Social Question

Facade's avatar

How important is it to you to have a close relationship with your parents?

Asked by Facade (22902points) September 1st, 2009

While being on here, I noticed that some people here have a very close relationship with their parents, and some are very distant.
What kind of relationship do you have with them?
Are you satisfied with it?
What kind would you like to have?
Is it different with each parent?
What about with stepparents?

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35 Answers

Shuttle128's avatar

Being from a family where, even though they divorced, my parents stayed close to us, I would have to say that I feel it is pretty important. My parents believed from first-hand experience that it was important to stay close. Since I haven’t experienced a life where my parents weren’t close, I can’t say for sure, but my parents felt it necessary after they went through the polar opposite as children.

SheWasAll_'s avatar

I think I’ve mentioned before, but my parents are my best friends. My dad is absolutely hysterical and he has the same temper I do, so we have a good understanding and respect for each other. My mom is the only person I trust and she knows exactly what to do/say when I’m upset. plus, when she swears or says something like the “C” word, I die laughing At the same time of being friendly, she never oversteps her parental boundaries (like trying to wear juniors clothes and fake baking). I wouldn’t ask for anything different in our relationships, because they’re still my parents, not just friends.

nikipedia's avatar

I talk to my dad once every few months. I haven’t talked to my mother in years. I live across the country from both of them and have only seen my dad once in the last four years or so, when he was out here on business. I can’t remember the last time I saw my mom.

In both cases, it really bothers me, but I don’t see any alternative. I feel very guilty, especially about my mother, who is extremely mentally ill and refuses treatment.

I am profoundly envious of kids who have good relationships with their parents and parents who have good relationships with their kids. I would love to have a close relationship with them but I have no idea how to do that.

dpworkin's avatar

My parents have passed away, but I miss my dad something fierce. I think of him daily.

DominicX's avatar

To me, it is important. I’m glad I have a close relationship with my parents and I wouldn’t want it to be any different. It’s the perfect type of relationship. They’re not overprotective or smothering or anything and I don’t feel like I want to be away from them all the time. Sometimes, they act as friends. Yes, I’m closer to my mom than my dad, but I’m fairly close to both of them and I hope it continues to be that way.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Not important – my father and I were never close, he’s caused me a lot of trauma over the years…he’s close to death now, he will never learn certain things about me…but I take care of him and don’t want him to suffer needlessly…my mom has caused me tremendous stress as well…I’d like to be far away from her

serendipity's avatar

It’s very important to me. I am an only child so my parents and I always did things together when I was younger. As an adult it seems only logical to do things with them when I can (I live several hundred miles away from them now).

BBSDTfamily's avatar

I’m close with both, and make efforts to talk to and see them often. I wish I fought with my mother a little less, but we are still very close.

Facade's avatar

@serendipity Why does that seem like the “logical” choice for you?
@Simone_De_Beauvoir You live with them right?
@DominicX That’s fantastic, especially at your age.
@SheWasAll_ Haha, my mother will say “ass” sometimes followed by “Lord, forgive me”, and it’s hilarious :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Facade you bet…I had a huge fight with my mother yesterday…she got me so angry I threw my Klean Kanteen bottle at the local bar wall, it is not dented…

AstroChuck's avatar

Very. I’m an only child.

Sarcasm's avatar

My parents and I aren’t very close, never really have been. No real issues, just not close. I’ve always considered them to be providers more than parents. Life lessons were all taught to me by friends/internet/school, I’ve never gotten a birds and the bees chat other than “I don’t want anything inappropriate going on in your room” and I never got a drugs/alcohol chat other than “Don’t do it” (I guess that suits the previous topic quite well, also).

I’d rather pick the evil I know over the evil I don’t know. I certainly wouldn’t go back in time and randomly pick different parents.

My mother and I are similar in our personalities. Introverted, analytical.
My father and I are similar in interests. He studied computer science in college, I’m going computer information systems (Fairly similar). He repairs his old cars for fun, I like to work with computers.

trailsillustrated's avatar

the older you get, the more important it becomes

Facade's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir It’s amazing the buttons the people who “love you” can push. And on a side note, I’ve always wanted to throw something, but I’ fearful of the damage I’d cause…
@Sarcasm I know how you feel. I don’t remember them actually guiding me or anything. Never got any of those talks you mentioned… Do you think the similarities you have with your parents make things easier or more difficult?

casheroo's avatar

I’m extremely close to both my parents.

What kind of relationship do you have with them? My mother and I are as close as best friends, I wouldn’t say sister because I think women tell their friends more than siblings. I trust my mother, and we have a lot in common. I also have a lot in common with my father, and I enjoy spending time with him. I hang out with them often, individually or together. They also spend a lot of time with my husband.

