Strengthening Adult Relationships with Fathers Part 3

On Sunday we celebrated Father's day. This week we are discussing things we can do (as adults) to strengthen our relationships with our Fathers. As I am reading the previous blogs, I really believe these can be used for our relationships with our Mom as well. Our relationships with our parents naturally change over the years. I think it takes us some time to realize things aren't they way they used to be when we were dependent on them for everything. It's not a bad different, it's just good to realize it's different. 

Be Realistic with Your Expectations

I am not sure when I made the shift, but at some point I realized my Dad couldn't be "Super Dad" anymore. He was still strong and healthy, but he didn't have the same energy and resources he used to have. I needed to lower my expectations of what he could and couldn't do. For example, my Dad's hearing is slowly deteriorating from working in the factory all those years. At first it frustrated me. But eventually I realized he can't help it and "I" needed to adjust. I needed to quit expecting him to be able to hear! Now I make sure I talk loudly (and remind myself not to mumble) and look at him when I speak so he can read my lips as well. 

As all of us get older we get more stuck in our ways. With our parents, it can often be frustrating to realize some things are not going to change. They are probably the way they are going to be at this point. We can either fight it and try to change them (it's not gonna happen!) or adjust to them. Accept them for who they are and what they can and cannot give or be at this point. Try to enjoy them for who they are and not what you want them to be. I realize with some parents with severe problems such as addictions this can be very challenging. I'm not saying to keep engaging all the time. I'm just saying when you must be around them, try to accept things as they are so you can be realistic with yourself and what you can and cannot do with them or for them. 

I encourage you to look at your parent's life, their circumstances both present and past, and see what is realistic to expect from them at this point. Then try living from that vantage point and accept them for who they are. See if being around them is more enjoyable and less stressful on you. 

Thank you for reading today! Joleen will share the most important blog tomorrow.....stay tuned! 

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.