How to Express Comforting Gratitude to Your Elderly Parents

Your memories of your earliest years in life were likely censored and protected. As your youthful gaze perceived the world to be exactly how you saw it, your parents desperately held the doors of hostility and malice shut.

You went about your joyous days looking at the bright blue sky as your parents scanned the ground anticipating danger.  As you looked one way, your parents ensured what’s behind you couldn’t hurt you. As you hassled, ran, spun, jumped, fell, and turned, they quickly scurried to not miss a thing.

You’ve grown older, and may have realized just how hard it was for your parents to foster the life you know today. The sacrifices they made were endless, and envisioning their hardships is akin to taking a blade to the heart and a frog to the throat.

It’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that you’ll never be able to match what they’ve done for you. Nothing you do will ever be enough; a fact which grows in how painful it is with time.

This article will attempt to offer tips in expressing / exhibiting genuine gratitude to those who raised you. Rather than placing any focus on fiscal status and material reward, the goal of this page is to provide tools that do not discriminate based on wealth or status.


Their Evaluation As Parents Is How You Interact With Others

The principal role your parents assumed as they raised you was to ensure you would fit into, and benefit, the world around you. As you grew older and were influenced by the people you interacted with, your parents either served to amplify the positive or block the negative.

They taught your first lessons in many facets, including the one of treating others with respect and kindness. Your parents taught you manners, and were your most potent models of behavior.

Though you may not think it, your parents constantly judge themselves based on how you interact with the world they prepared you so diligently for.

They hurt when you stress over drama at work and the people who cut you off on the road. They regret you having to get into arguments when you don’t get your way, and they wish you to not be unnecessarily rude to the server when you grab a bite.

Your parents evaluate themselves based on how fluidly you merge into this river of social interaction. The ebbs and flows that possessing intricate social skills entails requires you to float along. Any rigidity on your part will do well to make you stand out from a society your parents hoped to shape you to be a flowing part of.

To package this lesson down to one line, ensure that you treat others the way your parents would be proud of themselves for. Rather than thinking they’d be proud of you for treating people with kindness and respect, think of your acts of kindness as giving your parents a good grade on the test of raising kids.

You’ll Regret Not Saying Loving Words

Words of affection are often difficult to formulate. Far too often, people barricade their feelings of affection without letting them manifest into verbal sounds. They awkwardly wait out the moments which should’ve witnessed their loving words.

They wouldn’t say, “Bye Dad, love you, call you soon” as they head back to the other side of town. Rather, those who struggle verbalizing feelings of affection would simply say, “Bye Dad, see you next weekend.”

Due to either the fear of awkwardness or a fear of seeming weak, people roughen the edges of their interactions with their parents. As individuals experience the world around them, they get molded by it. Far too often, the world serves to shave away their ability to speak loving words.

Your words of affection don’t cost a thing when they’re directed to your parents. Your parents will not use your affection against you; they won’t break your heart by breaking up with you like your ex and spill all your tender secrets to the world. Your parents will always be your parents.  

Remember that you’ll never regret telling your parents that you love them. Even if you feel wronged by your parents down the line, the fact that you told them you love them says more about you than it does about them.

Words of affection are important tools in your relationship with your parents. They are simple acts of gratitude for the things your parents do for you.

Your loving words will be signals / rewards that give them something to latch onto. They won’t feel lost in their social interactions with you if you regularly voice your loving words. They’ll be able to identify what they’re doing right and wrong based on the things you verbally reward them with.

Words of affection play an important role in reminding both parties of an interaction that their relationship is bigger than the interaction at hand. Even after an evening of contentious debates, your “I love you,” as you head out the door will remind both parties that events don’t define relationships.

Their Flaws Make What They Did for You Even More Impressive

Aging seems to entail coming to a full, unadulterated, understanding of how wrong some people can sometimes be. Our youthful ignorance of interpreting those older than us to be wiser takes a few hits as we get older.

We start to realize that our parents are human too; they thereby make mistakes at a similar rate to other humans. They’ll misspeak, act out, and react emotionally to adversity. They’ll inadvertently let you down, and will require you to slow down while being patient with them on numerous occasions.

They won’t understand how to solve a technical issue with their computers, and will forget to do things you ask of them.

