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Why Some People Are Closer To Their Parents?

Why Some People Are Closer To Their Parents?

When it comes to parenting, there are two obvious assertions. Firstly, all parents love their children, and this unconditional blessing is something that overcome anything that comes their way. Secondly, all parents strive to maintain equal relationships with their children, while also ensuring that there is minimal jealously between siblings.

The idea of showing any kind of favouritism to a child is abhorrent to most parents, but this is not necessarily as clear-cut or as heinous as it sounds. In fact, parents can subconsciously favour one child or another, automatically leading to the cultivation of slightly closer and more fulfilling relationships.

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Why are some People closer to their Parents?

For those of you who are still unsure or uneasy about this concept, let’s debunk some of the misconceptions that exist surround favouritism between parents and their children. While the stereotypical view suggests that parents may favour a particularly child due to their personality, achievements or gender, there are in fact deeper psychological reasons why such feelings arise. This has been explored further in a study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family, which revealed some surprising findings about the relationships between parents and their children.

This study, which canvassed the opinion of several hundred women over the age of 65, revealed that three-quarters identified one child who was the most likely to be their primary care-giver in the future. Not only was this viewpoint generally fixed over time, but it also based on the mother’s perception that this child shares their fundamental values and views. It appears that this, more than any other factor, may create favouritism in our relationship with parents, as we tend to bond more closely with individuals who are similar to ourselves.

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How similar Values drive and Impact on the Relationship with our Parents

Interestingly, even those of us who are able to select our friends from a large and diverse group tend to forge close relationships with people who share our outlook and values. A study entitled Group Processes and Intergroup Relations explored this further, confirming the age-old opinion that we have a universal preference for similarity. While this does not always lead to the best friendships and in some instances may restrict personal growth, when we are presented with choice we tend to make the instinctive and unconscious decision to favour individuals with similar values.

When evaluating our relationship with parents, the instinctive need for similarity and the bonds subconsciously developed by shared values clearly create a scenario where favouritism can breed. While we have already stated that this does not reflect badly or parents or necessarily manifest itself within the relationship, it is important to keep in mind as it can impact on both adult sibling relationships and the cultivation of nurturing patterns. Although favoured children can benefit from a deeper emotional connection with their mother or father, for example, they may also be required to carry a greater burden of responsibility and expectations.

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The Last Word

Given the complexity of the human mind and its changeable nature, it is easy to presume that favouritism between parents and children may be influenced by superficial factors such as gender bias or a shared taste in movies. This is far from the case, however, as there are in fact unconscious emotional triggers that may cause parents to favour one child over another.

Both parents and children need to understand these in greater detail, so that they can comprehend the true nature of favouritism and the factors that influence our relationships. This can help to negate the emotional issues associated with favouritism, while empowering parents to maintain equal relationships with their children and cultivate trust between siblings.

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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