Today we look over some of the questions that have been raised this week about our tips for improving Sandwiched Boomers communications with loved ones.
Some of you have questions about how to get more bang for your buck when talking with your children. Lori says, “I just don’t have the time and energy to fight with my son any more. What can I say to get him to do what I want?” Syd asks how to get her grown offspring to listen to her: “Give me a tool to use to speak with my adult children who couldn’t care less about any idea I have. I raised them, yet they think I have gone through this life clueless, with no child rearing experience. Hello! Help!”
What I think Syd and Lori really mean is for their kids to respect their opinions. Questions for them both to ponder are: Do you respect theirs? Do you treat them as the adults they have become? Do you listen to them? When you enter into conversations with your adult children, don’t expect them to behave just as you want them to. Instead, consider it a meeting of equal minds and you will fare better than searching for the magic control tool. Your children have a right to develop into adults and, with your encouragement, they will.
Other readers are concerned about communicating effectively with their aging parents in sensitive situations. Jen writes, ” My sister and I have talked and talked with Mom about moving her out of her house but she won’t budge. She is all alone there and we worry about her. I guess we’ll just have to keep on trying. Thanks for your ideas.” And another reader describes her situation, “I have a caregiver who comes in to help me with my father but lately I think she’s trying to take over my place. What should I say to her?”
Talking with your parents can be extremely difficult when the subject revolves around their diminishing capacities. Just as with your children, an important consideration is respecting their dignity and need for a degree of influence. It may be frustrating for you to dance around the inevitability of your assistance in their lives, but it’s best to take it one step at a time. When dealing with hired caregivers, assume that they are striving to do the best for your loved one and talk out any concerns openly and honestly with them.
Continue to think about these issues and share your ideas with us on the blog. We will come back again and revisit the art of Sandwich Generation communication.