This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
No child grows up in a vacuum. Whether directly or indirectly, parents and caregivers influence the values and beliefs of their children. Your parents, for example, may have taught you directly what they believed was right or wrong. They may have also set an example for you on how to interact with others. What you learn from your parents and how you interact with them during childhood has a major impact on your own moral development.
However, what if the values your parents instilled no longer match who you are as an adult?
It is very common for children to grow up and develop different moral values and views than those of their parents. You might disagree with your parents on politics and religion. You may also have a different view on what a healthy family is.
No matter the specific disagreements, getting along with your parents when you don’t share the same values can be challenging. Yet, it is possible to have a meaningful relationship with your family, and attending a relationship building skills workshop can be of great help in that. Keep on reading to find out how family can shape your values and what you can do if you don’t share their morals.
How Does Your Family Affect Your Values?
Your family can mold your personality and values in a variety of subtle and direct ways. From teaching you what’s good and bad, right and wrong, to helping you develop relationships with your peers. However, their impact on your values doesn’t necessarily have to be positive or congruent with who you grow up to be. You may find that you no longer agree with your parents on things that matter to you and to them, such as religion, sexuality, or politics.
The problem is, the ways of feeling, thinking, acting, and judging we learn in childhood often stay with us throughout our lives. And even if you try and reject your family’s influence on your values, you’ll often find that it’s harder than it seems. The morals, behaviors, and attitudes acquired in childhood are difficult to shake off, and it’s quite normal to keep reflecting your parents’ ways of thinking and behaving for quite some time.
What If I Don’t Share Values With My Family?
Do you dread family gatherings? The dinner-table discussions that seem to end up in emotional arguments? Or are you tired of getting unsolicited advice from your family members on how you should live your life?
Situations such as these can greatly affect the relationship you have with your family members. Even an innocent conversation can go downhill quickly if one of the more deeply held values is challenged on either side. This can lead to strained relationships, fewer gatherings, or even severing of the relationship if no common ground can be found.
However, do you have to distance yourself from your family if they have different ethical standards? While having different values can put a serious strain on your family relationships, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make an effort to keep things in check. There are ways in which you can overcome the challenge of having different values than your family. However, not all families are the same. For some, their values may be so deeply ingrained and important that they would risk severing ties with their kids or siblings.
How Do You Deal With Parents With Different Values?
If you don’t share all of your values with your parents, it is important to try and separate them as people from their opinions and beliefs. While it may be near impossible to keep your cool in some situations and uncomfortable moments, you can strive to stay calm and avoid personal attacks when trying to maintain a healthy relationship with your loved ones. Here are some tips:
- Start by being honest. Being completely honest with your parents can be scary, no matter your age. Still, being straightforward and open about your values and beliefs can help maintain a relationship built on trust and respect.
- Listen to what your parents and siblings have to say. It might feel impossible to step back and listen when you’re angry. Still, allowing your parents to speak and say their piece and really listening to them can foster mutual respect.
- Try to show them your perspective without trying to change their minds. People get defensive when their values are challenged. This may make them inflexible, judgmental, and unwilling to listen. Try showing them that your intention is not to change their mind, yet simply to share your view.
- Ask them to respect your beliefs. There’s no shame in asking for respect back if you are making an effort to show respect yourself. Ask your family to at least respect your values, even if they disagree with them.
- Consider avoiding some topics altogether. Sometimes, the most effective strategy for minimizing conflict and salvaging relationships is to avoid certain contentious topics completely.
How Do I Overcome My Family’s Values And Create My Own Legacy?
Unfortunately, not all relationships can be saved. Your family’s values, beliefs, and behaviors may be too hurtful or hateful that it might feel impossible to reconcile. While this may be incredibly difficult, it may be better for both parties to maintain some form of distance if mutual respect isn’t possible. This may mean setting strong boundaries or temporarily or permanently severing ties with the family members who are unwilling to nurture a healthy relationship.
Ultimately, your values are your own, and you can work on creating your own legacy without guilt or fear. Appreciate what your family has taught you and provided you with, however, walk your own unique path.
Do You Want To Build Trust In A Relationship? Attend A PIVOT Workshop And Learn How!
In many cases, healthy communication skills and investing effort in building honesty and respect can salvage strained family relationships. At PIVOT, we can help you build trust and respect with your family members without sacrificing your own values. Our individual coaching sessions can give you useful resources on practicing better self-regulation skills and healing your attachment wounds. Contact us now to find out more about our unique relationship building skills workshops and start facilitating positive behavioral change.