FAMILY COMES FIRST.
This is what we used to write in essays during our school times, but how many of us actually put family first over anything else? This is a personal question that only you can answer. In Asian or maybe non-Western cultures, most relationships between children and parents can be slightly strenuous because we were not raised to be open about love and care. Of course, this does not apply to all Asian households. As you grow older, you might want to bond with your parents or even improve your relationship with them, so here are some simple ways you can do so.
This is one of the simplest ways you can keep your relationship with your parents fresh and modern. Most of us do not live with our parents, some are working far from home or are already married. With WhatsApp, Messenger, Telegram, etc. these applications make it so much easier and cheaper to call your parents. Plus, you can send them funny GIFs and emojis even during lunch break at work just to make their day as well as reminding them that you are thinking of them.
Just remember to set up the same applications for them on their phones and guide them for the first few times! It does take a lot of patience teaching them technology, but hey, they did use to teach you how to use the toilet or brush your teeth for months before you knew how to function!
You do not have to do this only during special occasions like birthdays or anniversaries. In fact, you can do this on normal days, which makes it even more surprising and all the more fun.
You can always know your parents’ schedule beforehand and then plan your own leaves from work accordingly. Hop on a bus, take the train, or drive back to surprise them with a cake or a self-prepared meal to share with your parents. Believe me, that’s really all they need instead of expensive gifts.
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Once we are adults, we assume that our parents do not know about the current times and we tend to just make decisions for ourselves. Unknowingly, this could make your parents feel like they are left behind in your life decisions as if their input does not matter anymore.
Remember when you used to consult them on everything when you were young, even in college on how to cook? Now, just return that little happiness again to them. All they want is to feel included in your life even though you are already a big boy or girl.
You’re not obligated to report to them every day, just keep them updated on how you’re doing from time to time so that they get the reassurance knowing that you’re doing well. Our parents may be aging and their advice may not always be applicable as times change, but don’t be surprised if they occasionally offer better, wiser solutions for your decisions!
I understand this might be a challenge, especially as mentioned earlier about Asian households being more reserved; but hey, maybe it is time you take that first step to talk to them. You can choose to talk to both your parents at the same time or one by one.
Bring them to a place that they feel relaxed, sometimes it might just be the living room or garden. Start the conversation slowly because your parents might not be used to this kind of talk. There is a possibility of them being defensive or thinking you are intruding their life.
So, unless your family is used to deep talks, I suggest taking it slow. You will see that your parents would definitely have a lot of unique stories to share with you, especially now that you are older.
It is proven that hugs make us happy because it releases oxytocin, but science aside, most people love a good hug from the people they treasure! What makes it different for your parents? Who knows, they might need it even more after all these years.
So, as much as it might be awkward to hug a strict, reserved parent, just go for it. There is nothing bad that could come out of it, like them pushing you away or being rigid. They might be taken aback at first, but I’m pretty sure they would hug you back, tighter.
Your parents were also individuals with their own interests before getting married and having children. Predictably, after having a family, they may have abandoned their personal interests or just completely forgotten about it and focused on raising you.
Dig them out. Ask your parents or flip through old albums to find out their favourite activities or hobbies. I am fairly sure your mom and dad have more hobbies other than cooking or reading newspapers.
Once you figure out what they like doing, encourage them to pursue that again by joining them. Attend the sewing class with your dad or accompany your mom to her computer lessons. Watch how they grow and glow when their interests are at heart, plus being able to share that with their beloved kids.
It does not always take money to bond and improve your relationship with your parents. It is all in the simple and small things of life that we forget to dedicate to them. Keep in mind that they are getting older as we grow, hence cherish the moments that you have with them because in the end, memories are what is left of a person.