respect that adult children can now decide for themselves when they are cold or full.
This Christmas, add a moment of mindfulness before your actions or words. This short pause to understand the ‘why’ behind your behaviours and those of your family will make family gatherings all the more harmonious.