Most movies and TV shows frequently portray picture-perfect happy families. The parents are devoted and prepared to be there for their children –physically, mentally and emotionally, irrespective of the circumstances. Yet, the reality is that some people do not have caring, attentive or loving parents and it may be a struggle to forgive your parents if you are one of those people.
As much as everyone would love to have TV-perfect parents, no one is perfect. Having a child does not mean that people suddenly get all the answers to life. Most often, they continue being who they are and doing what they know – which may or may not create a positive or nurturing environment for a child.
Nor does it mean that they may change or learn with wisdom or years. Or perhaps they did, but you still find it difficult to forgive your parents because you grew into an adult with a catalog of questions or emotional baggage.
To forgive your parents, doesn’t mean that you need to forget the past. It means that you are choosing to not live in the past and moving on.
This may feel uncomfortable and the truth might hurt. But remember, you are not there to blame, hurt or cause an argument. You are there to address the way you feel and what you may still struggle with.
For instance, if as a child, your parents divorced, but one parent only stayed in touch with you every few months, you could point out how that made you feel. And voice that you may like them to have more regular contact.
Or perhaps you already tried to speak to them and it felt like you were going in circles. That is ok too because you have already done your part by giving a voice to the child in you, who could not before speak up.
Learn to accept it for what it is without adding expectations. Remember, the only person you can control or change is yourself. The first step to knowing how to forgive your parents is by accepting them for who they are and adjusting your own outlook.
In the same way that you may be suffering as an adult as a result of your upbringing, your parents might also not have had the best start to life. They may have been products of their environment, which ultimately affected their ability to be the best parents.
For instance, if they were brought up with parents for constantly shouted at them, it might be all that they have ever known in their lives. As a result, it may be second nature to them to scream or argue aggressively.
Being an adult means that you have the power to make your own choices and be responsible. Your parents stopped controlling your life a long time ago. You can't blame them for all the things that have gone wrong in your life.
As a child, perhaps you were not given as many hugs, words of encouragement or even love. This simply means that you would be able to pass those wonderful things you felt that you missed out on, to your own offspring.
Find positives in your childhood – even if it to serve as an example for the sort of relationship you want to not have with your own children. And know that you can be the best parent you are able to be – irrespective of what happened in your past.
If you need a feel-good, why not check out my article on learning how to see the positives in negative things?