Many parents long to hear from their adult children, but the phone doesn’t ring. As adult children, try placing yourself in your parents' shoes. Knowing how much you love your children, picture yourselves wishing to hear from them, wanting to know they are safe, and hoping they care enough to call and check on you. How would you feel if they rarely called you? Parents never stop caring about their children, and they hope their children never stop caring about them.
In a conversation with a group of unrelated older parents and adult children the subject of calling parents was discussed. The responses of both groups were revealing. We’ll reduce their comments down to two categories.
1. Reasons why adult children don’t call their parents, according the child
“It’s the parent’s responsibility to call the children.”
“I’m too busy with my own kids trying to make their lives happen.”
“I’m involved in my job and don’t have time.”
“When I call my mother she pours out all her troubles on me. It’s too much.”
“I don’t want to get involved in a long conversation.”
“Time passes, and I just forget.”
2. Reasons why adult children should call their parents, according to the parents
“I want to know they and my grandkids are okay.”
“I don’t always want to be the one to call them. I feel like I may be intruding.”
“So often when I call I get an answering machine. Why can’t anyone just pick up and say 'hello?' If it’s not a good time they can ask to call back later.”
“Calls from them don’t need to be often, but at least 2 or 3 times a month. I can call, too. Sharing the calling is nice.”
“When my child calls and says ‘I was just thinking about you, Mom. How are you doing?’ it makes me so happy.”
“I want them to care about what's happening in my life, and I want to know what's happening in theirs.”
“When I’m ill, and my son calls to check on me I’m comforted when he says ‘I’ll be praying for you.’”
A few final thoughts to consider
Most calls don't need to be long. Just a quick call of concern and a loving comment will mean the world to a parent.
Some calls may need to be a little longer. Keep in mind that you don’t have to solve your children or your parents' problems. That’s their job. However, allowing them to talk about it can help them find relief. Just the sharing process will open up new ideas in their own minds that will lead to a solution. Instead of telling them what to do, ask, “What are you going to do?” That will lead them to their own good solution.
Sometimes children only call when they need something. These requests may be for babysitting, money, or borrowing items (which they too often fail to return). How refreshing when a child calls just to say “I love you,” without asking for something.
One day your parents will pass on from this life. Will you have regrets or will you be wrapped in the peace that comes to those who have taken the time to enjoy their loved ones? It’s your choice. Be a blessing to your parents, not a lonely spot in their hearts.