Our parents work hard so that they can give us the best of everything. But at times we act ungrateful and sometimes even downright hurtful without really meaning to. We often forget to appreciate them for all that they have sacrificed for us. We need something to shake us up to really understand how much they do for us.
For me, it happened when I moved out of my parents’ house a few years ago. It felt like a huge accomplishment back then. I will be lying if I say I wasn’t ecstatic. Who wouldn’t be? No more pressure, no more lectures, total independence. I had anticipated everything to be exciting. But one thing that I had not anticipated was, that I’ll miss all those things that I was excited to leave behind.
I thought that after I moved out, my parents and I will lose the daily connection. The second-by-second download of each other’s day. I worried that we might talk and meet regularly but become distant emotionally. I am glad to say that I was wrong. Our relationship has never been so fulfilling as it is now. Staying away from my parents has taught me to appreciate them more.
Over the years I’ve formed a very beautiful relationship with my parents. It hasn’t always been easy. It required a few sacrifices and a lot of understanding on both ends but it all worked out in the end. Here are a few things that I’ve come to learn about how to be a better child.
1. We need to be patient with them:
A number of people at our parents’ age are not too tech-savvy. We need to remember that they are the ones who taught us everything, from how to eat to how to read and write. Also, keep in mind that they are keen to learn new things but just aren’t quick learners.
Whenever I used to help my mother for things like creating her Facebook account or talking on WhatsApp, I had very little patience. But now I’ve learned that the more patient we are the faster and better they learn.
And for parents who have earned the right of senior citizens, we need to understand that it’s physically difficult for them to be as active and quick as they were in their early days. We need to empathise with them and need to adapt to their pace when we’re with them.
2. Accept their help
The worst thing for parents at times is to accept the fact that their little baby has grown so much that they don’t need their help anymore. It’s hard enough for them to adjust to the empty nest we need not make it any more difficult by refusing to share our worries and concerns with them. We might feel that it will be a cause of unnecessary stress for them, but in reality, parents enjoy helping their grown children in any way possible, be it emotional, financial or other practical ways. It has an adverse effect on their happiness and helps improve their well-being.
3. Make them feel wanted
As the parents see their children grow up and become independent, earning, making their life, starting a new family they start feeling lonely. After many years of being busy with their child and it suddenly hits them that they aren’t needed anymore. They start being consumed in self-pity and this feeling of dissatisfaction and uselessness. This can have a very negative impact on their physical, mental and emotional health.
The best thing that we can do is, make sure that they never feel lonely. Especially on important days, such as our birthdays. They might not show it but they are excited as much as you are if not more so to celebrate any happy event in your life. Giving them a handmade birthday card on their birthday as you used to when you were a kid will make their year.
4. Don’t try to parent your parents
One mistake that most of us tend to make is that we try to parent our parents. Agreed, as the age sets in, our parents require our help in a few things like managing their groceries or filling out their forms. But that doesn’t mean that they are totally dependent and they cannot take care of themselves in other aspects of life. Let not the one or two things that your parents require your help with end up in you controlling their entire life. Doing that takes away their independence and can injure their pride and self-respect. You need to remember that they are the ones who raised you and are perfectly capable of handling themselves, with a little assistance. You need to assist them the same way that they assisted you while you were growing up.
5. Be Happy
Believe it or not, whatever our parents have done for us was ultimately to make us happy. Have you ever noticed the smile on their faces and the pride in their eyes when you accomplish anything? Their faces light up as if they have themselves reached the moon. That is what their happiness looks like. They must have yelled at us, and at times said nasty things even, sometimes would have been strict and not let us go through our amazingly notorious plans. They would have been the villains. But ultimately, they only want us to be happy. Their happiness lies in our happiness.
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