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How To Improve Relationship With Your Aging Parents

How To Improve Relationship With Your Aging Parents

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If your parents still treat you like a child even when you are a parent yourself, it can be a tad irritating.


And, as we age, we all face new challenges retirement or career changes, health issues, worries about the future.


Part of that evolution means adjusting to a ‘new’ relationship, between mature adults rather than between ‘parent’ and ‘child’.


So how do we deal with this evolving relationship with our parents when both parties are ‘adults’ ?


Create Opportunities For Reliving Old Times

If your parents are older, look through their photo albums with them, asking them for stories about the people in the photos.


You can help your parents to discover the meaning in their lives by encouraging them to talk about their accomplishments, the high points, and their joys and sorrows.


Rediscover And Share Mutual Interests

When you were a child, did you and your dad share a passion for a particular football team?


Did you and your mum spend time each summer making jam? Make these happy memories the foundation for new, shared activities.


Keep Your Sense Of Humour

When you’re dealing with your parents, laughter can be a lifesaver – both to help you to handle the stress of dealing with sometimes crotchety individuals and to help you to bond together.


Tell a few jokes you know they’ll enjoy, share some cartoons trom the paper, watch a comedy program together.


If you can laugh together, you’re doing OK.


Express Appreciation

Yes, they may do things that annoy you, but they also come to your rescue when you need help.


The point is, your parents still do things for you that deserve your notice and your gratitude.


Be Honest About Who You Are And What You Want

Maybe there are things about the way you grew up that your parents regret.


But as long as you don’t regret anything, they have to adjust.


Be clear about who you want to be and help your parents to accept you as you are.


Talk To Your Parents As Friends

If your parents still treat you as though you’re 6 or 16, it may feel funny to give up your role as the child.


A good start is to model your conversations with them on those you have with friends.


Don’t limit your chats strictly to family memories, or gossip about family members or your personal life.


There’s a whole wide world out there – why not explore it with your mum and dad as you would with a friend?


Current events, sports, work, local neighbourhood issues or politics (if you happen to share the same views, if not, it’s best to stay clear 😉 ) are all fair your parents to accept you as you are.


Don’t Ask Your Parents To Bail You Out Of A Financial Crisis

While you may depend on their emotional support, relying too much upon their resources, rather than your own, can lead to mutual resentment.


So get used to solving your problems on your own. You’ll be amazed how good doing it all by yourself can make you and them feel.


Don’t Ask Your Parents’ Advice Or Opinion

Sometimes, asking for a parent’s advice is really a way of asking for approval.


If so, remember that you’re an adult now, perfectly capable of choosing a living room carpet or a car on your own.


If your parents are bent on offering you advice whether asked for or not, smile, nod and take it in.


Then, make your own choice without guilt.


Grant Them Their Own Independence

Sometimes it’s the grown-up child who doesn’t want to cut off the nurturing relationship.


If you are older than 25 and still find it necessary to talk to your mother every night, or immediately turn to your father for a house repair rather than your partner, or automatically assume your parents will look after the children whenever you need to go out, then you may be the problem, not your parents.


They deserve freedom too!


Tell Your Parents What Bothers You

If you love your parents but they drive you mad, your resentment can eat away at your relationship. Don’t seethe silently.


Communicate, with gentleness and respect. So if your mother keeps ringing you at work, tell her that your boss is starting to notice and, while you love talking to her during the day, it’s affecting how well you do your job.


Then, offer arrange a call at a mutually convenient time.

Lotep Bandhoo

Lotep Bandhoo has a Masters in Counselling Psychology from Tribhuvan University, working in the field of mental health specialising in trauma management, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis, stress, relationship challenges, domestic violence, substance abuse rehabilitation. An avid photographer, he writes articles exploring mindfulness, personal realisation in self-identity, growth, goals, purpose, and leading a meaningful and fulfilling life.

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