Sunday, December 11, 2005

adult children, relationships with

As individuals grow older there is a tendency for their children to take on the authority role. Unless older people are mentally incapable, they should be allowed to handle their own affairs. Older people should make it perfectly clear that, although there may be some things that they need help with, they can still make their own decisions. Older people living with their children will welcome responsibilities that give them a sense of belonging to the family. The elderly cherish their independence and are sensitive about being a burden to their children.
On the other hand, many older individuals forget that their children are grown responsible adults. There is a tendency for the parent to correct or criticize the child much as he or she did when the child was dependent. The child should not tolerate this. Many children feel they owe a parent a place in their home. There is no automatic obligation. If a parent and child did not get along well early in life they frequently will not get along in later years. If personality conflicts still exist the older parent should not live with the child.
On occasion, an adult child may move back in with the parent because of divorce or financial strain. These situations work out better if a length of stay is prearranged, if privacy can be maintained for both the offspring and the parent, if responsibilities can be shared so that no one feels like a guest, and if the offspring contributes financially. If the offspring is unable to contribute, the parents should enforce the notion that they are taking care of the child.
Deedy, J. Your Aging Parents. Chicago: The Thomas More Press, 1984.
Lester, A. D., and Lester, J. L. Understanding Aging Parents. Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1980.


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