The relationship between parents and children requires a delicate balance. Through the course of a lifetime, roles can change dramatically. This can sometimes be a source of stress for everyone involved. It is not uncommon for adult children to lose the connection to their parents as they grow up and are no longer dependent on them for all of their needs. But having a good relationship with your parents is important throughout your life.
This shift can become even more prominent when a parent enters a new phase of life. Leaving the home they may have known for years and having to coordinate calls and visits can change things for everyone in the family. However, every effort should be made to keep your relationship with your parents strong. The expert team at Sunshine Retirement Living has put together the following tips to help you reconnect and have a better relationship with your parents in senior living:
It is difficult to change the dynamic of the parent/child relationship as children grow into adults and parents age. However, preventing the relationship from evolving can have a stifling effect on it. For your parents to begin seeing you as an adult, you must act like an adult when you are with them. One way to make sure you are treating your parents like adults is to ask yourself if you would treat a friend or acquaintance differently in the same situation. If the answer is “yes,” you are on the right track. If the answer is “no,” change your actions accordingly.
As an adult child of your parents, it is easy to become frustrated when you deal with aging and the changes that come with it. Keeping your sense of humor can relieve the stress for you and them. Try to find the humor in everyday actions as well as more uncommon issues that crop up. Have an arsenal of jokes at the ready so you can tell one whenever a situation needs a little levity.
Be honest with your parents, even when their actions drive you crazy can help to improve your relationship with your parents. If you keep your negative feelings bottled up, they can quickly begin to cause feelings of resentment, which can be damaging to the relationship. Communicate your feelings gently and with respect.
Even though you are grown and on your own, you still need your parents. Mom might no longer be cooking your meals or doing your laundry, and dad might no longer be the guy who fixes your car. But, there are still plenty of ways for your parents to help you out. For example, your mom might be your go-to babysitter (which, of course, she’ll do free of charge), or your dad might give you a ride to and from work when your car is in the shop. Even if you don’t rely on your parents for much of anything, your mom will still bake your favorite cookies when you come home to visit. Whether their help is monumental or strictly an unasked-for act of kindness, it is important to let them know you appreciate their help and kindness.
Chances are you share mutual interests with your parents. They are the ones who taught you about your hobbies and your favorite sports teams. Spend time with your parents reminiscing about old times when you shared those interests. Then, make time to create new memories by renewing your interest in these activities. Also, spend some time talking to your parents to discover if you have any new shared interests that you did not have when you were growing up.
The parent/child dynamic is slow to change. As we grow up and become adults, we require less nurturing from our parents. However, it can often be difficult to break those ties. Monitor your own behavior and make sure you do not depend on your parents to solve all of your problems. Although your parents will always be there for whatever you need, there are times when their own needs need to be a priority in their life. Even as our parents age and begin to need more assistance, it is important to refrain from treating them like children and allowing them the independence to complete daily tasks on their own.
Despite the fact that your parents raised you, there are likely some distinct and specific ways that you are different from them. Part of growing up is separating from your parents and developing your own opinions and ideas. The areas in which you do not agree with your parents can often be sticky subjects that cause trouble when they are mentioned. However, part of being an adult and having a healthy relationship with your parents is to acknowledge these differences and that both your opinions and theirs are valid and okay.
Keep your relationship with your parents strong and healthy. The adult relationship you have with your parents can be one of the most significant relationships of your life. Take steps to care for and improve your relationship with your parents. Cultivate it with the respect that it deserves.
At Sunshine Retirement Living, we ensure that our residents maintain strong family and social relationships through our planned activities and ongoing support. To learn more about our independent living, transitional assisted living, and memory care communities, reach out to our friendly team today.
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