I just witnessed a verbal match erupt between my 50-year-old father and his mother who is 70 years old. My dad found out that grandma goes out every day at four o’clock in the morning to go to an alternative medicine center that’s 30 minutes away from her house. It should be okay because she has friends there, but she also has been commuting on her own, keeping it a secret from all her children, which is what worries everyone.
My grandmother, on the other hand, accepted that it was indeed a crazy behavior on her part. What she could not take, though, was how she got “reprimanded like a kid” by her son. So they stopped talking to each other for a week or so until my dad finally went to her home to apologize and patch things up between them.
Although all is well now in my family – and grandma only leaves her house when the sun is up – it is a typical representation of what happens when a child and parent switch roles later in life. The minder is suddenly the former, and the latter is supposed to listen because the adult son or daughter should know better. “Underscoring this task and coloring most of these factors is the emotional reality that caring for an aging parent is a psychological journey,” shares Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., ABPP.
What the kids often forget, unfortunately, is that elderlies become more sensitive by the day. You need to practice caution, primarily when you want to correct their ways without saddening or making them angry. Otherwise, both of you might drop words you can’t take back and ruin your relationship.
In case you don’t understand the psychology of senior citizens, allows us to tell you the things that elderly parents want from their kids. According to Rick Nauert PhD, “Emerging studies have shown that both adult children and their aging parents identify stubbornness in the parents as a significant issue.”
No matter how your salary goes to your old mom or dad’s needs, you do not have the entitlement to talk back to them at any age. You may be a boss at your office, your word may be the law in your home, but you will always be the child whom they raised and helped to get where you are now. So, please stay respectful to your parents. Steven Zarit, Ph.D.,distinguished professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, explains that “elders struggle for independence as they try to maintain the life they had and the people they were.”
The elders have given you the means to reach your dreams, and they are the first individuals to cheer you on as you conquer the world. But regardless of the places you need to go to or the people you have to meet, it is only proper to spend a few hours with your mother and father once a week. While they may not burden you with calls and texts, they undoubtedly want to see their kid from time to time.
Considering you are often in their case, however, you need to take one step back a little. As much as parents appreciate your concern to them, it can boost their confidence and physical strength to know that they can do some things without anyone’s help. It may be better, therefore, to solely lend a hand in situations wherein the seniors may undeniably require assistance, namely fixing a leak on the ceiling, driving for hundreds of miles, et cetera.
Of course, your parents want to receive love from their dearest sons and daughters too. Despite how busy your days may be, it will not hurt to show small signs of affection to them. Say, take the elders out to their favorite restaurant or find the tools they can use for their hobbies.
More than the money you can provide for their financial needs, your senior parents want to gain your respect, time, love, and trust that their old age does not entail that they cannot do anything useful in life. If life is difficult for you now that you are in the workforce, it can also be a challenge for elderlies who cannot get a job and have to rely on you and the government to continue living. Thus, let’s treat our aging parents more kindly than ever.