Family: can’t live with them, can’t live without them. Although the people in our family can often be the people who frustrate us most, in life, they are also usually the people we can depend on most. No matter what happens in the rest of your life, family is supposed to be the sanctuary that you can return to; a place where we are unconditionally loved. However, many people, especially younger adults, have a tendency to overlook the ways that their actions hurt their own family. Here some of the ways that you may be hurting your family without realizing it…
Ignoring their advice
Our elders may not be right about everything. After all, the nuances of the world continue to change, and the challenges faced by young folks today have inherent differences from the challenges of young folks even just a decade ago. Regardless, though, it would be foolish to overlook the fact that the years of experience in success and failure that our parents and other family members have gives them a certain perspective on things. Completely ignoring this experience when they try to share it with us is arrogant, and even hurtful to the people who just want to see us do well.
Engaging in self-destructive behavior
This is, perhaps, the largest way that we cause pain to our own family. As many people come of age and enter adulthood, the independence we find ourselves living in presents itself as a double edged sword. While it is a crucial aspect of growing up, many young people have a tendency of pushing this newfound independence to extremes, and engage in inherently self-destructive behavior. This is the reason that so many young adults binge drink, excessively. Of course, this also includes much harder substances than alcohol. Indeed, the culture today almost glorifies this type of behavior, as it has become romanticized in a way that is unhealthy.
Behavior like this hurts our family because it can be so painful to see somebody that you love engage in a pattern that is self-destructive. We don’t like to see members in our family suffer, and doing so will evoke a painful feeling from within. On top of this, young adults have reached a point in their lives where they are role models to younger kids within their own family. This is important, because self-destructive behavior, such as substance abuse, is often fostered at home, rather than at school, in young people (here’s an article about that particular subject, here).
Lacking communication with them
After we have grown up and flown the coop, it doesn’t mean that our connection with our family is severed. Having an open line of communication with family members is important for fostering healthy relationships that will last. When your family feels like they are cut out of your life, it will only serve to perpetuate a feeling of alienation for them, as well as yourself. When you leave home, make sure to call your family every now and then. Let them know how you are doing. Let them see the challenges you are dealing with, as well as all of the great things you have going on. Later on, you’ll be glad you fostered these relationships!
Depending on them too heavily
While cutting your family out of your life will cause an extreme amount of pain, there is a reverse side of the coin that can be harmful, as well. Depending too much on your family means that you aren’t developing into a sustainable, self-dependent adult. Needing to borrow money all the time and leaning too much on your family for every little thing in your life does not lend itself to confidence that you will be able to function later on. A situation like this can boil over to a point when they will feel like they have to push you out of the nest so that you can learn to fly on your own, and it will not be a pleasurable experience for either party.