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    Bler's Avatar
    Bler Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 7, 2018, 03:41 AM
    Is it (ever) OK to ask your parents to change?
    Hi.. I'm a 36-year old single guy who hasn't lived with parents for about 15 years. I visit them regularly, though, helping around a lot and caring for them. The problem is that I can't stop being sometimes critical with father (74 now) for always favoring harmony/silence over truth, when it comes to family matters - with regard to my other three siblings and me. Or, asking my mother [71 now] to pay more attention to house cleaning and tidiness, to the point of making her cry once or twice. [The house was filthy all over, whenever we would visit.] My sister, 9 years my senior, told me once she has had the same outcome..
    Nietzsche has rightly stated: "It's difficult to live among people because silence is so difficult."

    These frictions leave me guilt-ridden for days, or more, thereafter...
    I know - too late apparently - the moral of the story is: instead of asking others to change their behavior, change yours toward them, which is sometimes easier said than done, considering also the fact that I was raised in culture where people have constantly been trying to change others, instead of themselves.

    Thanks for any input..
    Fr_Chuck's Avatar
    Fr_Chuck Posts: 81,302, Reputation: 7692

    Sep 7, 2018, 04:12 AM
    NO it is not proper and a total lack of respect to treat elderly parents this way. I am surprised you are still welcome in their home.

    For father, you truths may not be the same as mine, look at this site and you will find 100's of truths. You respect him as your father and perhaps your truths will change over the years. Most peoples do.

    Do you and your bother and sisters pay money to hire someone to come in and clean sometimes. And/or, you and them (or your wives or family) come in and help clean. Lets see how much work you can do at 71, often sicker and in more pain than you will tell people. In my mid 60's, I let the grass go a little longer, may only mop once a week and so on.

    In fact if you actually told your mom this, I would be ashamed
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,328, Reputation: 10855

    Sep 7, 2018, 04:26 AM
    I don't know where you are, or the culture of which you speak, but it would seem to me that taking care of your elders through these years would be the priority, and if between the siblings this cannot be done then the change is needed in your generation not theirs as they may obviously need more help in their increasing years and cannot be expected to be able to do as YOU wish.

    They are not the same people they were 10 years ago, and expecting them to be is extremely unrealistic. The 3 of you are in denial if you think they are. To stand by and watch them diminish and blame them for it is really kind of sad. I think between the 3 of you that you could do better, if nothing else hire additional help if you are unwilling to step up and do more.

    Obviously MORE is needed. Or you have not conveyed enough information of the true nature of the situation. Why is the house filthy (by your standards?)? Not all 70 year olds are blessed with the same energy and awareness they had before and such a change as you want may not even be possible.

    What am I missing?
    Oliver2011's Avatar
    Oliver2011 Posts: 2,606, Reputation: 746
    Ultra Member

    Sep 7, 2018, 05:01 AM
    Setting the expectation in your mind that a 74 and 71 year olds are going to change is probably not realistic. As someone whose parents are already gone, appreciate every moment you have with them. When it happens, it's an unbelievable moment when you realize that you can never speak to them again.
    Bler's Avatar
    Bler Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 7, 2018, 05:09 AM
    To Fr_Chuck: Thanks for your comment.You sound to a perfect human being. Just to clarify one thing: in my post I didn't state that I felt proud of these moments when I have "lost it".

    Anyway, I guess the root of the problem lies in the fact that our parents did not "do" their parenting well enough while we were growing up. I mean, to illustrate my point, I just came across the following comment on the internet on why children nowadays don't respect parents enough...

    "In today’s fast and busy world many of us have forgotten the meaning and value of respect. Broadly, there are two forms of respect, one is self-respect and the other is respect for others. Respect is the caring and positive attitude we feel for others and ourselves. Nowadays we are so preoccupied with our work that we don’t have enough time to think about it. In most cases our attitude towards others is deteriorating every day and most of us suffer from that guilt of misbehaving with others. But this is also true that if we are reciprocated in the same rude and disrespectful manner then it becomes very difficult for us to accept the situation.

    Parents want their children to show respect to them and others without accepting the fact that they haven’t brought up their children in that way. Sometimes due to the lack of work life balance parents often fail to give lessons on important values of life to their children. And this is the reason why children are unaware of good behaviours as ‘Respect’. We will often find that many children talk disrespectfully to their elders and argue with them in a harsh language and sometimes don’t even care about it.

    The value of respect has a very significant role in shaping up the personality of child. Being a parent it is your responsibility to discuss and help your child learn the value and importance of respect.

