I’ve talked to a number of parents who feel their grown children do not treat them with respect.
Here are a few things parents have said they wanted:
• Please say hello and act like you’re happy to see me when I come for a visit. And when I call on the telephone, show some interest in what we’re talking about.
• And please, please answer the telephone sometimes when I call. I know you’re available.
• Ask about my life and what I’m doing.
• You know I have little money. It would be nice if you helped me pay some of my doctor bills.
• Respect my right to redecorate and change things in my house. Don’t tell me I don’t need a new sofa or family room furniture. I’m not ready to be buried yet.
• Ask before you help yourself to food in the refrigerator.
• If I tell you I don’t like something you’re doing, don’t punish me by not seeing me or not talking to me.
• Sometimes invite me to one of your parties so I can meet your friends.
• Just because you’ve changed religions, don’t ridicule mine.
• Offer to bring something when you come to dinner.
• Accommodate my schedule sometimes when we make a date to get together. I have a life too.
• Once in a while come for dinner and stay the whole evening.
• Stop ridiculing me when I tell you about something I’ve read about vitamins, or diet, or changes in the laws. I’m not always mistaken or stupid.
• Tell me about your life and the people you’re dating.
• Call back when you say you’re going to call back.
• Say yes or no to an invitation in a timely manner. Don’t keep me on hold until the last day.
• Remember my birthday and on time.
• Be gracious and thank me when I give you a gift, rather than acting as though it’s too much trouble to open it.
• Listen and believe me when I tell you I’m tired. Don’t push me to go on to one more store.
• Invite me to dinner sometime.
• Take a little time out of your life to remember to see your grandparents. They always took time with you when you were little.
• Be on time for dinner or call when you’ll be late.
• Pay back the money you owe me or talk to me about it.
• Stop being critical of my taste in clothes.
• If you borrow one of my appliances, return it without my having to ask.
• Don’t get mad if I tell you I can’t baby sit, and don’t expect me to baby sit every weekend.
• Stop talking about what I did wrong when I raised you. Tell me what I did right.
• Give me a hug and a kiss when you leave.
• Treat me as nicely as you treat your best friend.
Following these requests won’t solve all problems between parents and grown children. But it certainly sets the stage for a more respectful relationship.
Check out Doris’ latest books, “The Boy Whose Idea Could Feed the World,” “The Parent Teacher Discussion Guide,“ and “Thin Becomes You” at Doris’ web page: http://www.doriswildhelmering.com.
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