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How to Fix a Bad Relationship With Your Parents


Shil1978 is a science buff with 11 years of experience writing about of psychology and related-topics.

Having a good relationship with one's parents is very important for most of us. However, let's face it, relationships with parents can be quite difficult and complex. There is scope for lots of misunderstandings and conflicts. These basically stem from lack of communication in most instances. However, in other instances, communication itself can be the source of conflicts. For example, you don't want to get involved in a verbal slanging match with your parents. That's certainly not the sort of communication you'd want to get going with your parents. Such verbal insults directed at each other can gradually erode away the goodwill and love present in a relationship between a parent and a child and can do much damage, some of which may last a lifetime.

A bad relationship with one's parents can be the cause of much heartache and stress. Many of us just give up at a point and let things be. We resign ourselves to the fact that we can never have a good relationship with our parents, but should we really just give up on fixing things between us and our parents. No, I don't think we should give up!!

So, how do you fix a bad relationship with your parents? Here are some strategies that are drawn from my own personal experience in dealing with my mom and dad. Needless to say I've had problems with my parents as well.

For a start, you should analyze what the problem areas are in your relationship with your parents. This is very important. Unless you know the problems, you are unlikely to get anywhere near solving them. So, get to work and draw up a list of the recent conflicts you've had with your parents and what triggered them off. Make a note of the things you've said or done that hurt them especially. Of course, there might be some things that you feel you are right about and have no reason to have said differently. You can hold on to those points of view. However, you can hold your views without coming across as being confrontational.


Formulate a Response

Having thus drawn up a list of the recent conflicts you've had with your parents, try and formulate an imaginary response to each of the conflict situations and see which one suits the situation the best. This is important because in the heat of the moment, you respond spontaneously, without much thought, and say things that you may regret later.

Hence, imagine the conflict situation that is most likely to happen between you and your parents and formulate the best response you can give to those. The next time you are faced with a similar conflict situation, put your plans into action. Instead of getting sucked into a familiar routine of verbal or physical confrontation, try being diplomatic or keeping silent. Try perhaps to explain yourself in a sentence or two and then just refusing to get drawn into a slanging match.

You could then seek out your parents when they are calmer and then have an honest talk with them, explaining your point of view (they'd appreciate your doing so). If they are not open to having a talk and are still upset with you, then the best thing you could do is to write them a letter describing your point of view in a respectful tone and they'd surely see your point of view much better this way.

Writing a letter is a very good option because it cuts out the verbal interaction to getting your thoughts across. Verbal interaction can often go out of hand and result in increasing tempers and can even lead into a physical altercation. A letter just conveys your thoughts, not your animosity or anger!! By putting out your thoughts in a letter, you avoid any chances of a discussion between you getting out of hand.

Quick Summary of Things You Can Do:

1. Be patient and be willing to hear your parents' side of the story.

2. Do not bring up past issues when you are trying to solve an immediate issue of concern.

3. Be willing to communicate first and approach your parents first. Don't let your ego come in the way. If you want to fix the relationship from your side, then be willing to make the start.

4. Be willing to accept and acknowledge your faults in the deterioration of your relationship. Honest acknowledgement of your mistakes will be appreciated by your parents and can become the basis of a stronger foundation on which to build your future relationship on.

5. Be totally honest about what you feel and expect out of your parents. Do not be afraid to bring up negative aspects of your parents that may be contributing to the relationship worsening. Let them know, but in a polite and non-confrontational way so they do not get an opportunity to shout their way out of it, but rather have to think about it and reflect upon it and maybe feel compelled to change it to better the relationship.

6. Try to understand things from their point of view and make them see things from your perspective. Try to find common ground when you can and be open towards compromises. Do not be rigid, do not be inflexible and hold on to your position come what may. Talk and find out a way that would be acceptable to both of you. If that is not possible, do it your way but take efforts to explain to your parents why you did what you did and why that doesn't take away from your love towards them.


In general, keep your parents in the loop as to the goings-on in your life - whenever you can. They'd feel involved in your life and appreciate your sharing things with them. Respect them and speak to them politely (even if you don't share their point of view). Keep in touch with them, even though you may have a busy life. It is not impossible to find time to call them up and make them feel like they are a real part of your life. Bad relationships don't happen overnight and therefore cannot be fixed overnight. It will be a work in progress and so it is important that you keep working at it. A few small steps is what you start with, and before you know, you'd be surprised at how things have improved between you two!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2008 Shil1978


Riffat Junaid from Pakistan on July 10, 2020:

Very nice tips you mentioned in article I also had some issues in past with my parents if I'll stuck again same situation I'll follow your tips. Thank you.

