I read some research on children and parents that has kept me thinking about myself, my children and parents, and bringing it up with others. There were two major points. One, children perceive their parents as the parents they were, raising their family. I’ve often felt that way that my children still relate to me as a parent and Mom, which makes sense, but as the same Mom I was when they were growing up. They now have children of their own.
The research went on to say that the only time adult children relate to the parent as aging and changing is if a serious disease or injury occurs. Then there is a huge adjustment required and the children step into the role of parenting the parent.
When I run that by my friends with children, everyone agrees it is true. However, when I ran it by a friend without children, the response was, “No way. I am very aware of my maturing along with my parents. I certainly have way more consideration for them than ever before. Finally, we are all adults.”
A second point was that losing a parent leaves a huge hole that cannot be filled. I was so close with my parents that when my father died, a few friends said that they always thought my parents and I shared a house or that they lived very close by, maybe next door or upstairs or downstairs. I talked about Ruthie and Nat so often that peers and acquaintances were very surprised to learn that my family was eight and a half hours away in Richmond, Virginia.
Funny, reading the research made me ponder and consider, but I’m not sure what to do with the information. What do you think?