Tips to stay close to your parents as you age

You love your parents, but, at times, maintaining the bond can be challenging. But with mutual respect and common interests, you may discover a more fulfilling relationship than before. Here are some ways to stay close to your parents as you age.

Tips to stay close to your parents as you age

Think of them as fellow adults

If you act like an adult around your parents, they're more likely to treat you like one. Ask yourself this question: "How would I act in this situation if Mom or Dad was a friend or an acquaintance?" Behave accordingly.

Talk to them as friends

A good start is to model your conversations with them on those you have with friends. There's a whole wide world out there — explore it with your parents as you would with a friend. Current events, sports, work, local neighbourhood issues are all fair game.

Keep your sense of humour

  • When you're dealing with your parents, laughter can be a lifesaver.
  • Tell a few jokes you know they'll enjoy, share funny stories from the newspaper, watch a comedy together. If you can laugh together, you're doing fine.

Tell them what bothers you

  • Don't seethe silently. Communicate, with gentleness and respect.
  • For instance, if your mom keeps calling you at work, tell her it's beginning to affect your job performance. Arrange a call at a mutually convenient time.

Don't ask for advice unless you want it

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.

Don't ask them to bail you out

While you may depend on their emotional support, relying too much upon their resources, can lead to mutual resentment. Solve your problems, big or small, on your own.

Explore memories together

  • Look through their photo albums with them, asking them to tell you about the people in the photos.
  • Encourage them to talk about their accomplishments, the high points, the low ones, their joys and sorrows.

Help them preserve their memories

Whether on film, CD or in a scrapbook, the finished product will not only be a testament to a renewed closeness between you, but also provides a wonderful legacy.

Express your 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.

Share mutual interests

  • Did you and your dad share a passion for a particular hockey team? Did you and your mom spend time each summer making jam?
  • Make these happy memories the foundation for new, shared activities.

Be honest about who you are

  • Maybe there are things about the way you turned out that your parents regret. But as long as you don't regret anything, they'll have to adjust.
  • Be clear about who you want to be and help your parents to accept you as you are.

Grant them their independence, too

  • Sometimes it's the grown-up child who doesn't want to cut off the nurturing relationship.
  • If you still find it necessary to talk to your mom every night, or immediately turn to your dad for a house repair rather than your spouse, or automatically assume your parents will babysit the children whenever you need to go out, you may be the problem, not your parents. They deserve freedom, too.
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