Lysha on March 28, 2019:

Hi my name is lysha, i have a problem with my father and my mother... Whatever i do wrong or got problems i feel very scared to tell and discuss with them. I don't know the reason but i feel there is a wall between us and sometimes i scared that i make a mistakes make them feel disappointment with me... i know the parents want their children grow fine and doing well in their life but i feel really2 scared

Maka on April 21, 2018:

This really helped me a lot because whenever I do something wrong, me and my parents always end up yelling at each other.thank you very much :)

Rohit on March 09, 2018:

It give me a great ideas to resolve family conflicts very logical way to overcome the situation of unhappiness within the family member. Negotiation play a vital role to build a happy family bonding.

blackjack on February 07, 2018:

thank you so mutch!!!! you really helped me with my parents.

Shayla Ogle on August 09, 2017:

This really helped me alot :D

Tasnim on May 16, 2017:

Not bad

Mapghosts on January 06, 2015:

My name is Miguel and I'm having some difficult times with my mom and I don't what to do

azeemz on July 19, 2014:

Im 17 and have on going fights with my mom for ages... she goes to extremes and never listens to me. Im the one at home who gets shouted, sweared and sometimes hit. I guess its true that the middle child is not loved at all. she has sooo much of love for my big sister and my small sister never gets into trouble because I get blamed for whatever she does. I don't know what's wrong with me, I try super hard to get close to them but its like they chase me away. am I not their child???

Shil1978 (author) on April 24, 2014:


Why don't you write a heartfelt letter describing how you really feel and how much you really want to solve the issues between the two of you. I'm sure when she reads your words, it would have more of an impact on her and make her realize how much it affects you and how much you want things between you two to be better.

Write a letter describing all that you feel and leave it in a place where she'd discover and read it. Often times, when we try to talk and solve problems, things don't always go as planned and emotions take over and we may end up fighting again, but with letters, personally, I've discovered the impact is greater. Try it!

Best of luck!

BboyZiggs on April 24, 2014:

hey my name is Chris and i have major problems with my mother. First of all i would like to explain her situation. Recently my grandfather got really sick and now he is in the hospital, so my mother needs to be there a lot to support him. I understand that this is a really bad situation for her but i consider terrible the fact that she bursts her anger into me. At least this is the main fact i believe we have a bad relationship. Suddenly she doesn't let me to go out, she says bad things about my friends, she makes fun of my dream becoming a profesional breakdancer and a lot of things similar to that. Most of the times we shout at each other, but when i try to calmly solve the problem she thinks i am playing smart and makes fun of me, which drives me insane. Most of the times we end up in an an awkward situation. I really want to get along with her because after all , this things make her really sad and i care about how she feels. Any advise?

Ango Lugel on March 19, 2014:

1st of all THANK YOU for your greatenormouslypleasingwonderful ADVISE, (few years later) glad i found this hub.

2nd of all LOVE breaks barriers! Hashtag :)

NASH on August 31, 2013:

Thank you, for the advice you've given to us. I will try to apply the things that will mend my parents broken relationship, and God Bless!

sarah on October 17, 2012:

all your coments are wonderfull

TitoScov on April 24, 2012:

Thank you so much i'll try my best to fix this situation

Shil1978 (author) on April 24, 2012:

Tito, you should just approach her and tell her it was a honest mistake on your part and that you feel awful about forgetting to thank her. If you find it difficult to talk to her personally or feel that she wouldn't listen to you, then write a letter expressing how you feel.

Talk to your father as well and convince him that you didn't mean to leave her out - that it was a honest mistake and that you really care about making things fine again with your mom.

Am sure he would be happy to hear that you regret and would help you in making things fine with your mom again. Best of luck TitoScov!!

TitoScov on April 23, 2012:

I have a major problem I need help with. My name is Timothy Saunders. About 2 years ago i was adopted. I was adopted by a couple with three younger children than I (one boy two girls). I fit in pretty good with the family. The children looked up to me and loved me. And my adopted father loved me too. However Ive always gotten the feeling that my mom didn't wanna accept me (for whatever reason) into the family. For example my father let everyone know that he adopted me on his side of the family- she did not. When she would talk on the telephone she would say things like "the kids are doing fine, and so is Timothy". She wouldn't include me as a "kid", just as another person, does that make sense? But anyway two weeks ago i hurt her in a major way because we had an assembly at school and I was called to receive an award. I thanked everyone for supporting me except her, but it was by mistake honestly I didn't mean it. So our relationship hasn't been the same since. Its awkward and strange. My father was also dissapointed in me as well because he flt like i was selfish and thoughtless. How do I fix this?

Shil1978 (author) on March 30, 2012:

Alexendra, why don't you write him a letter and express all that you want to say to him from the heart. Sometimes, writing a letter is best because there is no face-to-face interaction involved in it and that can take away a lot of the potential for conflict and enable real thoughts to get across. I am sure he would get to know you and your problems/point of view much better this way. Best of luck! I hope things become better between the two of you soon..!!

