We often take our parents for granted – they are there when we need them, there when we don’t, and we can usually rely on them for all the things we need in life, big or small.
And while for them, clothing, feeding and raising us was no walk in the park, we rarely pause to think what it may have cost them, both figuratively and literally. After all, they’re our parents, that’s their ‘job’.
Yet, if we were to pause to think, we’d realize we need to start paying them back, in terms of affection, kindness, and love, to say the least.
Here is how you can show your parents you love them too, and that they have done a fine job raising you.
Put your phone down
When they come over or you go to visit, don’t spend half the time staring at your screen. If you’re in the same place at the same time, make the most of it: you can scroll through Instagram when you get home.
When you need advice – ask
You may think you’re old enough to be able to handle life without your parents – but that doesn’t mean you can’t rely on them still, at least in some ways.
Ask your mom how to make that special dish she makes on Sundays. Ask her how to get a stain out of the sofa. Ask your dad for help with the car, or who to draft in your Fantasy Football league.
It would be a shame not to turn to them when you can – yes, the Internet can give you the answer, but why not ask another source, one that’s eager to pass their knowledge. They’ll be really happy you did.
Don’t tell them they’ve already told the same joke
As they get older, people start to get a bit repetitive, and forget they may have already shared a story or joke with you.
When you hear it for the second time, don’t interrupt them. Listen to it again, just like you did the first time, and forgive them their age.
Take care of them – literally
If your parents need help around the house, getting to places, or with their health, be there for them.
Even if you have kids of your own, and think they’re your first responsibility, remember what your parents did for you, and their own parents. It’s not always about the younger generation, after all.
You may not have the time to be there every day, or you may live miles away – but even so, try to be involved and helpful. Create a family care plan to ensure they have everything they need even when you’re not there. Keep track of their doctor’s visits and other appointments and check in.
Physical distance doesn’t prevent you from being a part of their lives. After all, just talking to them on the phone about their day can often do more than if you were to do their dishes.
Have them over
It’s time to switch things around, and have your parents come to your house for dinner, or to watch the game, or just for a cup of coffee.
And when they do come over, don’t expect them to help themselves. Brew some extra nice coffee, have plenty of the food they like in stock, and try to make them feel extra welcome. They probably spend a good day thinking about your visit, planning out the meals, getting the house tidy – show your affection by doing the same for them.
Talk about the old times
We all like to reminisce about the good days gone by – as we get older, even more so.
So talk to your parents about your own childhood and share funny and interesting stories. Ask them about the time when they were kids themselves, about their parents and their lives. It would also be a great idea to write some of these stories and family histories down, perhaps even to start a family tree project.
If they’re up for it, you can also record some of their tales, and watch them together, and you’ll also have a great way to remember them once they are gone.
Treat your parents with the love and respect they deserve. Even if they get on your nerves sometimes, they have given you what they could. Never fail to appreciate that.