Have you known any difficult older parents and secretly admired them? Have you always hoped to be a difficult older parent yourself, but somehow not yet succeeded? If so, do not despair! This goal is still within reach. I have twelve easy strategies to help YOU become a difficult older parent. Here are the first six. Stay tuned for the rest in Part 2.
1. START EARLY. You will leave much deeper impressions on your children if you start when they are very young. Capitalize on the natural readiness of healthy children to love, trust, and admire their parents, and their almost total lack of natural defenses against difficult parents.
2. START WITH THE BASICS. Practice being angry, arrogant, callous, critical, entitled, intrusive, irrational, sarcastic, and selfish. After mastering these, you can move on to more advanced skills.
3. DIVERSIFY YOUR APPROACH. Be creative. For example:
a. Never stand on ceremony, even if your kids call you intrusive;
b. Be open and honest about who your favorites are and aren’t;
c. Speak your truth, even if it hurts their feelings in the present;
d. Share your wisdom about life often, even if unappreciated in the moment; and
e. Make your own decisions about whom to trust with your important decisions, even if your kids call you gullible or irresponsible
4. RISE ABOVE MERE FACTS. Don’t let the truth stand in the way of a compelling story. Make liberal use of lies, innuendo, and hypocrisy.
5. ESTABLISH USEFUL BOUNDARIES. Insist that your adult children both tell you everything you ask them, and protect the family’s privacy (i.e. secrets) against outsiders. Keep your own cards close to your vest.
6. INVOLVE YOUR COMMUNITY. Share your disapproval of your adult children with friends. After all, it is not gossip if it is true, is it?
Stay tuned for Part 2, where we'll unveil even more strategies for fulfilling your difficult older parent dreams. See you then!
“My passion is ensuring that every adult is mentally ready to succeed in all transitions that comprise the adult years. The meaning in my life comes from helping my patients see themselves, their situation, their future, and the entire world with new eyes and a newly courageous attitude.