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15 Things Every Parent Wants Their Children To Know After They Grow Up

15 Things Every Parent Wants Their Children To Know After They Grow Up

One of the most important things you can tell your kids is not to lose touch once they grow up! After all, lonely parents are abound: their kids have grown up, moved away, and may not make an effort to keep in touch. The family is a precious unit but most of all, parents should never be forgotten. Here are some common parental fears shared by all.

1. Don’t abandon us.

Yes, we know you had to leave the country for your job. Call us more often on the phone or via Skype. You will remember how we were always there for you when you needed us. Don’t let us become another statistic in that which says that half of the over 75s in the UK live alone with just the TV for company.

2. Look after us.

We had to look after you when you were ill, when you were upset, or when you grazed your knees while playing. Now that we are much more vulnerable, and liable to have not just aches and pains but major illnesses, pay us back in kind. Remember how you were taught to be responsible and do the chores? That helped you to become more resilient. You can do the same for us now by making sure that your responsibilities have not yet ended, regardless of physical distance. We don’t want a law passed, like in China, where children are legally obliged to look after their parents’ physical and mental needs. You don’t need a law because you still love us, just like we loved you all your life.

3. Work hard.

“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” Theodore Roosevelt.

The work ethic was strong in our family. We worked hard and honestly and taught you the work ethics which you probably did not realize at the time. Now that you are working, teach your kids the same and never take short cuts by manipulating others, being lazy, or shunning hard work.

4. Watch your manners.

How many times did we complain about your table manners? That was just the beginning in teaching you to be a well-mannered kid. Nowadays, bad manners such as loud talking on the phone, not covering mouth or nose when coughing and sneezing, and not offering their seat on public transport are everywhere. The next time you see that elderly person standing, remember that s/he was once a parent!

5. Be grateful.

“The best way that I can express my gratitude to my parents is by showing how much I care for them, express how much I love them, and showing them how they influenced me as a son to be successful in all that I’m going to do in the future.” – Inno Martin, actor

How many times did we teach you to say thank you and to be grateful for all the blessings life gave you? We always knew that you were precious and remarkable, and we were so thankful for that too.

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6. Help others.

Never forget how we taught you to give and pay it forward every single day. Each one of us has the capacity to brighten someone’s life. It is uplifting for the giver and the receiver. But the giver gets a greater sense of satisfaction and contentment.

7. Make allowances for our age.

When you come to visit, make a few adjustments in what you expect from us. We cannot move as quickly as forty years ago or remember everything! Think about when we had to teach you to eat, walk, read, and learn. Now, it’s your turn to be a little bit more patient.

“Listen to your father who gave you life, and do not despise your mother when she is old.” – Proverbs 23:22

8. Stop fussing.

Don’t try and ruin our independence. It is the most precious gift we have. We too will learn from our mistakes in middle and old age. We allowed you to take the same risks and grow up when you were at school or going out on your first date. Just be there when we really do need you.

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9. Remember our milestones.

We always remember your birthdays and anniversaries. A simple gesture and one that shows we still love and care for you, as always. Don’t forget to do the same for us. We are quite flexible — a note, message, text, or a call on Skype. But it does not always have to be a special event; messages out of the blue are even better!

10. Look after yourself.

As parents we taught you to stay well and be happy. We encouraged you to do sports and to avoid eating junk food. Never forget those principles and avoid the trap of poor diet or exercise habits and being stressed out at work. Martin Seligman, a great advocate of positive psychology, was right when he said that psychologists need to study what makes happy people happy.

11. Learn to forgive.

In one alarming survey, only 58% children who were estranged from their parents wanted to restore the relationship. There is a deeper rift and estrangement is just a way of never resolving the problem. If you have grown distant in every sense of the word, let us repair the bridges and allow us to end our lives in love. The only way forward is to resolve the issues, find common ground and to forgive. We never let you nurse a grievance when you were young because we wanted to be there for you.

12. We respect your privacy and maturity.

Lots of parents plague their grown up children with questions about their lifestyle, marital status, and even their weight! We respect your privacy and we are making the effort to follow Ruth Nemzoff’s advice in Don’t Bite Your Tongue: How To Foster Rewarding Relationships With Your Adult Children. We just have one request: please help us to maintain our autonomy as long as our health and finances permit.

