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Parenting Your Parents: Don’t Forget Yourself

Reading Time: 4 minutes

When it comes to parenting our parents, many of us feel like we’re on our own. After all, who better to help us than our parents themselves? 

After all, they took care of us when we were young, so it’s only natural that we reciprocate when they need help as they age. But what happens when we’re the ones who need help? Who do we turn to then?

The answer is simple: we turn to ourselves. We become our own parents.

It’s not easy, but it’s necessary. And it’s something that more and more people are having to do as our population ages. Here are 4 tips on how to parent your parents without losing yourself in the process.

Put yourself first

This may seem counterintuitive, but it’s important. Many people get too hung up on this. In their minds, they think that if they put their parents first, then everything will be okay. But that’s not always the case.

In reality, you have to put yourself first. If you don’t, then you’ll end up resentful and angry. And that’s not going to help anyone.

If you’re not taking care of yourself, you won’t be able to take care of anyone else.

But today’s world is the busiest we’ve ever been than ever before. With work, social obligations, and taking care of our own families, it can be tough to find time to take care of ourselves.

So how do we do it?

It’s important to find a balance. Make sure you’re taking some time for yourself every day, even if it’s just a few minutes. Read a book, take a bath, go for a walk – do whatever makes you happy. As long as you’re taking some time out for yourself, you’ll be able to better take care of your parents (and everyone else in your life).

A life coach from Leeton believes that, ‘In reality, it is about changing your mindset. Instead of thinking of taking care of yourself as selfish, think of it as self-care. It’s not selfish to take care of yourself, it’s necessary.’

It’s not easy, but here are a few tips to make it easier.

  • Practise positive self-talk. When we’re constantly bombarded with negative thoughts, it’s tough to have a positive mindset. But it’s important to do so if you want to take care of yourself. Start by identifying the negative thoughts and replacing them with positive ones. For example, if you think ‘I’m not good enough,’ try ‘I am good enough.’ It may sound cheesy, but it works.
  • Be open to humour. In the middle of a difficult situation, it can be tough to find humour. But sometimes, laughter is the best medicine. Try to find the humour in the situation, even if it’s just making a joke to yourself. It’ll help you to relax and de-stress, which is crucial when you’re taking care of someone else. Allow yourself to feel emotions. It’s OK to feel angry, frustrated, or sad when you’re taking care of your parents. In fact, it’s normal. Allow yourself to feel those emotions, but don’t dwell on them. Acknowledge them and then let them go. If you need to cry, do so. If you need to scream into a pillow, go for it. Just don’t let those emotions take over your life.
  • Focus on the present. When you’re taking care of your parents, it’s easy to get caught up in the past or worry about the future. But it’s important to focus on the present moment. Take each day as it comes and don’t try to control everything. It’s impossible to know what’s going to happen, so just relax and enjoy the ride.

Set boundaries

This is another one that many people have trouble with. We feel guilty about setting boundaries with our parents because we think they need us. And in some cases, they do.

But that doesn’t mean we have to drop everything and run every time they need us. We need to set boundaries so that we can still take care of ourselves.

For example, let’s say your parents live far away and you can’t visit them as often as you’d like. You might feel guilty about it, but if you don’t set a boundary, then you’ll never get any time for yourself.

It’s important to communicate with your parents about your boundaries. Let them know what you’re comfortable with and what you’re not. They may not like it at first, but they’ll eventually come to understand and respect it.

Seek out support

This is one of the most important things you can do. Parenting your parents can be a daunting task, and it’s not something you should try to do alone.

There are many resources available to help you, including books, websites, support groups, and more. Don’t be afraid to seek out help when you need it. It can make all the difference in the world.

Most of all there are specific services such as respite care and home care that can help take some of the load off of your shoulders. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Be patient

This is probably the most important tip of all. Parenting your parents can be a long and difficult journey. There will be ups and downs, good days and bad days.

It’s important to remember that and to be patient with yourself and your parents. Everything will eventually work out, as long as you’re patient and keep a positive attitude.

Parenting your parents can be a rewarding experience, but it’s not always easy. By following these tips, you can make it a little easier on yourself and ensure that you’re still taking care of yourself.

Dennis Relojo-Howell is the managing director of Psychreg.


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