One specific observation I had over Christmas was the liberties allowed to younger generations in relating to their elders. Over the years, boundaries for children have continued to expand in some areas, while shrinking in others. When it comes to leaving 10 feet beyond the yard, or stopping by a friend’s house without a planned date and time, opportunities for kids to explore their physical boundaries are less. However, when it comes to ideas about relationships and communication with others, more liberty is given and available to kids than ever before.
One of these “progressive” communication techniques are how young children are allowed to converse with their parents. In public, I routinely witness parents debating with small children about what they are and aren’t allowed to do. I regularly see young children dictate and direct how their parents… well, parent.
Now, don’t get me wrong, during my teenage years there were some heated discussions and disagreements, but never have I seen children as young as 6-12 years old, disrespecting their parents, or telling them they don’t know what the heck they’re talking about, as often as I see today.
This obviously isn’t a breakdown in the family like the loss of so many two-parent homes over the years, but I believe it is a continued breakdown in the respect current and future generations have for their elders.
Thankfully, many of the clients we meet, and their adult children have respectful and even fruitful relationships with one another. In fact, that is often what brings them into our doors. The most common situations we have are elders or soon to be elders that want to relieve any burden that may fall on their adult children for the years that follow, or adult children trying to protect their parents.
In the elder care industry, a big challenge we often discuss is how difficult it is to be a part of the sandwich generation. Those who are responsible for looking after their own children and parents as they age. However, what often gets lost throughout this discussion is how aging parents feel about how they are treated during the aging process.
Whether it’s pestering parents about driving (see article here), or not keeping their house tidy, helicopter parenting can carry over from taking care of our children, to those looking after aging parents. Often, these situations can turn from care taking for a loved one, to constantly telling parents what they should do and demeaning their efforts in trying to look after themselves. Unfortunately, this can often transform a caring relationship into the territory of horrible bossiness, assuming we know what’s best for someone else. We should keep in mind that just because others may start to lose abilities in some areas of their life, it doesn’t mean they’ve completely lost it.
If you’re living in the midst of a challenging situation in caring for an aging parent, it is always important to discover if a plan has already been developed. This will allow you to address some of the issues you or your parent may be most concerned about, whether medical or financial. If there isn’t, this is often a good place to start, discovering an aging parent’s expectations of you, as they age. Some parents want to be as independent as possible as they age, while others want their loved ones to help as much as they can. Discovering some answers to these questions allows others to be more in control of their own health and finances, enabling you to continue to be their advocate, keeping from crossing boundaries that may break close relationships.
Taking an overview of financial assets and examining options that may supplement care can be instrumental in providing the best solutions available for parents and their care taking children. Berger Estate & Elder Law P.A. has been finding such solutions throughout Kansas City for over 30 years providing Trusted Counsel with Proactive Solutions for many. Give us a call today at (913) 491-6332, visit our website berger-lawfirm.com or stop by our conveniently located offices at 11233 Nall, Suite 140 Leawood, KS 66211 for more information.