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13. We are here for you.

My father would say, “They’re worse than when they were babies” when we ran into trouble at work or in relationships. But that exasperation was a mere cover for genuine love and concern. We need to show you that we are always on hand for advice and hope you will do the same for us.

14. Patience is needed.

When you live at home, you do not want to hear the same old mantras about tidiness and communication all over again. Living together again requires that privacy is respected on both sides and that economic factors are going to play a large role before you become autonomous. A much better plan is to work out how and when we expect you to achieve full adulthood responsibility.

15. Cherish the memories.

Our only goal now is that we can end our days being cherished by you, wherever you may be. We know that challenges of elder care, financial burdens, and failing health may be daunting, but the best memories are the time and laughter we enjoyed together. That is the greatest gift of all!

Featured photo credit: Teaching a parent how to use Skype /Knight Foundation via flickr.com

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Published on April 7, 2021

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

6 Signs Of A Controlling Person To Be Aware Of

Some of the most manipulative people are so good at what they do that their words and actions can convince you into thinking they truly care about what’s best for you when in reality, it’s quite the opposite. The most common signs of a controlling person are rarely obvious to outside observers. And for someone enmeshed in a controlling relationship or friendship, it can be incredibly challenging to stay away from this toxic person, even if you’re aware of their emotionally abusive tendencies.

While it’s ultimately up to you to decide whether to preserve or leave a lopsided, unfulfilling relationship, it’s nevertheless critical to understand the following six signs of controlling people so you can better advocate for yourself and mitigate the influence of their manipulative tendencies in your own life.

1. They Push Their Own Personal Agenda

Do you know someone who always tries to micromanage the words, behaviors, and attitudes of people around them? Does this person act like they have the right to know anything they want about you, including your location, what you’re doing in a given moment, who you’re talking to online, or any other private information about you? And when planning events and special occasions, does this person dominate conversations, steer plans in their own preferred directions, disparage others’ suggestions, and refuse to collaborate with anyone who might disagree with them?

If you answered “yes” to some of the above questions, then those are clear signs of a controlling person whom you absolutely need to be cautious around. Controlling people are reluctant to even consider alternative ideas, let alone enthusiastically work with people who have differing views. They prefer to be the captain of every ship—regardless of how much or how little an issue personally impacts them—and they have an arsenal of manipulative tactics to deploy if someone stands in the way of them achieving their own personal agendas.

In long-term relationships with controlling people, you may feel constantly pressured to meet their demands, follow their schedule, and focus on whatever they feel is most important. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these people act like the universe revolves around them, which can be exhausting to deal with for their family members, friends, and colleagues.

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2. They Make Everything Transactional

Controlling people aren’t always self-centered, but they’re not too empathetic either. Empathy for them tends to appear in the form of strategic concessions they use as a means to get what they want. They typically view interpersonal relationships as transactional opportunities to extract more value from people surrounding them, which can have a draining effect on those they interact with.

For example, one sign of a controlling person may be their insistence on “keeping score.” This can involve doing nice things for you with the ulterior motive of demanding something from you at a later date in exchange for what you thought was just an act of kindness or a friendly support.

Perhaps they shower you in praise (also known as “love-bombing”) or gifts then blow up at you if you don’t intuitively know they’re expecting something back from you. None of us are mind-readers, but controlling people behave as though everyone else should think and act like they want others to and those who fall out of line are punished for failing to meet their impossible expectations.

A controlling person may also threaten to withhold support if you don’t adhere to their demands, but they do so in such subtle ways that the guilt they impose blinds you from the unreasonable nature of their behaviors.

Some statements to be wary of include:

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  • “I did ___________ for you. What do you mean you can’t do ___________ for me?”
  • “Remember how I helped you with ___________? That took a lot of time and energy from me, but I guess you didn’t appreciate my help.”
  • “I always give you ___________. Don’t you care about my needs too?”
  • “You’re so selfish!” or “You don’t care about me at all!” (gaslighting if you respond with hesitation or politely decline their request for help for perfectly valid reasons, such as not having enough time or resources to assist them)

3. They Criticize Everything

One of the most common telltale signs of a controlling person is their capacity to criticize anything and everything, even small things that seemingly don’t matter. As with many toxic traits in relationships, these problems typically start out so small that you may not even notice. At first, you may even agree with their criticism or at least be able to understand their perspective when they bring up an issue.