    Here are some useful ways to encourage your child to respect others:

    Be a mentor to your children

    Be a good mentor to your children. Talk to your children on instances when they were reciprocated with disrespectful behaviour from someone, and the pain they felt that moment because of that. Try to relate that situation with any latest instances of disrespect shown by your children to you or others. Then let them judge both the situations and come up with the judgement. There are chances that they would realise their mistake and won’t repeat such behavior again.

    Encourage your children to have self-respect;

    Self-respect in children is very important. It has been found that children having self-respect perform better in life. Self-respect is about caring and loving oneself. To have respect for others, it is very important to have self-respect. This is because if you feel happy and loved then only you can make others happy. Self-respect is also feeling proud about oneself. It is very important to have an overall personality development.

    Stop accepting unreasonable behaviour of your children;

    Sometimes the excess love of parents stops them from guiding their children to the right behaviour. Because of this pampering attitude towards their children parents often ignore the rude and harsh attitude shown by their children. Parents need to understand that if they don’t control the situation then it will pose larger behavioural problems in the child later. Now your children are young and they will understand and meet your expectations, however, once they are adults it will become difficult for you to guide them as they would have developed their own set of ideology.

    Encourage etiquette;

    Encourage basic etiquettes in children. When they interact with the society, etiquette will be the key factor on which they will be measured. Saying “thank you”, “excuse me” and “please” are some of the basic forms of etiquette which every child should learn. Knowing these will help children in dealing with their teachers or even in getting a job once they get older. These etiquettes have a lifelong value.

    Encourage children to accept and respect differences;

    While growing up children will come across other children of different race, languages, cultures, and, backgrounds. Parents should talk to their children on these things when they are young. Learning about these differences at their young age will make it easier for children to accept these differences as a part of their life. This will encourage them to have respect for diversity.

    Respect your children;

    Parents need to be very careful while talking to their children. If you expect your children to respect you then, first you will have to treat them respectfully. It is true that in the beginning it would be difficult for you to not shout at your child’s rude and disrespectful behaviour. Being a parent it is your responsibility to correct their disrespectful behaviour by treating them respectfully. If you reciprocate in the same disrespectful way, then despite managing the situation you might turn it to become worse.

    Remember children always look up to their parents as their role model. The way you will behave, they will reciprocate. Without discriminating, start respecting everyone and watching your actions, your children will also start reciprocating; this way you can help them grow up to become a generous, empathetic, and self-respecting individual."

    The last part, in particular, says, "Respect your children.. " I guess, our parents have loved us a lot but they haven't respected us - none of their 4 kids, me being the youngest - nor have they respected or loved each other as a couple. And it seems we as children consciously or unconsciously have been doing the same toward them - either through indifference/silence, or lack of it. [Luckily, no physical violence was ever involved, in our inability to always communicate effectively. No black humor intended here!]

    To talaniman: Thanks for your comment... Yes, now the whole thing about asking them to change is unrealistic. Maybe, we do that, as a matter of habit, which should be broken completely.
    Bler's Avatar
    Bler Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 7, 2018, 05:16 AM
    Oliver2001: Sorry to hear that your parents have passed away. You're right about it, which unfortunately we don't always keep in mind.
    talaniman's Avatar
    talaniman Posts: 54,328, Reputation: 10855

    Sep 7, 2018, 08:11 AM
    Perhaps just giving love and support and being grateful for what your parents did do right will enable you to forgive what you feel they didn't do, and allow you to relish the last of the times on this earth you will share with your parents. When they are gone is too late for regrets so be good to them.

    You said they gave you a lot of love, then give it back to them.
    Bler's Avatar
    Bler Posts: 7, Reputation: 1
    New Member

    Sep 7, 2018, 09:06 AM
    Well, I meant 'love' in the general sense of the term, in that parents care for their children the best way they can. [Still, my father was blatantly attached to my middle brother; mother was so to my oldest brother; whereas, me to my sister.] One thing is positive: they have been the best material providers, but not regularly investing in proper values and affection while bringing us up.
    One thing is sure to me: even if I didn’t love my parents while I was growing up, now I do (while seeking/taking nothing material from them). Otherwise, I wouldn’t visit them much more often than my two older brothers!

    Anyway, my parents’ shortcomings in parenting are not the essence of my thread - I've been trying to overcome them. Rather, my post is primarily about hearing of your own experience & story of hard moments you have (had) with (aging/old) parents, and what leads/has led to that... [Maybe I should have stressed this in
    the beginning, so as to spare any clichéd formulas on your part.]

    Again, I'm not referring to ongoing heated arguments/violence, but to sporadic cases of friction or expression of displeasure on one or both sides - ineffective communication, in a word...

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