The parent-child relationship: why our parents annoy us so quickly

Fathers remain parents – and children always remain children. This is exactly where there is a high potential for conflict when adult children visit their parents at Easter.

Julia is upset by her father’s jokes. Felix is ​​upset that his mother speaks without a period or comma and does not let him get a word. I also like to jump out of my skin when my dad wants to explain the special features of the family car to me on test runs before I can get behind the wheel. On Easter, their older children visit many parents. Oftentimes – at least for me – the tension is already on its way home, and I know very well what discussions, annoyances, or conflicts await at home. But why do our parents get on our nerves so much?

Konstanz Bossmayr

Konstanz Bosmeyer is a communication psychologist from Hamburg.

© Saskia Gabel

Anyone who goes to their parents’ house with a gurgling stomach is not well prepared for the visit, says Konstanz Bossmayer, a communications psychologist in Hamburg. “Adult children quickly become nervous because they stand sober and wait for their parents to treat them like children again.” If the thought is already in your mind: “Visiting is definitely going to be really bad again because my mom is definitely going to talk about my new boyfriend again,” it’s no surprise that calling quickly becomes uncomfortable.

Back to puberty

An explanation for this reaction can be found in the psychology of communication: it is assumed that we all carry different parts within us, also called internal team members. “For example, a team member has evolved during puberty to fight for their autonomy and distance themselves from overprotective parents. If the mother makes the scary comment, that inner member of the team may just jump back in and focus on the stage.” And so this person reacts as an adult or an adult in the same way that he would have reacted ten or twenty years ago.

The reason: “We leave the wand to this inner part and do not realize at the moment that we are already adults. As Chief: In our internal team, called the Chief in Communication Psychology, we can take on a superior role. From this superior attitude, we can make good decisions about any member In the team it is better to send him on stage.”

The inner child reacts to mucus

But it is not easy not to allow one’s nerves to be stolen from one comment or the other: whether it is excitement about a too-thin jacket, insisting on the third piece of cake or unwanted cleaning of shoes. Probably everyone can remember such a situation with their parents.

For example, I can make sure that my dad will either explain to me how to use the microwave or criticize me for not chopping vegetables properly every time I go into the kitchen. Just one voice from my father immediately annoys me and I respond rudely. No wonder, Konstanz Bussmayr explains: “If you treat yourself like a five-year-old, the little one takes over, acting defiantly or rudely.” This is why we sometimes don’t recognize ourselves at family celebrations, Bossmayer adds.

Back to the old example

This return to the family is not without it. When visiting parents, the same discussions and conflicts often arise over and over again. Parents and kids sneak into old roles, but adult kids definitely don’t want to go back to their old roles from childhood and adulthood. “Parents jump on the old parts that don’t let them realize their kids are long out of date.” According to the psychologist, this is often not intended in a bad way, but often results from a well-meaning and loving motive.

But even well-intentioned advice from parents can lead to quarrels. But if it came from friends, it wouldn’t be a problem at all: “If a friend tells us exactly the same thing as our parents, we can take it easy because we meet at eye level.” In the case of the parents, on the other hand, a conflict arises that apparently revolves around the content of what has been said. But we react to the message at the relationship level: ‘I know what’s good for you! “But we no longer want to be treated like children,” the psychiatrist explains. Who, as a 32-year-old daughter, wants to hear that sneakers aren’t appropriate when it’s raining? Or, as a 50-year-old, let them know when you’ll be back from meeting old school friends?

The fact that parents and children quickly return to their established roles is like a reaction, says Konstanz Bosmayer. Abusive behavior on the part of parents causes adult children to repeatedly struggle for their independence. But if you don’t want to be immediately upset about a comment about clothes, the tenth explanation of microwave jobs or not-so-funny parental jokes, you can tell a team member who might react angry, angry, or rude. Take the scepter from your hand.

Serenity can reduce conflict

“Instead of immediately letting an inner child take over the inner stage, it can help you to take a moment to think and think about which part of us should interact — which part of us is angry, or calm, or cheerful.” It can help you first shift your position and exhale. Possible answer: “Mom, so be it. I’m 32 already, I already know what’s good for me.” It helps anyone who behaves with their parents’ confidence to realize that their counterpart has long since grown up. “Those who do not return to old patterns can re-design the relationship with their parents,” the psychologist explains.

Another way, of course, could also be to enter into conflict when adult children do not want to tolerate certain behavior from their parents, says Konstanz Bosmayr. “The important thing is that we don’t allow our childish team members to take the stage. When we act from a position of leader, we can consciously decide how we want to react.” Very self-confident, self-confident, large, perhaps even loving in contact with parents, says the psychologist.

Leave a Comment