Show appreciation through communication

Published 7:26 am Sunday, August 14, 2016

QUESTION: Now that I’m a parent, I realize that I really want my parents to know that I love them, but it’s easier to show my kids love than my parents.

RESPONSE: Here are six communication ideas that will please the heart of all parents:

•Be specific with your words of appreciation. Remember when Mom drove you and your friends everywhere and how dependable Dad was to help you with extra homework projects? Say thank you again for the money invested in activities that were important to you.

•Be generous with your hugs and gentle touches. Your mother was the first person to touch you within her own body. After you came into the world your mom and dad carried you, kissed your cheek, held your hand, changed your diapers, tied your shoelaces, combed your hair and buttoned your shirt. Now it’s your turn to put your arm around your dad’s shoulder and give your mother a kiss on the cheek.

•Be patient. Remember that, although parents often put even adult children and grandchildren first, they have their own schedules and needs. It is unfair to expect parents to order their lives to accommodate ours, even though they often do.

•Listen. Can you remember when your parents stopped what they were doing to listen to your struggles? Maybe it was when somebody didn’t invite you to a party, or you didn’t make the athletic team or the choir, or somebody you were dating stood you up, or a teacher made a decision that didn’t seem fair. A lot of parents keep fears and anxieties to themselves, because they don’t want to worry their children. However, older parents may be facing tougher challenges than anything they have helped us overcome. Keep the door of communication open.

•Be forgiving. There are bound to be conflicts between parents and children. We can be honest about opinions and beliefs, and still say, “I’m sorry that happened. I want you to know you are valuable to me.”

•Be cheerful. Smile; it’s the best gift you can give. Share things that cause you to laugh together. Sending cards and flowers or being the host for dinner or a movie are good ideas, but your friendly voice and encouraging attitude on the phone and in person is what counts the most. A parent’s best reward in life is to think about an adult child and be able to say, “once my child, now my friend.”

To talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child raising, call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 1-877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out www.familiesandcommunities.org and resources at the Parenting Resource Center Specialty Library (105 First Street SE, Austin).