Are you satisfied with it? Very. I’m glad we’re so close, and I’m glad that we can talk so freely together. Of course they made mistakes when parenting me, but I’m not one to hold that against them forever (except the fact my mother threw away my favorite stuffed animal when I got scarlet fever. I will never forgive that, and she knows it.)

What kind would you like to have? Nothing different.

Is it different with each parent? Yes, my relationship with my father is a close one but definitely not the same as my mothers. We do things together, but probably not as often as my mother and I do…and he talks about things I’m not always interested in (mechanical, or car stuff) but I do make an effort to learn about the things he’s interested in. We have dinner with just me, him and my son once a week…it’s nice. I probably sit down to dinner with my entire family about 4 or 5 times a week.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Facade truly, my mother can get me angrier like no one else – it’s the kid in me being angry..she’s supposed to be my mommy and not the kind of person she is…and it hurts and it makes me angry

Facade's avatar

@casheroo How touching and wonderful :) No sarcasm there btw
@Simone_De_Beauvoir I understand =(

casheroo's avatar

I think every mother has that power, to push their childrens buttons like no other. Evil.

Facade's avatar

@AstroChuck Do you think things would be different if you weren’t an only child? Does it make you feel as though you have a special responsibility since they have no other children?

perplexism's avatar

I had a different type of relationship with each parent. My dad was far more laid back. He was the type of person that would put you at ease and make you laugh. I would go to him when I was feeling tense and needed to be around someone who could relax me. He had a very soothing nature about him.

My relationship with my mom was more nurturing (I suppose – though my dad was nurturing, too). She was also more strict. I’d have to go through my dad to wiggle my way around her rules. However, I’ve always went to my mother with every single problem I’ve experienced in my life. I just trust her judgment. After my dad passed, I don’t know what I would do without her. I need her, she means everything to me.

And, I miss my dad. He left a void in my life that can never be replaced. You’d have to know the man, truly one-of-a-kind.

And yes, I was/am very satisfied with the relationship with my both parents. Love them more than words can express.

MissAusten's avatar

Not very close to my parents. When I was a kid, I was very close to my mom. She saw us as best friends, and I know she was really upset when I got to be about 15 or so and preferred to spend time with my friends from school. Anyway, my parents didn’t really get along, and my mom is the kind of person who wants everyone to be on her “side.” From the time I was very young, she subtly manipulated my brother and I into seeing our family as Us against Dad. I didn’t even realize until I was married myself that this mean-guy image I had of my dad wasn’t true. He’s never been good at communicating, had some control issues, and probably would have alienated us all on his own even without my mom’s help. But, he wasn’t abusive or mean. He took care of us, gave all of us everything we wanted, and did his best. We aren’t close, but I feel like I understand him better. He lives halfway across the country from me, so we don’t see each other often but we talk about once a week.

My mom has gotten stranger and stranger as the years have gone on. Any closeness we used to have faded away several years ago. She would probably tell anyone who asks that we’re still best friends, but she’s kind of delusional. I once read a description of histrionic personality disorder which describes her to a T. I believe she’s also a pathological liar. It’s impossible to be close to her because I never know if what she’s telling me has any truth to it at all. Many of her lies are hateful and seem to be designed to make others look bad so she can look like some kind of saint. She also lives several states away (not surprisingly, my parents divorced many years ago), but she calls me all the time. I usually get off the phone and want to slam my head into a wall. If she were anyone other than my mom, I probably would have cut her out of my life long ago. I can’t do that, so I put up with it. I mostly keep my mouth shut, because contradicting, questioning, or arguing has no effect on her at all.

It is sad, because I’d like to know my dad better but can’t get past his tendency to keep everything to himself. I swear, he only likes to talk about the weather. I’d like to be close to my mom, but with her issues, that just isn’t possible.

Luckily, I have some awesome in-laws. My husband has a big family, all very close and always there for each other. I’m so glad my kids are growing up surrounded by this family and not the kind of family I grew up in.

