In theory, we all know that our parents want only the best for us. They have our best interest at heart, and they will do whatever is in their power to make us happy.
In reality, it is hard to remember this concept. There are many times when our beliefs and wants clash with that of our parents’. While there are many children who have good relationships with their parents, there are just as many who don’t. And even those who are in the former group have their fair share of disagreements.
Bearing our parents’ perspective in mind, perhaps we need to reflect on how we affect them. Do we make them happy? Do we treat them the way we expect to be treated?
In spite of all our differences, perhaps there are compromises to be made, and we can become better at our roles. With Father’s Day coming up, what better time to think about this?
Here are some ways to become a better son or daughter.
How to become a better son or daughter
1. Call your parents
This is such a simple thing and comes naturally to some, but for others (like me), I rarely do it. When my mom was still alive, she would text me every single night to say good night. No fail.
It used to annoy me a bit. I was in my 30s, and she still did that! Now, I kind of miss it.
I suppose it’s the same with calling now and then just because.
More than calling your parents, talk to them. Tell them what’s going on in your life, and ask them what’s going with them as well. If you get into an argument, so be it. Let them know what’s on your mind and perhaps call them back when things settle down.
3. Spend time with them
No doubt you live a busy life. You barely have time for a vacation. How can you make time to visit your parents or do something with them? This is especially true if they live hours from the city.
But, think about the last time you paid them a visit. Think about how they reacted, how they looked when they saw you get out of the car.
It may not always be convenient, but pay them a visit now and then. You may actually enjoy it.
4. Include them when making big decisions
If you’ve been doing things your own way for most of your adult life, it may seem silly to involve your parents in making decisions about your life. Why would they care if you’re about to buy a condo, a car, or a house? Would it matter if you discussed changing jobs with them?
It may not matter to you, but I guarantee that your parents will be more than happy to be involved. And again, we go back to the maxim that parents know best. Well, maybe they don’t always know best, but they sure know more than we give them credit for. (I’ve said “I wish I had listened to mom” more times than I wanted to in the past few years…)
5. Give them gifts they’ll enjoy
This is something I never struggled with because my love language is giving, but if you’re not the type who pays a lot of attention to gift-giving, try it. Even if you may not care much for receiving gifts, your parents will appreciate receiving something from you. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or expensive. As long as you know it means something to them, you’ll be making your parents happy.
6. Accept help if it’s offered
From another perspective, if your parents offer help, accept it. You may not want to for one reason or another – pride, perhaps – but they’re your parents. They want to help. Give them that chance.
7. Don’t tell them what to do
As our parents grow older, it seems that the need for us to have a degree of control over them increases. This is one of my issues, especially since my mom passed. My dad has been traveling all over the place, expanding his business, and doing all sorts of things I am not sure are good ideas. So, I end up telling him he probably shouldn’t do this or that.
When I visit and he’s not home, I call him and ask him where is, or if he’s about to go out, I ask him where he’s going. Yeah…I’m turning into my mom.
The thing is, they may be getting old but that doesn’t mean we ought to take control of their lives. They still have their own lives and they should be accountable for what they do.
8. Show respect
Not telling our parents what to do is a way to show respect. We may be adults but that doesn’t mean we should forget the respect we accorded our parents when we still lived under their roof. This will never change.
9. Be patient
This may very well be one of most difficult things to do. We can’t ignore it, many people in their senior years can become ornery. They can become nags. Additionally, they can be so slow – literally and figuratively. They can tax one’s patience to the max.
There’s really only one thing to do out of respect: be patient. They were patient with us when we were kids.
10. Take care of yourself
One of the best gifts you can give your parents is to take care of yourself. They are your number one fans. They worry about you. If you take care of yourself and they know it, they’ll be happy – both for themselves and for you.
BONUS: Say I love you
Some families are the “I love you types”, others feel awkward saying these four words. My family belongs to the first group, and it wasn’t still several years back that we were able to say it to each other. Even today, it still sometimes feels a little awkward, but it sure makes a difference. A good one.
There is no law that we should give back to our parents when we become adults, but there is also no law that says we shouldn’t make an effort to become better a better son or daughter. It may feel weird in the beginning, but you’ll never regret it.
How do you think you can become a better son or daughter?