Many of us married and single folks have issues that stem from our parents. Whether we’ve felt abandoned by parents, emotionally or physically abused by parents or overly coddled by parents, things that happened when we were 10 years old can still plague our relationships with our parents today.
Even now as adults, some of those parents are just difficult to deal with still. They want to tell you how to raise your children, run your household and even try to make you feel guilty for not being around them more. Yet, we must deal with the issues of a difficult parent or our past situations will challenge our present-day happiness. But also remember, your children will learn a lot about how to treat you from seeing how you treat your parents. So how do you love a difficult parent? Take a look at the following three strategies and make them a part of your life.
1. Begin to see your parent’s humanity.
What I mean is begin to see them as more than just your parent but as a person. See mom as a woman who struggled with her own demons; a woman who was once a scared little girl. Step back and take a look at the person who is your mother. See her at age 10, 18 and then 30. Imagine being in her shoes. See what has caused her to be the woman she is today. Now have compassion on that woman. Yes, your mother is your mother, but she is also a human being who has real life experiences. Those experiences have molded her into the type of person she is today. She is human therefore permitted to have flaws.
2. Learn to forgive your parent.
Your father is worthy of being forgiven for his mistakes, not for his sake but for yours. Forgiveness is for you. You benefit from forgiving. To forgive, does not mean to let someone off the hook for the wrong they have done. Nor does it mean you have forgotten the wrong. It does mean you have released them from penalty. As you forgive, the sting of disappointment and disgust will begin to lessen as healing is taking place.
3. Make it a growing experience for you.
When faced with your mother’s difficulties, see it as a place to grow and stretch into being a better man or woman yourself. Demonstrating patience will grow you. Showing mercy will grow you. Extending kindness and sympathy will grow you. There are many areas in which we can all grow. Take this opportunity not to dismiss your parent, but to grow you. Your spouse and your children are watching how you handle these difficult situations. Your children are learning from you. Teach them something of value.
Love is patient and kind. It keeps no record of wrong but learns from the experience. It is easy to love parents who are lovable; it is more difficult to love those whom are flawed. Loving a difficult mother or father is a choice, which can have great rewards. We don’t love them because they are perfect or treated us right. We love because we choose to. It can be a challenge, but I believe you are strong enough to endure the challenge and come out victorious.
BMWK: Have you been able to love a difficult parent in spite of what they do? Share and encourage someone else.