Remember that your parents – with all their flaws you see today – raised you to be able to recognize and analyze those flaws. They raised a person better than themselves in many aspects of existence; an impressive act itself.

With all their flaws and misconceptions, they fed you daily and cultivated the educated outlook you possess today. Against sizable odds, they somehow managed to keep you alive and sane into these years.

Learn to respect their flaws existing due to the simple fact of them being able to overcome those flaws. Though they did not manage to rid themselves of the weaknesses you were able to sanitize from your existence, they did their work in spite of them existing.

Their weaknesses consistently dragged them back as they kept trekking forward with you on their back. Though their weaknesses may be strong, the fact that you’re sitting here reading this today speaks to their will being stronger.

Be lenient with your parents when you witness a mistake or weakness.Try not to force your own efforts of personal improvement onto them in their old age. Be thankful that their mistakes and weaknesses did not break your experience of life, and try to perceive your parents to be perfect as they are.

Remember, you are their product, thereby they are judged by which weaknesses you exhibit and which mistakes you make.  

Be Willing to Sacrifice for Their Physical and Psychological Comfort

Though physical comfort greatly depends on the various circumstances a family finds themselves in, the act of you attempting to keep your parents comfortable is important to prioritize. Looking out for someone’s comfort – whether it be physical or psychological – hints at a presence of respect.

Strive to go above and beyond in your attempts to bring comfort to your parents’ lives. Sometimes your role will include comforting your parents in the face of worry, and other times you’ll be tasked with ensuring they travel with as few hiccups as possible. Notwithstanding what the particulars of the situation are, continually look for ways to make your parents’ lives more comfortable.

You’ll begin to realize how many elements of comfort there are in your attempts to elicit comfort. It’ll become evident that even your choice of vocabulary has the ability to either comfort or disturb. You’ll realize that though certain methods of completing tasks in life are efficient, they don’t conduce a sense of comfort within those involved.

You’ll begin to forgive your parents’ naivety as you try to bring comfort to their lives. Helping your dad set up his new phone will be something you truly want to do. Listening to your mom’s ideas of where to place the new flower pot will begin to be less boring. Supporting your parents in their comfortable endeavors will become something you take joy in doing.


Keep Them Out of Your Battles: Be a Problem Solver in Their Eyes

As you find yourself in the prime of your life, your parents will be on the back nine. They’d likely have already fought their biggest battles while you look forward onto yours. You’ll generally be more tuned in and focused than your parents.

You’ll be ready for life’s competitive forces in their attempts to win against you. You’ll have drive, problems, solutions, and schemes. You’ll want to work while your parents want to spend more time with you.

Though it’s easy to get lost in the battles of day to day life, ensure to maintain a sense of how your parents view your interaction with the world.

Similar to how you interact with others, your parents judge themselves based on how enjoyable you find life to be. Since they’d have set you up for what you’re doing now as best they could, seeing you stressed and in the midst of battle isn’t a pleasant feeling.

Ensure to try suppressing the stresses and battles in your life that your parents have no control over when you’re around them. It makes little sense to unload your stresses and worries onto your parents when they can do nothing to help except to listen.

You would be the only one who can come up with solutions to the problems that you have. Once you share those problems with your parents thereby, they’d be stuck in a state of worry without a potential to get out. As you trek toward a solution to the problems in your life you’ll begin to calm as you see a path toward success. Your parents however, will worry until your solution comes to fruition.

Keep your parents ignorant as to the battles that you go through until you’ve already gone through them and fought for a solution. Rather than presenting them with a problem without a solution, wait a little bit until you’ve found a way to solve that issue. The positive effects of waiting until you’ve found a solution to your problem prior to telling your parents about that problem are overlooked.

Your parents will perceive you to be someone who has solutions to problems rather than simply one who complains about the problems they have. They’d perceive you to be achieving some sort of success in the competitive world around you, and they’d view you as a capable, independent problem solver.

Though this is difficult to do, you’d do well to not place unnecessary stress on your parents by excluding them from the battles that you partake in.  

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Disclaimer of Opinion: This article is presented only as opinion. It does not make any scientific, factual, or legal claims. Please critically analyze all claims made and independently decide on its validity.