Caring for aging parents is difficult, to put it mildly. The role of parent and child seems to flip and that is never an easy transition. It can be hard for parents especially to recognize that their own children might have the better perspective and thus better advice.

If you are in the midst of the struggle or suspect it may be an issue in the near future, here are some expert tips to protect your parent/child relationship while hopefully getting your aging parents the best care possible:

Tips for When Mom and Dad Won’t Listen

Treat your parents like the adults they are.

While it may feel like your roles have flipped, your parents are not children. And they shouldn’t be treated as such. Maintain respect for the people who raised you. They are much more apt to heed your advice if they feel it comes from a place of love and respect. But even if they don’t, that respect will not only protect your relationship with them, but protect your own heart toward them should bitterness try to creep in.

Pick your battles.

How vital is the advice your giving? In some cases it could be a matter of health and safety, but could there be times when it’s simply an issue of frustration or irritation? Let go of what isn’t essential and focus your efforts on what is truly important.

Attempt to understand them.

Remember, you may be in their shoes before long. How do you want your own children to treat you in the later years? Consider also that there may be an underlying issue that is contributing to the stubbornness. Could depression or confusion be a factor? Is there something they might be afraid of? Instead of constantly handing out advice, have conversations. If you need tips on how to have these conversations, Turning Point is here to help.

Find that motivational factor.

Why not blame it on their kids? Yep, that’s you. Sometimes it’s hard for them to recognize how their situation impacts you and/or your kids. Talk about how it would give you peace of mind to know they’re taken care of, or it could allow them to be around for their grandchild’s wedding. Find something that gets them to think outside of themselves and motivates them to make the best decisions for their situation.

Seek out support.

Whether this is someone to back up your advice or simply a listening ear for your own frustration, support is key when caring for aging parents. Talk with their doctors, your pastor, your siblings, or your best friend. A therapist or support group is also incredibly helpful. You spend all this time seeking out what’s best for your parents, don’t forget to seek out what’s best for you as their caregiver.

Accept the situation.

The bottom line is, you can’t make your parents take your advice. It is ultimately their choice. Accepting their choices, even the poor ones, is better than beating your head against a wall. While you can’t always control their choices, you can always control your own. Choose to love and respect your parents, and let go of control when necessary.