Raising children in today’s climate is not an easy task. When you add the care of aging parents, it can be overwhelming. While this is a challenging season, investing yourself fully is absolutely worth it. These tips can help:
When your Parents are still Mentally and Physically Capable
- CONNECTING THE GENERATIONS. Create opportunities for your parents and kids to spend time together. Elderly people have a tremendous amount of wisdom to share. There will be a day when your parents cannot answer questions or tell any more stories. Now is the time.
- RECORD STORIES. Videotape your parents sharing stories with your children so the stories can be passed down with passion and detail.
- LEARN. Your parents are now experiencing the rewards and/or regrets of their hard work and choices. Let them share. Be open to learning something from them. You will likely have similar ah-ha moments as you get older, and will want your kids to learn from your wisdom as well.
- CHILDHOOD MEMORIES/CLOSURE. Your parents may or may not have given you what you wanted/needed as a child. This is a good time to ask questions (without judgment), share what hurt you, thank them for the gifts, and forgive what needs to be forgiven. Your parents likely did the best they could with what they had.
When your Parents are Slowing Down Mentally and/or Physically
- PRIORITIZE. Just as your priorities changed when you had children, your priorities and time management will need to adjust to fit your parents in. Choose what stays on your plate so the people you care about don’t accidentally fall off.
- SEASONS. Remember this is only a season and you will never get it back. Be wise and loving in your choices. Show your children how to love and respect their elders. It is something we are losing in our culture and it is extremely important that we get it back.
- THEY HAD A LIFE. Your parents were kids, teens, had a first date, job, got in trouble, had goals and lived! That person is still in there. Treat them as a person who has lived, loved and played. Feel empathy as they lose the ability to care for themselves. They need your love, time and attention as this season of their life comes to a close.
- ANGER. You may feel angry having to care for your parents. Maybe they were not there when you needed them. Be willing to love them anyway. This shows your children what unconditional love is.
- SELF-CARE (physical and emotional). The two main reasons to take good care of yourself in this season: (1) you’ll need energy and a clear head; and (2) you are teaching your children how to do this when they are in your shoes.
- SUPPORT. There will be times when you need outside support for your children and/or parents. Get the support you need before you are empty. You don’t know how long each season will last.
- ELDER CARE AND CHILDCARE SERVICES. Choose wisely and do not accept care for your children or parents that is less than loving and kind. It matters!
- GRIEVING. It’s not easy to see your parents like this. Allow yourself to grieve and feel your feelings. Don’t hide it from your parents or your children. Work through this as a family.
Life is about love … from your first breath to your last. How you treat your children as they grow up and your parents as they grow old will directly impact your family and this world. If you want a better world, it starts today and it starts with loving your children and your parents right where they are.
Traci L. Williams is the Founder of A Loving Way to Parent. She is known for her intuitive and practical approach to parenting. She can be reached directly at 951-240-1407 (text or call) or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. www.alovingway.com