Adult Children what don’t you understand about ‘The Art of Inviting Your Parents’?
Dear Adult Children,
Because you so regularly get it wrong I have written some rules on how to invite your ‘Generation Great Parents’.
There are some big reasons why these have to be crafted so well. Your parents are acclimatising each and every day to becoming invisible to the normal world.
Elderly people are in general overlooked, not seen unimportant and a nuisance. This they feel this daily.
The only people they can count on to see and understand them are you, their children.
When you decide to ignore, not consider, not care then the world seems empty and pointless.
They are counting on you to understand them, sympathise, agree and to care for them.
To actively seek their company. They long to be asked for advice, help, understanding and care. They want to feel useful.
When the world has discarded them you need to make them feel valuable.
They are incredibly sensitive so tread carefully. You don’t know their latest indignities. Or the silent fears they face each day. They know they are getting old, but don’t want to be treated as such.
If you have reached 50 you may know ‘The Cloak of Invisibility’.
The Art of Inviting Your Parents
Here are the rules, memorise and follow:
1. If you invite them for Lunch then stick to it.
2. Do not change the time or date and do not down grade a Lunch invitation to afternoon Tea.
3. Your mother has cared and cooked for at least twenty years more than you. An invitation to a meal is treasured.
4. Keep the guest list as promised in the invitation. Therefore if your invitation says we would love to have you over for lunch, Jamie and Melissa will be here. Make sure they are there when your parents arrive.
5. You may not realise this but mostly your parents will know if this invitation is out of duty or love. They are not stupid.
6. If the invitation is out of duty, don’t issue the invitation, instead up your game to a place where all invitations will be out of love.
7. Expect Gifts such as fresh eggs from their chickens, some seedlings, a home baked cake or fresh flowers. The Great G’s are thoughtful and well mannered. Appreciate these gifts, the effort to create them is more than you realise.
8. If your parents invite your family to a meal, attend with grace. You may not like your mothers cooking, your wife might worry about your parents cleanliness suck it up it won’t kill you. However if you choose not to attend or create excuses for not attending, you will hurt them. You may not realise this, as they will cover up. They are hurt.
9. When you invite your parents to visit, make them feel comfortable, make sure the chairs are easy to get in and out of.
10. The bathroom is within easy access.
11. Have treats on hand for them, spoil them.
12. Make them feel welcome and loved.
13. Do not start a conversation with words ‘Lets have a chat’ this scares them, do not get into lecture mode, you are not the parent.
14. Don’t tell them off, don’t ridicule them, don’t point out their failings, don’t remind them to turn on their hearing aid, ask if they want to go to the bathroom, have you lost your glasses.
15. Just be gentle and silent if you can’t say anything positive. Smile, laugh, be gentle, don’t stress them out.
And never ever talk about your parents in front of them,
I don’t know how many times I have to say this but your parents are not stupid and instinctively know when they are the subject of your whispers. You are disrespecting them.
Don’t do it…Just Love them. Read the Rules ‘The Art of Inviting Parents’ and memorise.
This was written whilst caring for an elderly person and the journey prompted the writing of the book ‘Any Age Gap Year – The Complete Guide to ‘Live in Care’ in the UK, you can find more details here https://www.mysixtypluslife.com/any-age-gap-year-the-complete-guide-to-becoming-a-live-in-care-in-the-uk/