Every person is believed to harbor their own time zones in terms of reaching maturity. A common problem in our cultural perspective is entering adulthood without really being able to live or act like an adult. Parents tend to lean on their instinctive protectiveness which often confuses young adults and leaves them under prepared for life on their own. Here are a few observations that I have gathered from the people around me and I believe are worth discussing:
1. Dreams and ambitions: This easily tops the list in terms of future regret. Parent getting in the way of their child’s ambition is a common scenario and it should not be taken lightly. My 27 year old friend still regrets his decision of not joining the air force to become a pilot upon graduating high school. Knowing that it is too late to do anything about it, he is in regret every day that he let it go instead of settling it out with his parents.
Best case scenario is to keep speaking to your parents about your plans and where you see yourself in future as soon as you enter adulthood. Take charge and accept responsibility of any outcome that your decision may have on you. You should also be able to convert your words into action by being more responsible in your everyday life so that your family can clearly see that you are capable enough to run after your dreams.
2. Love life: Our largely conservative society makes it difficult to have an open discussion about a young adult’s love life with their parents. This can prove to be detrimental, especially now that we have heard of the deadly consequences of heartbreaks. Often times, it is hard for the parents to find acceptance to a relationship which all of a sudden hits them with demands of marriage.
It may be difficult and embarrassing but take the first step towards knowing your parent’s love story (even if it was an arranged marriage, they must have fallen in love at some point of time). Start sharing bits and pieces about your love life and disclose as much as you would be comfortable with sharing. Even if your parents are against it at first, with time and regular sharing, it might get easier for them to understand you better and vice versa.
3. Dietary preferences: Bengali mothers are well known for their love of feeding their children and often crash the diet plans of young adults. We often get body shamed and lose confidence in ourselves when we get overweight. Potential health problems include being easily fatigued, losing concentration, etc.
The best way to counter this problem lies on proper discussion with supporting evidence. Getting a blood test done and reviewing the report with your parents may be a good start (over exaggerating the health condition might help in required cases). Share how it impacts your confidence and ask for their help. This might take some real effort and persuasion but is, certainly attainable.
4. Learning from mistakes: Parents and their inbuilt protectiveness kick in every time when their child is willing to try something new. Bucket loads of advice followed by uncountable “I told you so” taglines make adulthood miserable. To take charge, a young adult needs to create an environment where mistakes are not taboos, rather treated as great opportunities to learn.
You can start off by keeping notes of all the stories your parents/ grandparents share about their childhood and teenage years. Note how their mistakes from youth have made them who they are today. Use those points to open the conversation with them. This is a two-way path to walk on, so whenever the parents make a mistake, you need to be mature and let them learn as well.
5. Love for your parents: The most important of all perhaps is to let your parents know that you love them and appreciate them, regardless of the many differences that you may have. Celebrating special days or simply making them a cup of tea — choose your best way of letting them know and continue to do so as often as possible. This enables the young adult to maintain an open relationship of appreciation and trust with parents and sets perfect ground for open minded discussions.