- Social distancing is an important practice that must be adopted by all during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, explaining its importance to the elderly may be very challenging.
- If your parents are less likely to heed your advice, then seek the assistance of someone they trust, such as a pastor, a sibling, or a family friend.
- Ensure that your parents get accurate, evidence-based information from reliable sources like the CDC.
Discussions between parents and their children on this subject are usually stressful, and in some cases lead to annoyance and frustration on both sides.
If your parent treats the CDC guidelines on hygiene and social distancing with levity, here are some tips that can help you converse respectfully and effectively with them.
Ensure that you’re are the right person for the conversation
It is a fact that children, no matter how old or young they may be, might not be in the best position to educate their parents about habits (social and hygiene) related to the SARS-CoV-2.
It is also a fact that many seniors still see their children (adults) as kids. If you are in such a situation, you’re better off hiring a trusted messenger for the job.
Consider that person that your parent is comfortable with, that person they trust. It may be a pastor, a sibling, or a family friend.
Do not come from a place of control, but of love
Make it clear to your parents that the reason for having this conversation with them is because of how much you love them, and how much you desire to seem them live healthily for many years to come. Most times, this conversation may feel like it is about control. But you have to let them know that it isn’t.
Ask many questions
Begin all conversations with curiosity and respect. There’s no need to bring in righteousness & condescension. An adult child may be right, but then, no matter how right the child thinks he or she is, it certainly doesn’t inspire a fully functional parent.
You have to ask your parents as many questions as you can so you can understand the driving force behind their behavior. Pay close attention to their responses. Once you get where they are coming from, express it to them verbally that you understand their point of view.
Usually, people’s behavior changes when we figure out their driving force. Thereafter, you can assist your parents to identify and change their behavior. This is very different compared to instructing them on what to do.
Information shared with your parents should come from trustworthy sources
Inquire from your parents their source of information. Most members of the older generation subscribe to sources that have downplayed the pandemic, stating that social distancing and lockdowns are unnecessary.
Ensure that your parents get the right information, science-based information, from the CDC and other trustworthy sources.
Accept that no one can control you except you
So, even if you can’t win your parents over, you still have to show them love, respect, and support.
Every older adult needs connectedness during this time, so, educate your parents on new ways to connect, and make sure you stay connected.