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Always a Parent: Worries About Adult Children

    Maternal or paternal instinct isnít something that can be shut off once a child reaches a certain age. In the midst of your concern for your parent, he or she is also worried about you. That concern, that love, has been a cornerstone in your relationship. Itís not about to suddenly change now.

       Your mother canít help but worry when she sees how much her problems and her needs stretch your patience, your strength, your schedule. She knows youíre overworked, frightened, and sad. You can tell her not to worry, but she does anyway. She sees the truth.

       Here are some things you can do to help ease your parentís mind ó and yours:

       --Talk with your parent during a calm time. Let Dad know that if you feel thereís some part of caring for him that you canít handle, you will admit it and get help from someone who can. Let him know that youíre going to take care of yourself, too: by going to a support group or out with a friend. Your parent will be happier knowing youíre looking out for yourself.

       --Understand that Mom may suddenly seem like such a busybody because youíre around her more than you have been in recent years and sheís more aware of your daily ups and downs. Maybe youíre upset because your child was sent to the principalís office this morning or the car repair isnít going to be completed for three more days. Your mother didnít used to know about these things in any detail. Now she does. When youíre down, for whatever reason, she wants to solve the problem or offer possible solutions. Gently thank her for her concern but let her know you can handle it.

       --Remember that you donít have control over your parentís worry. Even though you reassure your dad that he doesnít have to worry, he does. Youíll say, ďDonít worry,Ē and heíll sit there and worry anyway.

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