I Feel Like I've Broken My Parents' Hearts

Family relationships can be difficult, especially when you are struggling to figure out your way as a young adult. I’ve had people come to me after they’ve made choices, they regret concerned about their parent relationships. They wonder, have I broken my parents’ hearts?

I hurt with you if you are wondering whether you’ve caused your parent's heartbreak. But I don’t want you to lose hope. There is hope for healing parent relationships, and there are steps you can take to reconnect with your parents if you feel you’ve disappointed them.

Focus on Responsibility (Not Shame)

When I’ve let someone, I love down, it’s easy for me to sink into feelings of shame. Maybe you’ve struggled with this after upsetting your parents. But shame can feel like a sinkhole. And it can get us stuck.

What helps me is to focus on responsibility. I can’t be responsible for someone else’s responses, their feelings about me, or how active they choose to be in a relationship with me.

What I can do is choose how I act, what I say, and how I decide to love that person every day.

The only thing you have control over when it comes to mending a relationship with your parents is your behavior and your thoughts and feelings towards them. As you make efforts to make amends and keep things positive, you may notice the relationship with your parents starting to heal.

Express Your Feelings

Telling your parents how you feel is an important part of the healing process for all of you. Tell them what you’ve been feeling about your relationship with them, and how you are willing to work on making things better. If you’re not sure how to improve things, you can always ask. It may help to say things like:

  • I’m sorry I’ve hurt you. What can I do to make things better?
  • Can I help you around the house this week? I’ve noticed you’re having a stressful time.
  • I think I need help getting things on track. Would you support me reaching out to a counselor or mentor?

Hopefully your parents will recognize your efforts and support you in your growth and healing. That, in turn, can strengthen and heal your relationship over time.

If you still share a home with your parents, volunteering your time to help out at home, help them run errands, or helping take care of a younger sibling would likely mean a lot to them. You can also suggest spending quality time together. Sharing a meal, or watching a favorite movie together, is a great way to do that.

Remember You are Loved

When parent relationships are strained, it’s easy to feel alone or abandoned. But the truth is, you are loved. God loves you unconditionally and is always there to help you through even the most difficult seasons of your life. You have friends and other family members you can reach out to. And you can find a sense of connection and community at school, at your place of worship, or in a support group. Focusing on building other relationships may help you take some of the strain off a challenging relationship with your parents.

If you need extra encouragement, we are here to help. Chat with a HopeCoach from TheHopeLine for suggestions to strengthen and heal parent relationships. We are here for you, and we believe there is always hope for things to get better.

Are you having a problem with forgiving your parents? Read my blog on how God's love can help us forgive someone that has hurt us. 

Dawson McAllister
Dawson McAllister, also known as America's youth pastor, was an author, radio host, speaker, and founder of TheHopeLine. McAllister attended Bethel College in Minnesota for undergraduate work where he graduated in 1968, began graduate studies at Talbot School of Theology in California, and received an honorary doctorate from Biola University.
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