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Posted: December 06, 2018 by Yin Li
I believe one of the most important things one can do to improve communication with parents is to process our feelings about them.
Often in Asian cultures, parents expect unconditional loyalty and respect from their children.
These expectations don’t allow much room for “negative” feelings that we, as adults, might have about our parents. We end up managing or suppressing these “negative” feelings on our own and maybe even afraid to fully explore them.
The problem is ignoring feelings doesn’t work. They reveal themselves perhaps in our tone of voice, our aggression, our silence, our distance, our withholding, etc... It's only when we can fully process the full range of emotions we have about our parents - anger, disappointment, hatred, love, longing, appreciation, gratitude - that we can begin to see and accept them for who they are with their strengths and limitations. This process releases tension, frees us up to choose how we want to speak to them, and what kind of relationship we want with them.
We cannot accept others, until we accept ourselves and our feelings. Therapists know this and help their clients to unpack their feelings for this very reason - it creates freedom, choice, and a more compassionate perspective, all qualities that enhance relationships with others, specially parents.
Often times, our parents won't know that we went through this whole process, but they will notice a difference in us and in your relationship.
Additional suggestions to help improve communication with parents:
As adults, communicating well with our Asian parents can be challenging specially with a lifetime of experiences and feelings that have been swept under the rug and “sitting” between you and them. And, better communication is possible.
Tags: relationship and family