Mis Alexendra on March 30, 2012:

I have lot of problems with my parents actually i don't talk to my father he is the one who started this fight im a nervous person and i don't acceptbeing oppressed by somebody however he is, he says im the one to blame and we were good friend im just 20 and i wanna fix things up but he always reminds me of my faults and i cant bear that how can i fix things with him neverthless he doesn't answer the phone when i call and he doesn't want host me in his house again

Seceret on January 03, 2012:

Great advice but im not close to my parents i cant just go up to them and tell them how i feel they would probally laugh im just so sick of them i kindve have the same problem as Clara.

Shil1978 (author) on March 01, 2011:

Thank you, ST, for stopping by and commenting on this hub. Thanks for your suggestion too - I'd try to get my hands on that. You are most welcome :)

Senior Travel! from At the moment? on March 01, 2011:

SO good to discuss this topic. Another book I would suggest is "Love Languages," (I'll write more info on this book at my HUB as I get going.) Thank you for welcoming me to the HUB!

sleepingB on December 28, 2010:

i'm 22 and i'm still arguing with ym parents a lot, i think there is no way i can fix my relationships with them. we just cant communicate with each other.

i feel so horrible everytime i talk to them, and when i talk to them i always hav to pretend to be very good, nice and friendly. i think this kind of relationship is very fake! and i'm realy tired of this

distance54321 on December 17, 2010:

thanks guys for all the help, my parents and i have a very on and off relationship. like sometimes its good, and then other times...i don't want to come home from school...

i really don't want it to be that way. im 16 and im tired of arguing. ive tried to be patient, but my parents never believe me when i try to say something, they assume they are always right and they wont consider what i have to say. i feel so alone sometimes.

closed off from the two people that are supposed to love me and listen to what i have to say. and when i try and explain myself in a calm way, my mom claims im getting smart with her and assuming i know it all, but im really just calmly explaining to her what i know happened or anything.

my parents just don't get me...

Shil1978 (author) on December 10, 2010:

Thank you, Adair, for stopping by and commenting. Glad you found this hub useful enough to share :)

adair_francesca on December 09, 2010:

great hub! thanks for giving such great ideas and advice. I will surely use this and also share to my friends who are in the same situation.

Shil1978 (author) on June 26, 2010:

Thank you AHB for stopping by and commenting! I couldn't agree with you more - that is a big part of the problem. There is and will always be a gap and yes communicating can narrow that gap.

Problem is we never communicate as much as we have to and hence we always seem to fall short of the ideal!

Thank you once again AHB for pointing out this interesting angle to the parent-child relationship!!

ahorseback on June 26, 2010:

As a parent , part of the problem is this, we have to watch our children mature on their own and even as they age they will never "catch up" to where the parent is. Believe it or not we ,all of us , never stop growing . That's why parents often just smile and look at you with a knowing look. How to explain the gap! How to watch your child experience the same things you did , and survive. Talk , talk , talk , to them . And all will be fine .

Shil1978 (author) on April 11, 2010:

Hi Clara,

It is unfortunate that your parents don't want to hear how you feel. I am not sure what the reason for this could be? It maybe that they are fixed in their views, as you are with yours!! If that is the case, maybe you can write them a letter explaining all that you want to convey. They may switch off their ears to you, but I am sure they would be tempted to read if you were to write them a letter. You can get your message across that way and hopefully that would clear some of the misunderstandings between you and your parents.

In a broader sense, it is only normal to have differences of opinion between parents and their children. If you really want to find out who is being unreasonable or who's in the wrong - maybe you can share your specific problem with a close friend, who's your age, and a close relative, who is a bit older - around the age of your parents. This would help give you a balanced perspective from both sides.

Do write a letter to them though - they should know how you really feel. Best of luck!!

Clara on April 09, 2010:

Thanks this helped with my relationship with my parents. Though I have run into a new problem. My parents don't want to hear my opinion because it is not like theirs even in a remote sense and they critisize my every emotion as if it is wrong that I have emotions, and yes I know that this is my view and I could be taking things in the wrong way but I feel as if this is the way it is. I haven't been able to tell my parents how I feel because they refuse to listen to how I percieve things that they do or say that hurt my feelings they try to tell me I am wrong instead of explaining to me what they meant. I don't know if I am at fault and I am the one that needs to changeor if they are the problem or if it all of us combined. I do not wish our relationship fall farther then it has but if I can't find a solution soon it is inevitably going to happen. I loved your advice and I was hoping you could help. If you can that would be great if not that is fine too

thank you for your time


Shil1978 (author) on March 19, 2009:

Glad it helped you Coco.

Coco on March 19, 2009:

Thanks ... I'm struggling and that helped!

Lgali on January 22, 2009:

Good advice

Mohideen Basha from TRICHY, TAMIL NADU, INDIA. on December 12, 2008:

hi, really good advices. nice work.


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