However, the criticism tends to get more intense, more constant, and more perplexing for people who maintain relationships with controlling people. You’ll likely notice how they rarely seem to criticize something they do. It’s almost always other-oriented and these types of people are so manipulative that any rationale they offer can seem plausibly legitimate.

Some warning signs of a controlling person who’s overly critical to the point of abusiveness include:

  • Criticizing things about you that you have little to no control over (e.g., appearance, disability, family)
  • Criticizing your personal choices and interests, such as educational pursuits, career, clothing, favorite music, time spent on your hobbies, etc.
  • Punishing you for expressing vulnerability by invalidating thoughts and feelings you share with them
  • Attacking you whenever you express an opinion counter to theirs

4. They Balk When Someone Criticizes Them

We all know the adage, “what goes around, comes around.” But this statement doesn’t apply as much to toxic, controlling people. They’d much prefer to dish out criticism without ever having to take it in return.

For instance, if your friend constantly talks about your appearance with little regard for your emotions but flips out if you make just a single comment about their appearance, there’s a possibility that they could have some hidden controlling tendencies left unchecked. Remember, these people aren’t just controlling in their behaviors towards others. They’re also actively trying to stay in complete control over every aspect of their lives, which includes how others view them.

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This seemingly insatiable desire for control can prompt them to lash out against even the smallest bits of criticism, leaving people around them too weary or scared to speak up again in the future. While it’s possible they may suffer from something called rejection sensitivity dysphoria, this does not excuse them from the consequences of their words and actions. They should seek professional help to better manage their reactions to criticism.

5. They Socially Isolate You

Not all controlling people do this, but for manipulative narcissists, socially isolating victims is a go-to strategy for maintaining control because it’s effective at preventing people from truly understanding how toxic their partner, family member, or friend is treating them. Think of it this way—if you don’t talk to many other people in your life, there’s less of a risk that you’ll damage their reputation by revealing their abusive tendencies.

Socially isolating others also gives the person more control over you and your life as it becomes more difficult to break away from them if you don’t have other healthier channels of communication and interpersonal support to turn to.

This process doesn’t happen overnight, nor is it something you can readily recognize as abusive. At first, it may seem reasonable, such as asking you to stop engaging so often with family members with whom both of you disagree on major social or political issues. As the social isolation progresses, they may suggest cutting people out of your life—especially if they don’t like that person, regardless of how you personally feel—or even conjure up high-stakes problems like “it’s me or them” under the guise of saving you from people in your life whom they don’t like for whatever reason.

In a controlling person’s life narrative, they’re always the protagonist who’s incapable of any wrongdoing. The blame is always redirected at someone else, whether that’s you or other people in your life. The more they isolate you from other supportive people in your life, the more susceptible you’ll be to falsely believing that they’re right and you “don’t need” your other friends and family when you have someone as perfect as this person.

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6. They’re Emotionally Abusive

It’s hard enough to be in control of your own emotions but when someone else is constantly belittling you and your interests or leveraging guilt and shame to manipulate you into saying or doing what they want, this can make it even more challenging to stay in control of your own life and emotional well-being.

Emotional abuse is another sign of a controlling person that is often overlooked in relationships. After all, human personalities vary widely in terms of passivity, and it’s not uncommon for one person in a relationship to be significantly more passive than the other. This becomes an issue when the controlling partner or friend exudes signs of emotional abuse, which can start subtly and become much more pronounced over time.

Concerning signs of emotionally abusive language or behavior to watch out for include:

  • Dismissing your needs and/or belittling your interests in counterproductive ways
  • Privately or publicly shaming or humiliating you
  • Making you feel as though you can never live up to their expectations or do anything right (according to their own vague, subjective standards)
  • Gaslighting you into thinking they said or did something that never actually happened (making you question your own reality)

Final Thoughts

It’s sometimes hard to see the negative things about someone with whom we have a relationship. We may sometimes unconsciously overlook the signs of a controlling person, especially if that person is someone we have known for a long time or are close to us. However, cutting them off your life is the best thing you can do for yourself. Just watch out for these six signs of a controlling person and take immediate action when you spot them.

More Tips on How To Deal With a Controlling Person

Featured photo credit: Külli Kittus via unsplash.com

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