It can be extremely difficult to deal with your parents when they start getting older and becoming more stubborn than before. Have you ever experienced being frustrated with your parents, whether it’s because of their stubbornness or just the way they are treating you?
Well, that is something that almost all children have to go through. Aging parents need your help, but the job of taking care of them is not always easy. Here are some helpful tips on how to deal with stubborn, aging parents.
Table of Contents
- 1. Let Them Know That They Matter To You
- 2. Let Them Know That You’re Good With Them Making Decisions On Their Own
- 3. Understand Your Parents Motivation Behind Their Behavior
- 4. Don’t Count on Them Changing for You
- 5. Be Patient
- 6. Be Persistent
- 7. Visit often
- 8. Spend More Time with Them
- 9. Be Kind
- 10. Remember the Good Times
- 11. Make an Effort to Communicate
- 12. Accept Their Desires and Find a Compromise
- 13. Don’t Put Pressure on Them
- 14. Don’t Use Power To Your Parents
- 15. Stay Calm and Not Argue
- 16. Talk With Your Siblings
- 17. List Phone Numbers
- 18. Prepare Ahead of Time for Conversations
- 19. Treat Your Aging Parents Like Adults
- 20. Let Time Pass
- 21. Talk to Their Doctor
- 22. Take Care of Yourself
- Final Thought
1. Let Them Know That They Matter To You
If your parents are stubborn and resistant to letting go of their independence, it is important to let them know how much they still matter in your life. Many elders have a hard time feeling needed when their children have a busy life and a family of their own. Let them know how much they have mattered over the years, and let them know that no matter what happens in your life, you think about them all the time.
2. Let Them Know That You’re Good With Them Making Decisions On Their Own
Your parents are stubborn and don’t seem to respect your opinion anymore – that doesn’t mean they don’t love you anymore. Let them know that you are fine with them making their own decisions – after all, they have been doing it for their whole life.
3. Understand Your Parents Motivation Behind Their Behavior
If you try and think about your parents’ behavior in terms of their own experiences, you will be better able to understand why they act the way that they do. Sometimes it is because you remind them of a person from their past or someone who hurt them when they were growing up.
As you get to know your parents, realize that there are reasons why they do the things that they do. Understanding the motivations behind their behavior can put you more at ease about your current situation with them.
4. Don’t Count on Them Changing for You
Your parents are stubborn and refuse to listen to you about some major life decision, such as moving back in with them or going into a retirement community. They have the right to do whatever they want – just don’t expect that one day they will wake up and change their ways for you. If you wait for that day, you might be waiting for a long time.
5. Be Patient
When dealing with stubborn aging parents, it’s important that you’re patient with them. It might take a while for them to change or stop acting in a particular way. You can’t expect your parents to change overnight and sometimes, they might not change at all. In this case, make sure that you’re making an effort to be patient and kind with them as much as possible. This might not solve the problem but it will lessen the difficulty of the situation for everyone involved.
6. Be Persistent
It is important that your parents understand that you are there to help, but it can be difficult if they refuse to accept that help. You must be persistent.
7. Visit often
If your parents don’t live with you together, it is extremely important to visit as often as possible. When you visit, bring your kids along sometimes – don’t forget that grandparents are a big part of why children grow up to be great. If your parents live far away from you it is even more important to visit frequently – many elders develop depression and mental health issues if they don’t feel connected to their family.
8. Spend More Time with Them
Spend more time with them. Do not leave them alone to suffer in loneliness, and be there for them at all times. As your parents get older, their health gets worse, and it becomes more difficult for them to get around. If possible, try to be physically present when helping your aging parents with something. Sitting side-by-side while you help them with paperwork is better than calling them on the phone.
If there is a certain task that your parents can no longer do themselves, then you should definitely offer to help out. Whether it’s picking up some groceries from the store or just helping them with their daily routine, you should always be there to support them as much as possible. It can sometimes be difficult for a parent to admit that they need some extra help because of their age but you have to remember that if they are asking for help, then it’s because they truly need it.
9. Be Kind
If you want your parents to accept any help that you offer, you must first be kind to them. They may not always say the right thing or behave as expected, but they are still your parents. You should make a point to be patient with them and try to keep any anger from making you lash out at them. If you want your parents to let their guard down around you, take the time to get to know them and show them that you care with actions rather than just words.
10. Remember the Good Times
Your parents may not be who they once were anymore, but that does not mean that they do not have good memories left in them. Talk about the good old days and reminisce over all of the fun things you did together to keep your parents’ mind active and thinking about the future. This will help them see that even though they are getting older, there is still a lot of life left to be lived.
