Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Getting Along With My Mom

Q: My mom and I don’t get along all that great. I really love her, but I don’t think she realizes it. She thinks that I’m selfish and self-centered. I don’t want to be selfish. It’s just that we just disagree on everything. What can I do?

A: This is a hard situation to be in, but there are a few things that can be done to start mending the gap between you and your mom. I know it must be difficult to feel this way about your mom, and I hope you know that she loves you too. The problem you are facing now is one that many people face at least once in their life. One way to help communicate to your mother that you really love her and are not selfish is to do little things around your house. I know it sounds weird, but things like vacuuming around your house without being asked communicates that you care. Little acts of kindness go a long way; make a cup of tea or a pot of coffee for her when she comes home.

Change is a hard thing to do, especially when it deals with communication. Starting the change with your actions opens the door to better verbal communication. Once that door is open, you can let your mother know you appreciate her with your words and actions. Ask your mom if the two of you can go out for dessert, or coffee, hot chocolate, etc. Ask her questions about her personal life. How did she get started at her job? What did she study in school and why? The more questions you ask, the more information and better understanding you get. Every year I learn more things about my parents that I had no idea they did, or thought. It is a wonderful way to get to know one another better.

I don’t know if you and your mother get into arguments, or verbal battles, but if you do be quick to apologize. I usually wait about ten minutes after an argument and then go apologize. I say something like, “I am sorry about blowing up a little while ago. It’s just that I felt attacked about _______ and I didn’t really mean that.” Remember, it will not be an easy or a quick transition, but if you work at it, and make multiple efforts a week to improve on your relationship it will slowly start to get better.