Is Your Relationship With Your Parents Normal?

By Katherine Schreiber

Oh, parents. By now, you know that they're not exactly normal, and you're totally okay with that. What you aren't exactly sure about is — how normal is your relationship with them, actually, especially compared to the parent-child dynamics that your friends experience?

It’s a common concern, explains family therapist Judye Hess, Ph.D. The transition into adulthood reconfigures what it means to be attached to the people who raised you — especially when you’re no longer living under their roof. The evolving shift in how dependent you are on Mom and Dad, how much you’d like them involved in your adult life, and how great of a burden their needs become as they age can pave the way for unanticipated tensions, Hess says. And because so many of us are reluctant to voice our unease — either talking directly to our parents or venting to our friends — we end up feeling far more alone than we actually are.

The truth is there are plenty of others out there who feel the same way you do about family. Check out five common sources of conflict between adult kids and their parents, plus expert guidance for how to deal with all those tricky situations.