My Parent Does Not Appreciate What I Do as a Caregiver
"Does it feel like your efforts go unappreciated, or worse, does your parent act entitled to your help to handle every need without notice or consideration for you? If this is your situation, what do you do?"
This is a tough one.
Most of us take some pride in helping others (most of all our parents), but when they become demanding or hurtful, all that results is resentment.
Children whose parents are rude or demanding have usually experienced this behavior over a lifetime. That does not make it any more tolerable and now when the parent is in need of assistance it can become insufferable. You want to help them but struggle each time you stop by. What to do?
First, I recommend that you think it through and calmly prepare your response in advance. Letting your parent know that you desire a more respectful approach is OKAY. Simply make sure to have your response ready when the next opportunity arises.
Let’s start with a few common examples.
Your mother calls you every day and asks you to run some type of errand. It may be to get a quart of milk one day, a carton of ice cream the next day, and a package of cheese the third day. (It is Wisconsin after all, and we love our dairy). Very few of us working folks have time to grocery shop every day, even though your mother may have run out daily when she was able.
When mom calls and asks on day four for the next errand run, tell her something like, “Mom, I am not able to run errands every day while also having enough energy to work and manage my life. I am able to run errands for you on Monday and Thursday, though, on my way home from work. I will stop on Thursday after work to get whatever you have on your list.”
Now be prepared for some type of backlash from mom at this point. If mom is used to getting what she wants by demanding or cutting remarks they will tumble out now. Feel free to negotiate the days, but do not give in to the daily errand running nor assume any guilt for setting limits.
Another common situation is the endless list of chores coupled with the lack of appreciation for your efforts.
Most of us want to help our parents and do so willingly. It is when the chores become an expectation without appreciation that we tire. A solution is to set a block of time to do chores and let your parent know when you will be coming and how long you will work. If your parent makes rude comments about your work on their behalf once again, prepare a sincere response. Something like, “Dad, I did my absolute best for you today. It is hurtful when you criticize my efforts.” You may get a negative response but maybe not. As children we often suffer without comment, and it is okay to kindly let your parent know how you feel.
Will your responses change the parent who raised you? Maybe, maybe not. Calm, persistent, and sincere responses are the most effective though; always letting you parent know that you love and respect them.
Family Caregiving Advice Column
Written by CEO, Mary Haynor, this newsletter is packed with useful tips, resources and practices that will make the lives of family caregivers easier.Learn More...
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