Welcome back to our two-part series, where we complete the set of one dozen steps to mastering the art of being a difficult older parent. Prepare to embrace your inner parenting diva, the fountainhead of family turbulence.
7. CLAIM YOUR RIGHTS. Tell your children that they owe you respect and tolerance because you raised them.
8. CELEBRATE YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS. Make sure everyone knows about your righteous efforts to fix your offspring. With a little luck, you’ll damage your kids enough to make them difficult to their kids, too.
9. BE PERSISTENT AND STEADFAST. Becoming a difficult parent takes practice. Resolve to work at it every day. Ignore distractions. Do not be moved by your children’s pitiful complaints or disrespectful accusations of you. Your feelings are more important than theirs. After all, they are now adults, and no one promised them a rose garden. If they really want to achieve more peace in their relationship with you or overcome the trauma you have already inflicted on them, let them find my book, Loving Hard-to-Love Parents: A Handbook for Adult Children of Difficult Older Parents, on their own.
10. MAKE THEIR SPECIAL MOMENT YOUR SPECIAL MOMENT. Let’s face it, who cares about your kid's first steps or graduation day, when you can bask in the glory of being the true star of their life’s sitcom? Remember, you didn’t just raise them, you practically invented them. So when they win that Nobel Prize or land a dream job, don’t forget to thank yourself for the award-winning performance of being their parent.
11. NEVER MISS AN OPPORTUNITY TO START A FIGHT DURING A MEAL. Why savor a delicious meal when you can savor the sweet taste of family drama? It’s like getting a gourmet dinner and a front-row seat to a reality TV show, all in one.
12. INVEST IN THE FUTURE. Remember to alienate your grandchildren, too.
Satire aside, the sad reality is that difficult older parents ARE a reality. I have worked with them and their families for over forty years. If I can be of assistance to you, I hope you will contact me.
“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.