It is an amazing feeling to know that you are protected, safe and cared for. Fathers and mothers thrive on ensuring their kids are surrounded within the comfort of recognizing their needs will be met, giving the safety net that permits them the confidence to explore the world around them. Yet there comes a stage in all children’s lives when the longing for freedom exceeds the benefit of protection, and they have to discover exactly what it means to stumble, fall and get back up again on their own.
These protective instincts often activate once again for adult children towards aging parents. We would like to help them minimize risks, to keep them protected from harm. However at the same time, it’s very easy to fall into a pattern of overprotectiveness if we’re not careful, which can result in feelings of anger along with resentment on the part of the senior parents.
As stated by professor of human development and family studies at Pennsylvania State University, “One of the scariest things to people as they age is that they don’t feel in control anymore. So if you tell your dad not to go out and shovel snow, you assume that he’ll listen. It’s the sensible thing. But his response will be to go out and shovel away … It’s a way of holding on to a life that seems to be slipping back.”
Research recently investigated the effect of stubbornness in aging parents’ relationships with their adult children. Although the elders were less likely to rate themselves as acting stubborn, their younger loved ones more regularly mentioned stubbornness as an issue. The important thing for adult children is in understanding their parents’ reason for digging in their heels to hold onto their independence and autonomy, and to refrain from quarrelling and generating an attitude of defensiveness. Clear, open and honest communication between both sides can go far towards smoothing the waters and ensuring that each person is heard and fully understood.
So what is the easiest method to look after our aging parents without attempting to control them? A good dosage of patience, respect and empathy can go a long way. Positioning yourself within the senior’s shoes and understanding the desire for self-sufficiency allows for adult children to step back, as opposed to stepping in. Allow the extra time an older adult needs to complete a task, rather than doing the work for the senior. Consistently look for opportunities to show the senior you value his or her suggestions and guidance. For further tips on offering care that doesn’t cross the line, contact the Georgia home care experts at Regency Home Care by calling (678) 999-2446.