Do you remember what it was like to be a kid? We often looked up to the adults, counting the days to when we would be in charge, and get to call the shots. There were likely lots of adulting perks you were looking forward to: staying up late, eating what you want when you want, making your own money, and having your own kids to boss around.
But you know what’s the true test of your adulting skills? How well you’ve raised your parents. The benefits of raising your parents to be good, well-adjusted caregivers, are numerous. For instance, you can count on increased trust and freedom, larger allowances, and expensive gifts when they can afford them.
All of this sounds lovely, but how do we achieve this? Here’s an easy 4-step guide to get you started.
Step 1: Make them Proud
When you’re a kid, teenager, or college-aged adult, you have one job. Do well in school. If you’ve tried, and the grades aren’t showing the results, then at least let your parents know you’re really putting in the work. Do your homework. Study hard for your tests. Ask them for help. Even if they can’t help you, they will remember that you cared enough to seek assistance.
Outside of academics, you can also find extracurricular activities that match your hobbies. This could range from debate to soccer to chess to foreign languages or books. Being passionate about something, and even better, being good at it, is a great way to earn forgiveness for poor grades, and compliment good ones.
In short, give them something to be proud of.
Step 2: Restrain Yourself
The truth is, most good parents want to give us everything they can. If your parents are not from a wealthy background, then they often want to give you all the things and all the opportunities they never had at your age.
But if you want the big gifts, you’ll need to learn to say no to the small ones. Don’t ask for things you don’t need. If every time you see something, you start begging to have it, your parents will eventually become overwhelmed by your neediness.
For those of us who rarely ask for anything, when we do ask, we’re rarely denied. Because of this, we can almost always count on getting that big gift come Christmas or on our birthday, as long our parents can afford it.
Remember: people are usually more likely to give generously to those who don’t pressure them continuously into giving.
Step 3: Communicate
Parents are nosy, especially when you hit those teen years, and then into early adulthood. They want to know how school is, who your friends are, who you might be romantically interested in, and whether or not you’re being a good kid.
Most teens and adults respond to this by clamming up, and resorting to all sorts of secretive means to keep their parents out of their business. Don’t. Do the opposite. Bombard your parents with so much information that they’ll be only too happy when you pause for air.
Soon, not only will they stop prying, but they will learn to trust you more. After all, you’ve shown them you have nothing to hide. Increased trust means more privacy, and a lot more freedom.
But spend it wisely, or you’ll lose every last ounce of it. Building trust is a lot easier than trying to regain it, once lost.
Step 4: Observe
When it comes to raising parents, just doing isn’t enough. You must observe. All parents are different, and what works on one, may not work on the other. You must tailor your plan based on factors, such as:
- How traditional your parents are
- The rules of the household
- What your parents consider to be “good grades”
- What is considered appropriate family conversation
- The personalities of your parents
- The kind of relationship you currently have with your parents
Most importantly, you must find out if your parents actually care about your well-being, even if you don’t agree with their methods.
If your parents don’t really care about you, your grades, your friends, or your interests, then don’t waste your time trying to raise them. Spend that time and effort on raising and preparing yourself to get out, and get as far away from them as possible.
For those of you with well-meaning parents, I know these steps will turn your parents into well-behaved adults in no time. Good luck!
About the Author
Alexis Chateau is the Founder of College Mate and Managing Director at Alexis Chateau PR. She is an activist, writer, and explorer. Follow her stories of trial and triumph at www.alexischateau.com.