Threenager Vs. Senioroddler and Other Insights Into Daughtering My Parents


They don’t listen. They do what they want. They always need a snack. Listening to reason, what’s that? They need a nap. They need help with their tech devices. Crowds might be overstimulating at times. They have no concept of time. They’re quirky. They give me a million reasons to laugh. Sometimes you have to hide it though, you know because you’re laughing at them. I also have a million reasons to worry…like when they fall down. They need short, concise steps for directions or explanations. Sometimes my patience is beyond exhausted. At other times, (ashamedly) I have run out. Sometimes you have to trick them into compliance with your wishes (or call for backup). I wish I was describing the toddlers in my life or even my teen, but…nope! Sometimes this momma really has her hands full interacting, or “daughtering” her parents (who are both mid-sixties and 100% boomers). 

Has anyone else noticed the uncanny parallels between your parents and your kids? Each day I’ve seen my aging senior citizen parents pass through their own stages. The years have been adding up and turning quickly into decades. The kiddo, the nieces, and nephew just keep sprouting and entering and exiting stages almost as quickly as they got there. However, I think I need to start tracking and labeling some of my parents’ own stages too lol! 

daughtering my parents

Their aging has brought about benefits too like all the beautiful memories made and love felt during their many many anniversaries, surprise 60th birthday parties, and dad’s retirement. Likewise, watching them learn and grow as grandparents with the addition of each new baby in the family is truly beautiful, even if it’s mostly a lot of spoiling a.k.a McDonald’s money, double dessert (YES! Double) SIDEBAR: Yes I was upset! Yes we argued. I’m wiser now, I know Grandma Rules will outmatch an adamant parent protest) Heck, they even tuck Benjamin’s into the grandkids’ pockets at times. And yet, I find myself needing, no, wanting to parent my parents more and more with the passing of time. Is there a term for this? I’d describe it as a combination of dutiful responsibility and the love of a child for their parent. But just like anything and everything else, I’m trying to find balance. I’m trying to understand my role; the do’s the don’ts, surely I’m not alone.

I’m somewhere in the middle of navigating the course of being a caring daughter to parents who themselves have been such good caretakers for so long and the need to be a caregiver to them now. At present, they have each other, their own home, financial resources, etc. yet I worry about these small-town, from the “Rancho” folks. From using technology to almost getting ripped off at the car dealership, to navigating traffic in big cities, to their diet, blood pressure, diabetes, everything – I worry. Then, this pandemic and some of their health concerns during it definitely shed light on the stark reality that they are aging. So what can I do? 

daughtering my parents

What do you do? No, really. I’d like to know. Navigating this chapter feels like uncharted waters most of the time, so any advice is appreciated. Perhaps my daughtering plan should follow my parenting style. With that in mind, every day, I’ll just try my best. Don’t overreact. Don’t coddle. Don’t hover. Don’t smother. Be kind. Be patient. Be loving. Do the things both small and grand that help them on their journey. Rely on your siblings to step in too. Thanks, sis for giving them the Netflix tutorial and coordinating the Shipt delivery. In my early college days, my doctor told my mom, the “smother, ” that she needed to let me fly free. Perhaps it’s time for me to reciprocate – well you know at arms reach.         



  1. Adriana,

    Great Blog. It’s a juggling act. Raising your own child and now, the worry of looking after parents is alot. Living far away complicates how to manage issues as they occur.

    Watching our parents age is hard to do. We may see them having poor judgement and vulnerable to others taking of them. Yet, they demand their independence.
    Try to remember, in all we need to do in helping aging parents, allow them to keep their dignity.
    Bossing the parents, telling them what to do, probably won’t work.
    Suggestions in a form of choices and asking them, what they want may be better received.

    Any concerns you have should be discussed with your parents. Ask them, when you feel their safety is at risk, what is the plan to keep them safely at home?
    What do they want if staying safe or health issues no longer allow one or both of them to remain in their home? What is the plan? What are their wishes?

    Having this discussion when there isn’t a crisis unfolding will give you clear direction. Nothing is worse than not having had “the talk” as to what they want, and you having to make this decision for them on the heels of a hospital discharge.

    It’s alot of pressure.

    I hope these helpful hints are useful to you!

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