5 Things You Should Know About Parenting Your Parents


As parents age, they eventually rely on their children to care for them. The shift in roles can be difficult. So blogger Whitney Hopler shares some tips on parenting your parents.

“I need some help,” my mom called out from a bathroom in my house. As I walked down the hall toward her, I struggled with mixed emotions: alarm, concern, and compassion all motivated me, but embarrassment made me hesitate before opening the door.

Sitting on the toilet, Mom looked at me with the same bewildered expression I saw on my toddler son’s face when he couldn’t do something he wanted to do. Her voice shook with emotion as she softly told me that she couldn’t stand up. The chemotherapy she had gone through lately to treat leukemia had sapped her muscle strength.

“I hate to ask you this, but will you pull me up and help me get my pants back on?” Mom asked. Then she began to cry – something I rarely had ever seen my usually strong and cheerful mom do. Tears ran down my face, too, as I pulled her up.

Mom had to depend on me like a child in that moment. We had switched parent/child roles, and it was challenging for both of us.

When our parents get sick or grow old, we often become their caregivers, and when that happens they rely on us like we used to rely on them growing up. Our roles shift, and we have to figure out how to parent our parents.

Here are 5 things you should know during the challenging time of parenting your parents: