When we parented our kids, we had to come to grips with power struggles, their need for our attention, the repetition of drives to/from, to/from school and our kids’ sadness at losing friends when families moved away. Aren’t these a variation of the very same issues those of us parenting our parents now encounter and must discover how to manage effectively? Maybe our present is filled with an aging Mom who needs to “win” every little point, seeking so much of our undivided attention or with a Dad seems to get “smaller” each time one of his golf buddies can no longer play, moves away to live with his children or dies.
The problems of caring for older parents are not precisely the same as when caring for young people, but if we apply the wisdom we’ve learned about what works with our kids regarding setting boundaries, making rules with known consequences and finding specific ways to enjoy time with them, maybe we’d see similarly good results?
Here are 5 parenting tips you can use when you’re POParenting.
1. Set up routines: Children thrive on established routines and knowing what will happen next in their day. The more orderly and predictable their activities, the more smoothly their day seems to run.
– POParenting: Setting up routines with your parents will help their days run more smoothly too. Talk with your parents to create the best routine that works for all of you and then keep to it.
2. Get them involved in “extra-curricular” activities: Studies have shown that the more active kids are, the better their focus and therefore the better they’re able to study. “Extra-curricular” activities — or fun — also helps instill confidence as well as teaching children how to play with others and accept disappointments in life.
– POParenting: Activity, especially fun things, is great for aging parents, too! Just as it instills confidence in your children, social and physical activities can also make your parents feel more confident, interact more enjoyably with their peers and family and live a healthier life.
3. Establish boundaries: Every parent knows that, although difficult at the time, it is important for children to know what boundaries they can and cannot cross and the consequences for crossing the line.
– POParenting: Similarly, our senior parents should know where your boundaries are and respect them — and vice versa. That is especially true if you live in the same home. For example, you may have a time of the day that you’ve set as time to be by yourself. Even elderly parents can know you will be unavailable during such times and respect your wishes.
4. Hold family meetings: When everyone sits down together at regular intervals to meet and discuss issues, plan events and make decisions, children feel they have an important role in the family unit and act more responsibly in carrying out those decisions.
-POParenting: Holding family meetings with your senior parents will help eliminate many frustrations or concerns. You can use this time to involve your folks in decision-making and by getting their “buy-in,” life will be more harmonious and they will want to play more of a part in the events.
5. Spend quality time: This means focusing in on your children, turning away from television, electronic devices and business. It could mean sitting down and reading a favorite story together, or taking a trip to the park to feed the ducks. You know that doing so makes your kids feel important, cared for and loved.
-POParenting: Sometimes we get so focused on prescriptions, medical treatments, and all the tasks that need doing with our parents that we forget to just “be” with them. They greatly appreciate our listening to what’s on their mind, sharing a pleasant memory, or taking that trip to the park. Remember: you are building new treasured memories with those you love.
How have YOU used your parenting skills to the benefit of your POParenting? How has being a parent helped you be a better POParent? Please share in the forum or comment below!