Though we love our parents, there are times when maintaining the parent-child bond can be incredibly difficult. As we face the challenges of career changes, starting our own families, and trying to make ends meet, our parents are confronting retirement, health concerns, and apprehension about the future. It’s only natural that these issues affect our relationships. However, as we change and mature into adulthood, so too must our relationship with our parents evolve.
Fortunately, the foundation of love, shared memories, and mutual respect you have with your parents can make it easy to forge an adult relationship with them. In fact, you may even find it to be far more fulfilling than the connection you’ve had since childhood. If you’re looking for specific ways to bond with your boomer parents, consider the following:
Create A Photo Album
Reminiscing is a favorite pastime for just about everyone. There’s something so wonderful about wrapping ourselves up in nostalgia for a while. Creating a photo album with your parents is a great way to reminisce together and bond over memories. The finished product will serve as a memory in and of itself, and also a wonderful heirloom to pass on.
As you create the album, ask open-ended questions about the people, places, and things in your parents’ photos. You’ll learn more about your family history while your parents enjoy a trip down memory lane. Besides, uncovering memories is a good brain exercise for people of all ages, especially seniors. While you’re in the process of digging through and curating old photos, take a moment to scan them and upload them to the cloud. There’s no better time to digitize than the present.
Share a Hobby
One of the best ways to form deep-rooted connections with your parents is to find common interests and participate in them together. Whether it’s crafting, playing sports, or reading the same books, sharing experiences will create lasting memories. Spend a day doing something together (a project, sports, etc.) and actively bond over the activity. My stepmother and I often spend entire afternoons crafting together — an experience that always leaves me with happy memories.
Listen To Music
There’s no question we millennials love our music. The success of streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora are a testament to that. However, we don’t tend to interact with our music the same way our parents do. For them, listening to music is an experience to be relished on its own. My dad described how as a young man, he’d put a record on, lay back in his bed with the album cover in his lap, and really focus on every element in every song. Sometimes he’d invite friends over just to listen to an album together.
Millennials, on the other hand, are multitaskers. Rarely are we just listening to music. We’ll listen to music while commuting, working, running errands, and exercising. Even when we’re jamming out to our favorite tunes at home, we’re also cooking, doing chores, gaming, or surfing the net. It’s not that we don’t respect music enough to take a moment and appreciate it by itself, it’s just that we’re so damn busy!
The next time you’re with your parents, take a page out of their book and spend some time together listening to your favorite bands. Trade off one song for another, and look for common denominators in the type of music you both like. For instance, since my dad and I share a love for the Beatles, I figured he’d enjoy the Foo Fighters (they have some very Beatle-esque music). Now we’re fans of both bands together!
Play Board Games
If you’re still of the opinion that board games are for kids, you’re missing out on some serious entertainment. As a die-hard tabletop gamer, I love to get together with my friends at least once a month for a game night. There’s always tons of laughter and fun to be had.
A game night with your parents is a fantastic way to bond while having fun at the same time. Plan to play one game from their childhood (my mom loves to destroy me at Scrabble) and one modern game (Joking Hazard is a favorite at my house). Make sure there are plenty of snacks to munch on and drinks to sip throughout the game.
Plan Regular “Dates”
No matter how busy you are with work, relationships, or school, it’s important to set time aside every month (at the very least) to see your parents. Making the effort to see them face to face and spend time together demonstrates that you care and are interested in maintaining a relationship with them. Take your parents out to dinner, go see a movie, hit the road for a scenic car ride — try something different each time. Not only will you enjoy the activity, you’ll also enjoy spending quality time with your parents.
Though we may grow up, we never stop needing the love and support of our parents. That’s why continuing to nurture that bond is so important. So go plan a fun day of activities with your parents. You’ll all appreciate it in the long run.
What are your favorite ways to spend time with your parents?
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