Monday, March 21, 2011


One of the common traits of dysfunctional families is the unwillingness to confront wrong or bad situations and behaviors. Although dealing with someone should be done as gingerly and diplomatically as possible, truth and righteousness must eventually be spoken. Otherwise, the unwanted behavior will continue and frustration will grow in heaps. Especially when dealing with a live-in parent, confronting dysfunctional or incompatible situations is very difficult. In deference to their parent, the adult-child is hesitant to face up to the parent. Additionally, the adult-child fears getting the parent upset. It’s very difficult to confront people, especially those we love. Yet, whether it is dealing with a child or an older parent, the desire to do the right thing has to ultimately prevail. Otherwise, the dissatisfaction builds. Rather than do the hard thing of talking about the issues, the adult-child often takes the easy way out and lets things slide. As a result, soon, the adult-child yearns for the day the parent lives somewhere else. The nursing home or some other facility looks more and more inviting…all because the adult-child won’t say anything about the incompatible behavior of the parent. Instead of discussing the issues, the adult-child slowly begins pushing the parent out of their mind and out of the house, while the parent builds up resentment to the indifferent treatment.

Anytime God’s natural order is reversed, there are issues. When a child has to take care of the parent it is a reversed natural order. To deal with the potential issues, the parent has to be diligent not to interfere with the adult-child’s household and the adult-child has to be willing to discuss issues of incompatibility. Not only is it not natural for an adult-child to take care of a parent, it’s not natural for a parent to run or be too demanding of the adult-child’s household either. These items must be at the forefront of any living arrangement agreement. The parent must understand that he/she is a glorified guest of the whole household. The parent must purposely seek to not interfere with that household, its habits, or its routines. The adult-child must purposely seek to be as accommodating as possible but never compromise the relationships within his household so as to please the parent. The adult-child must also, no matter how difficult it might be, talk to the parent about issues of incompatibility. Some parents won’t agree to be a glorified guest. They have the attitude I mentioned two days ago: “Well, I took care of my kids when they were young; they can take care of me when I’m old.” If a parent has that attitude, you better be willing to have your house and the inherent relationships turned upside down or else the parent needs to find some other place to live. Many live-in arrangements work well, but they have mutual working understandings.

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