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Are Your Parents Driving You Crazy?
How to Resolve the Most Common Dilemmas with Aging Parents
by Joseph A. Ilardo, PhD, LCSW, and Carole R. Rothman, PhD

Excerpts from Chapter 1
"Harsh (and Not So Harsh) Realities"

1. Your parents may not come around to your way of thinking.
If your parents are driving you crazy, you're probably doing battle with them over some concern you have. For example, you may dislike the way they are living or the way they are handling their money. Your parents have their own ideas, and they aren't at all the same as yours. Trying to impose your will over theirs, however, is likely to have one of four effects: (1) your parents will stop talking with you; (2) they will become even more stubborn; (3) they will comply grudgingly, with anger and resentment, and may then do their best to undermine your efforts; or (4) they will surrender to you altogether and become completely dependent on you.

Openly communicating with your parents doesn't guarantee they will see things your way or do what you want. You must be willing to give a little, to find a compromise, which may mean accepting an outcome that falls short of your wishes.

7. There is almost certainly no single "right" answer to the problem you are having with your parents.
There is seldom one "right" answer to any human problem. And even if you believe you have found the solution, trying to force it on your parents can be downright destructive. It is far better to think in terms of alternatives, which gives everyone some breathing room. In this book, we've avoided a "single solution" approach by offering at least two or three alternatives. When a particular alternative seems more appropriate than others, we often give specific examples of things to say or do. We also teach you problem-solving methods that you can apply to any situation, present or future.

11. If a family member has never been emotionally connected to the family, don't expect a change now.
If your brother has always been emotionally remote, and if he and your parents have never gotten along well, it would be senseless to expect him to jump in and offer to help take care of them. Save your breath. Don't ask. (However, if he is the type to write a check, thinking this fulfills his familial obligations, then it may be worth asking for financial help. Still, don't be too surprised if he says no.)
Similarly, if your sister, who has always remained uninvolved with the family, agrees to help with the caregiving, don't expect her to be gracious about it. This sets you up for disappointment and places a burden on her. Ideally, everyone does things with a "good heart," but we do not live in an ideal world. Accept that your sister may be willing to shop for Mom but not especially glad to do it.
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