Monday, November 28, 2016

5 awkward conversations that you need to have with your parents

I get my passion from my mother

and my business sense from my father

1. Estate planning

Talking about money is always an awkward conversation. You are not supposed to ask your friends or coworkers how much they make. If a woman cares too much about how much a man makes, then she is considered a gold digger and although I am now an adult I still do not know how much my parents make. So why do you need to have this awkward conversation with your parents about their estate planning?

If you think talking about money is awkward, imagine how much harder it would be to have these conversations after your parents die or if they are too sick to make decisions for themselves. That is why it is best to talk to them about it now. Find out if they have money saved for long-term care or to pay for their funeral. Find out what their wishes are if they are unable to make health decisions for themselves. Find out if they have a will and what is in that will (this is especially important if your parents had a lot of wealth and you have siblings).

This is not about taking advantage of your parents or trying to live off of their hard work. This is about making sure that (1) you are able to fulfill their wishes towards the end of their life and (2) there are no misunderstands with siblings or other family members about your parent's wishes. Dave Ramsey says that every year he has a live reading of his will with the affected people in his life so that there are no misunderstands and he has a very successful business and is worth millions. Feelings can be hurt and relationships destroyed over $1,000 just like over $1 million.

Realize though that this conversation will be as awkward for you as it will be for your parents. There can be a lot of feelings surrounding money including shame about mistakes that they made and feeling that you as their child shouldn't be telling them what to do. So have this conversation, but be kind and loving and patient.

2. I am your child, but I am no longer a child

When I went away to college is when I firest experienced the conflict between who my parents viewed me as and who I was becoming. I went away to college about 2 hours away so most of the school year I was 100% responsible for myself and my time. When I can home to visit my parents still viewed me as a child. Many arguments arose because they wanted to exhibit control and I wanted to continue to be the adult that I had grown into. Even now as a parent in my mid 30's my parents sometimes forget that I am an adult. They worry about me getting home late (anytime past 9pm is late for my dad) and they sometimes overstep their boundaries when it comes to me parenting my child.

Part of becoming an adult is having the ability to have this conversation with your parents. It can be as easy as "I appreciate what you are telling me, but I need to make my own decisions." They are your parents. They powered your butt and changed your diapers. They love and care about you, but they do need to push you out of the nest.

What is fun bout this conversation is that it doesn't have to be a literal conversation. You can show your parents that you are an adult by no longer acting like a child. Don't borrow money from them, don't continuously ask them to bail you out of trouble, make decisions on your on, have a disagreement with them without whining,

3. I made a mistake

I do not like being wrong so I get that having this type of conversation with anyone can be hard. If you want to become an adult in the eyes of your parents, then admitting that you made a mistake is the  first step. They are going to love you regardless and let's be honest you probably should have listened to them in the first place :-)

4. I am mad at you

Your parents are not perfect. They are humans and they make mistakes as well. It is okay to tell them that you are upset with them. You are able to do that and still love and respect them, but even parents need to know when they stepped over your boundaries and pissed you off. You know what will happen if you don't talk to them about it? You will spend the next several years harboring feeling about what they did wrong and you will spend hundreds of dollars on therapy rehashing how your parents traumatized you and they won't remember what they did.

What will most likely happen if you have this conversation is that you will understand their side. You will see how things they see it and you may realize that the anger you feel is unjustified or at least not at the level that you have allowed it to reach.

Have that conversation, hash it out, and move on.

5. I love you

They know how much you care. They know in their heart, but they would also like to hear it. So tell them how much you love them and how much you appreciate all of the work and sacrifices that they did for you. Tell them loudly, in a letter, at random times, let them when they least expect it. Just tell them!

Leave a comment below and let me know what awkward conversations you have had with your parents and how you felt afterward.


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