Some parents are easier to deal with than others.
And, some are not.
If you feel like your older parents are overwhelming and demanding, read on.
Here are 6 tips for caring for difficult parents when you’re acting as their caregiver:
1. Set Boundaries
Physical, emotional, verbal- these are all boundaries that need to be set. Demanding parents often overshare, and this makes it hard for adult children to live their own lives. Set boundaries by politely, but firmly stating what you need. If something is too much for you to hear, it’s important to speak up and let your parents know. Your parents may taken aback at first, but they’ll soon come to respect and understand your needs as well.
2. Know Where Your Emotions End and their Start
In the same vein as boundary setting- it’s extremely important to draw a clear distinction between what you’re feeling and what your parents are feeling. They may not do it purposefully, but demanding parents often have a way of pushing their emotions onto their children. And, carrying the weight of another person’s emotions is no easy task. That’s why it’s crucial to understand what you’re feeling vs. what your parents are feeling.
If this is something you struggle with, make sure you take time to sort through your emotions and understand where they’re coming from.
3. Get Outside Help When You Need It
You may not always know the right answer or the right way to handle a family argument. And, that’s alright. The best thing you can do in moments like these is to get outside help. Whether from friends, other family members, or from professional home care aides- look for help when you need it.
4. Make a Schedule and Stick to It
When your parents are constantly calling you for this or that, it can feel hectic and overwhelming. Keep things calm, by keeping to a schedule. Let your parents know exactly when you’re available to come over and when you’re available to talk on the phone. This will give your parents a sense of continuity, and will hopefully deter them from calling on a whim. Having a schedule will also help you better balance out your week, so you can find more time for the things that make you happy.
5. Continue to Speak Respectively
No matter the argument, it’s important to always remember to speak respectively. At the end of the day, demanding or not, these are still your parents. And, parents deserve respect. By upholding this principle, you’ll be able to walk away from any familial argument or dispute feeling good about yourself and the choices you made. When you look back at it, you’ll be happy to remember that you always treated your parents respectfully and kindly.
6. Plan Something Fun Together
If you find yourself getting frustrated and angry with your parents, it might be time to plan something fun. One of the most important things to get you through the struggles of dealing with demanding parents, is remembering why you’re caregiving in the first place. And, the answer to that is because you love your parents. Because, your parents raised you all those years, taught you everything they knew, gave you every opportunity they could afford, and now it’s your turn to give back to them. Plan something fun with your aging parents every now and then to remind yourself of the good times you have with them, and of how much you cherish them.