11. Make an Effort to Communicate
Sometimes, if your parents are stubborn or not behaving in a way that is good for their health, then there’s a lack of communication going on. This can be remedied by making an effort to talk with them and connect with them.
Talk about what you’ve been up to in your life and listen to what they have to say. You might find out something interesting or gain a better understanding of why they are behaving in the way that they are. Approaching them like this might make them less stubborn and more open to listening to what you have to say.
12. Accept Their Desires and Find a Compromise
Sometimes your parents may express a desire that is out of their ability. When this happens, you realize that they are not doing it out of spite, but rather a desire to remain independent.
In order to keep your parents from doing something that is potentially dangerous, you will have to find a way for them to retain some of their independence while not putting themselves in a dangerous way.
For example, they may make a big show out of not wanting your help when actually their body is too frail for them to be on their own. In order to get past this, you will have to lay aside any “right” or “best” ways of doing things and find a compromise of ways to accomplish things together.
13. Don’t Put Pressure on Them
Also, do not put any pressure on your parents. This will only create more difficulties in the situation and make it harder for everyone involved, especially your parents.
If they are acting stubborn or irrational, then you should try to find out why. Maybe they feel a certain way about you, or maybe there’s another reason. If they’re just acting this way for no particular reason, then it might be worth sitting down and talking to them about how you’re feeling in the situation.
14. Don’t Use Power To Your Parents
You may want to make your parents live well and be happy, but they may not listen to you. If they’re stubborn, don’t use power over them – that’s what made them stubborn in the first place.
15. Stay Calm and Not Argue
If you are having a heated argument with your parents, yelling at each other and using curse words, this is not going to help anyone. Yelling is never the answer, it will only make matters worse and ruin your relationship with them.
Stay calm and breathe deeply, even if you’re not angry. Get in control. If you are calm, your parents will also become calmer, and listen to your point of view without arguing back. In the case that they get out of hand and you start to yell at them or get upset, just leave the room until things have calmed down.
16. Talk With Your Siblings
Another thing you can do is talk with your siblings about what’s going on. This might be helpful because there could be an underlying reason why everyone is acting the way that they are.
Perhaps your parents are behaving stubbornly because they know you want them to see a doctor or change their behavior, but they don’t want to do it in front of others. If this is the case, then getting everyone together might prove helpful. Just make sure you approach each other with an open mind and are ready to listen to what the others say.
17. List Phone Numbers
Aging parents often need to call people for assistance. Take time to set up a list of phone numbers that they can refer to in case they need help.
18. Prepare Ahead of Time for Conversations
When you are in a good mood, you should be prepared ahead of time for difficult discussions since you cannot rely on wishful thinking or hoping to talk to your parents. Figure out some of the conversation topics that you will discuss and write down some points to make sure that you include everything that needs to be said.
19. Treat Your Aging Parents Like Adults
Your parents are still your parents, and they’re adults who may no longer be able to make the best decisions due to aging. That’s not a sign that you should start bossing them around like misbehaving children. It’s a sign that you need to treat them as the adults they are, even if it means getting into some heated disagreements about what is best for them.
Your parents have probably been taking care of themselves for a long time. But if they’re starting to show signs of aging, there’s no better time than now to get involved and help them out.
20. Let Time Pass
Sometimes the best way to deal with an aging and stubborn parent is to let time pass by itself. There isn’t much that you can do in terms of helping them change their ways, because it’s too difficult for anyone to see what they are doing is wrong when it has been happening for so long. All you can do is let them live the way that they are living while still trying to stay with them as much as possible.
21. Talk to Their Doctor
If your parents are not behaving in a manner that’s good for their health, then the conversation should be directed to their doctor or other primary care medical professional. They might have an insight into this situation and give you advice on how to get through. It depends on what kind of stubbornness they’re exhibiting and how it is affecting their health.
22. Take Care of Yourself
When you’re trying to balance work and helping aging parents, it can be hard finding enough time for rest and relaxation. You don’t have to do everything yourself — if necessary, hire a company that specializes in providing elderly care services to help your aging parents. It’s important to take care of yourself so that you have the energy and focus it takes to deal with all of your responsibilities.
Your parents may be more stubborn than they once were, and do things that make little to no sense. But you should try to understand them and do not try to force them back into their old ways. Accept what they have become, let them know you’ll be there to offer help, and make them realize that they are still loved by their children.