Conversing with my parents

uriahskyAugust 30, 2007


I am 46 year old male and I don't think I have ever? had a deep personal conversation or relationship with my parents. I am way closer to some friends that I rarely see and know.

Over the last 10 years I have been trying to develop a positive relationship with my parents and talk to them in a closer way. But nothing seems to work.

When ever we talk all of our conversations consist of the following four questions. (They live 10 hours away)

When they call they ask me. 1. How am I. 2. How is the weather. 3. What is the price of gas. 4. How my car is running.

Once those questions are asked and answered both ways. My Dad says, "Your Mom wants to talk to you" And She says "Well there is nothing going on around here" and the conversation winds to an end.

Now I have tried everything. Remember this is over a lifetime. I don't want to fill in all of the details or it will go on for pages. But most of ideas that quickly pop into your mind I have tried.

I am ready to just give up and answer the questions and never really know these people. But if there is some way to make contact I want to do it, before it is too late.

Any helpful ideas or experience with this kind of situation?

Thanks very much

Mr. Uriah sky

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I can't help you, except to say some people just don't talk except as a means to an end, do you need gas, what do you want for supper. when my friend's children got married in the same summer, she almost had a nervous breakdown from loneliness. Her husband was there in the house, he just didn't do idle chit chat, never anything personal. When you are with your parents, observe them and see what they say to each other. Maybe your parents just don't talk. It doesn't mean they don't love you. I don't know for sure, but I think these kinds of people are also, stand offish, few hugs, little affection. Are you talkative with your friends and co workers? Quite often children have the same characteristics.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 6:38PM
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My parents never "talked" either. I can't remember a meaningful dinner table conversation. My poor mother always said that a family had to communicate - unfortunately, "communicate" to her meant to talk about what the neighbor's cats did that day. If you ever tried to talk to her about something important that was going on in your life, it was always met with negativity and blame.

My one thought is have you ever asked them to tell you about their childhood and their growing up years. That might pull them out.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 7:37PM
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I would call them with a question...
Do you have a sister? Kids? s Dog? Something that you need to ask about.
I suspect you are no better at "communicating" than they are.
Linda C

    Bookmark   August 30, 2007 at 9:22PM
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Do you have any kids? That's always something to talk about. And I really like the idea of asking them about their childhoods, or about yours, for that matter. Some of our best conversations have been when I've asked my parents to tell my children about something that happened a long time ago.

Along a similar vein -- Since you're 46, it's possible your parents are getting up there and may be coming to terms with their own mortality. If you're interested, you could tell them that you're trying to write down some informal family history to pass along to future generations, and what could they tell you about ___.

Both of my parents wrote their memoires several years ago, and they're wonderful reads! I can hear both of their voices so clearly...

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 2:00PM
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I think the questions first have to come from you. I like the idea of asking them about their childhood. You could tell them that you read something and ask if they remember it. I also have a very hard time talking to my father, it was fine with my mom when she was alive. I know way more about her life than my father's. Also, if either has siblings you could talk to them about their childhoods so you have something to ask your parents about. It's a thougt. It may never get any better but I hope it does.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 8:42PM
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Hi there Mr U Sky

Its a curious situation you are in. I am the same age as you, and I can understand your predicament.

I think I had the same problem with my parents, at the end of my mum's life, I used to visit, and we would talk about the same things each time ! I think older people like to talk about their past, so I think if you embark on a project of asking them about their childhood etc etc, you would be achieving two things.

I also used to wonder if my mother just was not capable of understanding what was happening in my life, so in the end I just did not bother talking about the details. I really felt my visits where just about making her happy, and talking about only a few topics that brought a smile to her face.

You would be opening up a plethora of conversational topics, and you would have it all documented, so 20 years down the track, you would always know the answer to questions that will come up. Its really nice to know the family history like that, especially if you have children who want to know.

I think you are a real champion thinking about all this, and trying to improve communication with your parents. Its shows you are a caring person.

Let us know how you get on.


    Bookmark   August 31, 2007 at 10:05PM
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When you live so far away I can see how your parents find it difficult to communicate. You are not part of their lives anymore, it is difficult to have a meaningful relationship when there is such a distance between you. They don't know any of your friends, what you do day to day.

Unfortunately this happens when children decide to move away from home and start a life elsewhere, they lose contact with their relatives.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2007 at 6:50AM
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If you are interested at all in your genealogy, you may want to get them to talk about that. It is very interesting and it is something that you may wish you brought up while they were alive - once they are gone.

Make sure you write it down though. I did and I am now the family historian since I was the only one to have the foresight to have done this. Now with the help of the Internet. genealogy sites, your public library, etc. I have traced the ancestries of most of our family lines to the 1700-1800s and am in contact with many distant relatives across the country.

The older folks love to talk about their ancestry that's for sure.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2007 at 2:32PM
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I am guilty of that with my grown kids. I am not a good conversationalist, can never think of anything to say.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 11:53AM
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I am feeling just a little "slammed" daughter is 48 and my son 46....and I do believe they would both say there is no communication problem...but for the fact that sometimes I neglect to tell one or the other when I will be taking a trip.
You know communication is a 2 way talk they reply and vice-versa.
Call and ask...
"Mom? Do you remember that summer when we went to Lake Whatsis? Who were those people we met at the boat ramp? The ones with the 3 kids? I was trying to think and couldn't remember."
Ask them something that needs a reply!
Linda C.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 7:25PM
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I have the opposite problem. I wish I were YOUR Mum. I'd be so happy you even cared to talk to me! My son is ALWAYS here for me in an emergency, but ya have to be ill or it's Christmas to get a visit. I am so proud of the man he has become and I love my DIL to the moon. I am in no way intrusive in their lives....however, I look around me and am jealous of my friends whose sons drop in once a week or call occasionally just to check in. Keep saying "Hello In There" to them....maybe they are simply trying not to make you think they are being too personal?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:21PM
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