Family · Just my Thoughts

When do your parents become your children?

I have known that this day was coming.  Both of my parents have health issues.  One manages the issues through diet, exercise and medication.  The other tends to ignore the medication prescribed, eats when and what is wanted, and ignores general health issues.  Both are adults, 67 and 70 respectively.  Yes, they are divorced and both are remarried.  Both live in different parts of the country – one in the southwest and one in the northeast.

The overwhelming question this morning is when do your parents become your children.  My father lives about an hour from me – only about 40 miles but nothing but two lane road to get there.  He works in my general area.  Last night, my sister who lives near him – in the same town – called.  There was an issue at work.  Could I call there?  Could I call my stepmom?  Could I go over?

My father’s health has been declining.  He tends to ignore the doctor.  He needs to be on a diet for his health issues and needs to be careful what he eats.  I have had these discussions with him but I am ignored even more quickly than the doctor.  Things are about to change.  When an ambulance needs to be called and I need to go to the office and take him home – I actually only took him to eat and my other sister came with her husband and got him, I am going to get more involved.

The question is am I within my “duties” as a daughter to insist on things.  I told him, point blank, last night that he was going to start doing things differently.  I also made it very clear that if I was making the decision, not my stepmother, he would have been in the ER last night.  I also made it clear he was to see his physician today.  Yes, there is a storm coming.  I don’t care.  This is not something to mess with.  TODAY!

So, am I right to assert myself?  Do I just step back and let him continue to go down the wrong road?

6 thoughts on “When do your parents become your children?

  1. Ah , Nicki. The problem with parents is that though they need care , they are adults and are accustomed to making their own decisions. My sis and I also take care of our parents , and we’ve come to learn which of us are better with which things – you will too lol. Some changes take a lot of time – be patient with them , respect them , pick your battles and stick to your guns.
    Good luck 🙂

  2. Thanks, Kim. This is going to take time as I have let it slide for too long. I will be respectful and will stick to my guns. Hopefully, we get it all worked out.

  3. Hi, I found your website through The latest trends in Mixed Media and was lurking, I read through your comments on aging parents.

    From one who has had the unfortunate luck to lose both my parents within 9 months of each other (9 years ago) and being primary care giver in the end for both. We learnt to work together and to give my parents the respect and patience that they gave me as a child, it wasn’t always easy, but I had to allow them to make as many choices as they could on their own, and when needed provide them with a different prespective from their own. (eg diet) but I did find that my parents where just like my kids, if I told them they had to do something, they would just do the opposite, sometimes just for spite. Sometimes a compromise is a good middle ground.

    I wish you all the best with your parents, enjoy them while you can. They will not always be there, and then you will miss them more then you know. Make sure that you take time for yourself to do some of the things that you enjoy doing when you are caught up in caring for them. When the going get tough it is normal to resent your parents for having to care for them, that was something that no one told me, untill after the fact, but something I needed to know on the days that I hated caring for my parents and everything that I was having to do for them. I thought that I was a bad daughter, because how could you hate your parents when they where dying. I couldn’t tell anyone, because I was suppose to be dealing with everything, after the fact I found out that this is a very normal (and even neccessary) part of greiving the lose of a parent or loved one.

    I hope that you take all my rambling in a good nature, I wish you the best, and I do understand that in the blog it was possibly a rant that you needed to get off your chest and that you where possibly not looking for an answer,, so just my expereince with aging parents. ( And quite possibly my rant about aging parents)


  4. Iris – Thank you so much for your words. I am happy to hear how others have handled the situation. I am not sure if I was looking for suggestions or if I was just blowing off steam. I know I was annoyed because it was preventable but he was being irresponsible.

  5. Ah, Nicki. I am going on 11 years of this. It is a hard position to be in. And I know the blowing off steam well.

    As the others have said, you have to temper what you know is in their best interest with respect, compromise, and picking your battles.

    After Mom fell out of her wheelchair on an uneven surface, while both my sister in law and I were standing there, simply because she wanted to go inside – right now – my sister in law said it best, she has all the self control of a three year old. 😦 I won’t mention how lucky she was that she did not break something, or hit her head as she was on coumadin at the time.

    Many of her health issues are diet related and preventable, or at least manageable. She won’t listen. I do her shopping and simply fail to pick up items on her list. So she has neighbors get it. Or she orders it.

    I recently found chocolate chip cookie dough from Swan’s “hidden” in the back of her fridge. Yes, she’s diabetic. Yes, she’s on insulin.

    I won’t mention the Season All I found in her cupboard the next week. The extra large Costco size. Yes, she has congestive heart failure. Yes, she takes Lasix.

    All I can tell you is that you just lecture, you just plead, you just do the best you can, and you just love them.

  6. Lisa – Thanks for the words. I knew you would understand. I am now finally getting to the point where I am not as angry about the situation. Other things are so easy to let go of but this is not.

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