Supacase's avatar

Relationships with all of them (steps & ex-steps included) have been good and bad. The two who truly mean the most to me are the ones I suffered through the most difficult times with. But, they were there. There were times they infuriated me. There were times I disappointed and shamed them. We are all still hanging strong. The older I get, the more I appreciate them and understand just how good I had it all along. How would I change it? I would get the nerve to call my stepdad “dad” instead of his name after 26 years of having him as a father. I wish my mom would open up more – she is so stoic and I am very emotional… we drive each other nuts. :)

AstroChuck's avatar

@Facade- I don’t think so but I really don’t know. How could I?

augustlan's avatar

Oddly enough, of the parents I’ve had (mother, biological father, and step-father), the one I’m closest to is my ex-step-dad. He was only married to my mother from the time I was 4 until I turned 8, but he has always been my dad (which is what I call him). He gave me away at my wedding. We email each other every few weeks (he’s nearly deaf, so it’s easier than phoning) and see each other several times a year. He recently married a wonderful woman and they are madly in love. I couldn’t be happier for the two of them!

I never met my bio-father til I was 18. We were friends, but not father/daughter… I called him by his first name. He passed away when I was pregnant with my second child. My mother is a whole ‘nother story. I’ve gone through the details here before, but suffice it to say that she failed to stop her brother from molesting me for years when I was a kid, and was still friends with him til the day he died a few years ago. Between that and the fact that she has Borderline Personality Disorder, I had to cut her out of my life about 4 years ago for my own mental health.

I hope to God my relationship with my children is a thousand times better than the one I had with my mother.

Adagio's avatar

@trailsillustrated I have to agree with you although my life does not reflect the significance of your comment. Yet

aprilsimnel's avatar

The only person who treated me like a real mother would died in 2000. I am closest to two of her 11 daughters, the second and third-born, both of whom are old enough to be my mother. They each fulfill that role in different ways and I’m grateful they’re in my life.

dpworkin's avatar

@augustlan That is a moving story. I also had a very, very difficult mother, which is why she is not mentioned above. I think people like us who are determined not to inflict the same pain on our children do actually manage. I have a lovely relationship with all 4 of my kids, two grown and twins who are 12. I made my own mistakes, but was never vicious or punitive, and you won’t be either.

MissAusten's avatar

@pdworkin and @augustlan I think people can choose to either learn from their parents’ mistakes and avoid repeating them, or follow the examples they’ve been set. I made a conscious choice a long time ago to not be like my mother. It probably helps that my basic personality isn’t very similar to hers though. My father-in-law was literally beaten as a child, and has never laid a hand on any of his children. It’s entirely possible not to fall into the routine you grew up with, and just knowing you want something different for your family is probably the most important first step.

hug_of_war's avatar

I’m close with my dad, not super close, but we get along well, share interests, and I love our conversations. My mom, whom I live with, is a very different story. Saying we have a strained relationship is putting it lightly. A day isn’t complete to her if she hasn’t belittled me in some way. I would love to be closer to my mom, but it certainly isn’t going to happen as long as we live together.

My soon-to-be stepfather is basically a douchebag but my mom is too blind to see the warning signs everyone else does. Like he promised to take me horseback riding a year ago but a few weeks ago we discussed it again and he discouraged us from going because I’m not that experienced. My 3 siblings and I all have serious reason to believe he has cheated. He doesn’t like kids and basically only puts up with us because he has to. Tries to hide his shadiness witth his money. So I have no plans on ever being close to him, nor do I want to.

summerlover's avatar

i do have a very close relationship with my parents and it has helped me greatly over the years. I have to say they are the BEST parents. Just like everyone, I have had some difficulties but they have seen me through…I feel very fortunate to have them and also matured enough to tell them over and over again how great they are!!!

kekeke's avatar

I have a very good relationship with my parents. They’ve always approached parenting with a lassez-faire sort of attitude, which encourages me to tell the truth because I don’t fear unfair reprecussion. My Mum was 43 when she had me, and I’m a second child, which probably has something to do with how laid back things are.

I’m lucky to have the parents I do. I wasn’t really planned, but they were ready for kids and it shows. They’ve provided me with a safe home, and friends of mine when they’re parents are giving them a hard time.

serendipity's avatar

@Facade: why is it logical that I do things with my parents now? I guess because they did foster such a close relationship with me when I was younger that now it would be inconceivable in my world view not to hav them around. I admire their strengths, respect their opinion, and generally enjoy their company. Of course I recognize they’re human and have faults and issues but overall…it’s wonderful to have a relationship (separately with each of them and collectively with both of them) that’s so loving and supportive of whatever I do. Why wouldn’t it be logical then that I’d want to spend time with them? :)

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

During the years my parents were mostly irresponsible and cruel, I kept them at a distance and didn’t invest much energy trying to figure out whey they thought of me as they did. Now in recent years, my parents are more positive people and we’ve been able to share more, open up a bit more and approach friendship but I doubt they will ever be on my “first string” of people in my life I love and who love me.

mattbrowne's avatar

Very. And parents are parents and not friends.

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