Thursday, April 9, 2009

Relationship - Guidance To Parents Advised

As we grow older each day, our parents age even faster.  We see and feel very well of how they are turning around - loss of memory, getting more stubborn, throw tantrums, give childish ideas etc etc. 

While not all of the elders go through this stage in the same degree, we can't dismiss the fact that many do badly.  And we're sadden by it.

Our parents are our heroes.  They love us, they're strong from our small eyes eons ago, they know everything and anything.......Fast forward now, they're very different.

No child would want to see these taking place in our parents, as these mean they're slowing leaving us and this earth.  However, as we all grow up and start taking on responsibilities and roles in our lives, we may find our parents add on to our daily frustrations more and more.  Especially for some of us where we have to deal with our spouse and children.

In the human evolution, a role reversal is especially prominent within the family dynamics.  But the typical Asian like you and me find it very difficult to "usurp" the throne held by our parents.  Yet, they are at our neck at every possible minute.  What should we do?

In my experience with a total of 300 people in my self-awareness courses in the past, children taking up the leadership role in their immediate family is highly important to help our parents cope with old age, and we to our stress.  This is also a good period for us to learn how to really grow up mentally and emotionally.  However, having said that, it doesn't mean barking orders at our parents like what a military officer would do.

We have to remember that our parents have a wealth of experience dealing with many things in their lives, though those may be different to what we know now, I can assure you that those experience are key when the situations strike.  The right way to be leaders to our parents would be a balanced friend-mentor attitude.

When they make a pronounced wrong decision yet adamant over it, we have to firm our tone of voice and list down why a thing has to be dealt with your way, why you're right and where they're wrong.  Swallowing their wrong adds on to your frustration, while screaming at them will only add oil to fire your relationship to ashes.

The good thing about dealing with parents VS children is, parents are adults while children have yet to gain enough life experience to know that you're right.  True that parents may throw tantrums like children, but as long as you push the right hot buttons on putting the idea across to them, they will listen.  And will cooperate with you willingly.

My experience with my parents in the last 5 years helped me learnt alot about them, the general human beings and myself.  I've had a very bad relationship with my father and now, our "feuds" never cross more than 48 hours when we used to hate the sight of each other having cold wars for at least a month.

Every human being needs respect, and they seek to listen to the people they respect as human seek to be associated with "the better ones".  It makes them look good. This is the instinctive animal hierarchy sense built in all of us.  Human do it by carefully observing the opposite party's behaviour to decide if they want to listen to them.  So, if we want our parents to start seeing us as leaders and do what is right and best for themselves and the family, we have to get our act together.

  • Be someone who deliver what we promised, or said.
  • Behave in the right manner in different situations/events.
  • Respect other people as how we'd like it ourselves.
  • Throw no tantrums.  This is especially contagious  within any group.
  • Have a stable life e.g stable job, girlfriend/boyfriend, reasonably healthy, have savings etc
  • Do your job well.

In addition, we must note that the tug-of-war (quarrels) between parents themselves are not the business of ours.  It's their own lesson to be learnt and we must not be embroiled into their power struggles (one party always say that they're right and the other wrong).  We should only step in when life and death is involved.  No one wants a dead parent caused by the other parent.  Having said that, we can slowly guide them to have a better relationship with each other by doing it behind the other party's back.  My experience tells me that doing the opposite will only strike off another war of "See!  Even the kid says so!"

If we can have peace by peaceful methods, engage it.

Dealing with parents is like dealing with our lives and other people, we must understand that no human is perfect and there will be traits of people we "cannot stand".  For this, we need to accept that as long as those traits don't affect a "bottomline" (anything immoral or substantial monetary losses etc), we should close an eye to them.  We're human, not God and we should not aim to be a different perfect person to everyone we meet.  One will break down very soon in the attempt.

I'm more than certain that others close an eye to some of our antics too.