Growing up, we take our parents for granted. We see them as our parents, and not necessarily as individuals and human beings. They teach us, meet our needs, and are there for us when we need them.However, there comes a time in everyone’s life where our parents might need their children to care for them. Whether because of finances or health, our parents can react differently to needing their children in a variety of ways. Sometimes parents can just have a hard time dealing with the fact that their kids have grown up and left the nest.
If your parents need you, be there for them. After all, they did spend a lot of their life raising you! However, some parents can cross the line from neediness to emotional manipulation in order to get you back in their control.
If you have a harmfully needy parent, read on for the best ways to handle this situation:
- Create boundaries. As a kid, your parents created your boundaries. Now, as an adult, you are in charge of yourself and creating a safe space for yourself and your own family. If your parent is meddling in your affairs, going behind your back, or taking up an unnecessary amount of time or attention, set boundaries that keep them a bit more distant. This isn’t rude- it’s needed for your health and sanity.
- Schedule time with them. Unless they’ve harmfully crossed a line, you shouldn’t have to cut a needy parent out of your life completely. Setting up a schedule of times when it is appropriate to call or visit can help them feel wanted and desired, and keep you from feeling tired and overwhelmed by their presence. They should respect the fact that you have a family, friends, and a job outside of their control, and that the boundaries you set for contacting one another are there for both of your benefits.
- Get your parents out of the house. Parents spend so much time living through their kids that it can be hard to reconnect with the social events that once made them happy. If you can, encourage your parents to get out, make new friends, and engage in activities that make them happy.
- Find support systems. Whether you have family in the area or need to find a group, there are ways to get support for yourself and your parent. You and your siblings could have a rotating schedule for visits, or you could enlist the help of neighbors and other friends to check on your parent throughout the week. If your parent has medical issues, consider getting assistance from a therapist, medical professionals, or local support groups. Your parent should never use their health as a way of guilting you into paying attention to them.
- Remember that success isn’t your fault. You’ve grown up and are living your life- this is what they prepared you for. Sometimes parents need a bit of an adjustment period to get used to being on their own again.