Sit at the Grown-Ups' Table
Make this the year you finally establish an adult relationship with your parents—no regressing.
There is a magical place that reverses almost every sign of aging. It's your parents' house, and chances are good that with the holidays coming up, you'll soon be experiencing its power firsthand.
Outside your childhood home, you are an independent grown-up with a job, possibly a 401(k), and vague concerns about taking vitamins. Inside, you are still a cranky teenager. "I found myself stomping up the stairs, slamming the bedroom door, and screaming, 'You don't understand!'" says Ana P., from Portland, Oregon, describing a recent fight she had with her dad. "It was ridiculous. I thought, 'I am 30 years old; I'm married; I manage a half-a-million-dollar budget at my job,'" she says. "How did this happen?"
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It happens to the best of us. "A smell, a sound, or the way your parents talk to you" can trigger a memory that brings out your angry inner 14-year-old, says Janet Taylor, MD, a psychiatrist in New York City. "Especially during the holidays, it's easy to fall back into expected roles," she says. Forget finding the right career, apartment, or mate: Establishing a mature relationship with your parents is one of the biggest hurdles of your 20s and 30s. Your mom and dad realize you're an adult, but they also remember when you were an infant whose poop they had to deal with. You're the one who has changed, so it's your job to show them that these days you can handle your own (metaphorical) poop. Follow this handy advice.
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