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How to help your parents through hard times


It can be confusing and scary to see a parent seriously struggle to cope. Whereas we have been raised to see and value parents as pillars of support and strength, knowledge and guidance, and love and care, the shoe is suddenly on the other foot. Instead of letting your fear getting in the way, embrace your position to help. It’s hard to see parents suffer, it’s even harder to leave them in their suffering.

The problem with pride

Parents aren’t often used to being helped by their children, or furthermore aren’t even open to the idea. Having been the authority figure, they struggle to see themselves as people outside that role and can’t erase the lines that weren’t to be crossed when you were a minor. They might also feel guilt in relying on you because they don’t want to hurt you or push you too far. Pride means they shut you out, maybe even make you feel like you are incapable of helping or try to convince you nothing is wrong. Reverse psychology can help undo this stubbornness. Get to the root of their problem and pretend that you don’t know it, or deny its existence, so they open up to you. Once you hit the sensitive spot, reactance is activated. Your parents value their freedom, and once you deny something is restricting it when it actually is, they will speak out. You can use reverse psychology in other instances too. By pretending that you don’t want your parents to do something that you think is beneficial for them, they will more likely do it so there’s a way for them to assume the power position there are used to.

The advantage of youth

With youth comes new perspective and being more in contact with the social world. If you can think of solutions to help your parent that the person in question hasn’t thought of because they aren’t as up to date with current affairs, technology etc., let them know. You could prove invaluable to helping them cope in a quicker and more effective way, minimising the severity of their situation.

The love of a child

Sometimes being their child is enough. The unconditional love of a parent means their attachment to you is a strong enough bond to support them and inspire them to keep going. A sense of duty they have carried throughout your life means they feel they need to get through this hard time for you, if not for themselves. You might not want them to think in this way, but go with it. Visit them regularly, help your parents with daily errands and chores and treat them to meals out or other enjoyable activities. If you have children yourself, visit with them as much as possible. Surround your parents with love and though it might not solve the problem, it helps in dealing with it.

Face the difficulties of helping your parents and realise they are probably more scared than you. You can’t keep playing the role of child any more when you aren’t, even if your parents still think it. Taking on responsibility is daunting, but what makes it easier is you’re dealing with an adult too, especially one who played a part in forming the person you are. Gentle nudges and encouragement is good enough because you are still helping.


Photo Credit: Copyright: bacho12345 / 123RF Stock Photo

Tags:ageing, anxious, old, parents, worried


This article was contributed by Pink Moods.

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