As parents get older, their children often find themselves in a place where they feel the need to take on a parental role. This role reversal is often difficult to deal with for both parties. I’ve counseled a lot of people who are struggling with parent/child relationships through the years and it is often one of the most difficult issues that I find. Naturally, children want to make sure that their parents are taken care of later in life. However, some children come on too strong or too soon, and it can put a strain on things when parents aren’t ready or in need of that transition yet.
The goal is to keep your children as your children for as long as you can. It’s difficult, but if you reassure them that you’re healthy and capable of taking care of yourself, it might be easier. The ultimate goal is to keep communication lines open. For people who already have strained relationships, this can be difficult. However, you have to make sure that your kids know that you’re okay and don’t need them taking over just yet.
Parent/child relationships are always difficult. Fortunately, there are ways that you can make sure that everything is as it should be. Talk to your children. Make sure that they are comfortable talking to you. Let them know where you’re at, both physically and mentally, so that they know that they don’t have to look out for you or start taking care of you just yet. If you do need them, ask. That’s often the bigger issue. Parents don’t want to ask their kids for help, but after all that you’ve done for them, it’s what they are there for.
Try to spend a little time working on your relationships with your kids once you enter retirement so that you can have strong, positive connections. Make sure they’re not trying to hurry you into the nursing home and that you’re not shutting them out or being overbearing with all of your newfound free time. Be open and communicate. That’s really all it takes.