9 Ways to Honor Your Mother and Father as an Adult
- Dolores Smyth Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- Published Jun 06, 2022
Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you (Exodus 20:12).
When you were a kid, you may not have needed any reminder to honor your mom and dad, and doing so may even have been fun. Honoring your mom and dad then may have looked like drawing a birthday card or making them a craft on Mother’s Day or Father’s Day.
As you’ve gotten older, thoughts of your parents may have taken a backseat to your other relationships or the obligations you have at work or in your own home. However, no matter your age, your duty to honor your parents remains. Honoring our parents is so important that the obligation is memorialized as one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:12).
Paying homage to mom and dad may seem obvious to you if you had a positive childhood and if you continue to have a warm relationship with your parents as an adult. But what about the many people who had negative or even awful childhoods because of their parents and who’d rather do anything other than honor their parents in any way? Perhaps God had those people’s plight in mind when He made our lifelong obligation to our parents an explicit command.
There are many ways to honor your parents as an adult. Here are nine ways to do just that.
1. Prioritize spending time with your parents, and then schedule your priorities.
For many, the entry “visit Mom and Dad” is a constant on their to-do list. If you find that your intention to see your folks doesn’t usually become a reality, then prioritizing spending time with your parents isn’t enough. Instead, schedule that priority by affirmatively setting a date and time for a visit, preferably on a regular basis.
2. Take advantage of video chat services.
If you can’t visit your parents in person, you can let mom and dad see you and the kids through one of the many videoconferencing tools available. Of course, this requires mom and dad to know how to use these services on their end, so a little setup and tutorial on your part may be required first. Examples of popular video chat services include FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, and—for international video calls, in particular—WhatsApp.
3. Remember important events and dates in your parents’ lives.
As a general rule, you should do something special for your parents on their birthdays, anniversary, Mother’s Day, and Father’s Day. A visit or phone call is a great start, and a gift or a card penned by you or your little one is extra special.
But you can also do much more to show your regard for the people who made you the person you are today. You can take an interest in any other event or date special to your parent(s). This may involve their job, church, health, or relationship with friends and other family members. Your parents may be grateful for the shoulder to lean on in these matters and may even ask you for some advice!
4. Involve your parents in your children’s lives.
Another way to make your parents feel involved in your life as an adult is to include them in your children’s lives. Invite your parents to your kids’ recitals, games, school plays, awards ceremonies, or any other event your mom and dad would love to attend, and snap away as many pictures as possible of their grandbabies. Your kids will appreciate the extra support, and your parents will appreciate the invitation.
5. Take your parents on a date.
It can be a delight for your mom or dad to go on a one-on-one date with you. You should choose a setting that fosters bonding and fun, such as a restaurant with pretty outdoor seating for brunch, a theater staging a show that may interest your mom or pop, or a sporting event where a favorite team is competing. No matter the venue, your parents will agree that it isn’t as important as the company.
6. Have your children invite your parents over for a playdate.
Although your parents would be happy to spend one-on-one time with you, they’d be over the moon if one of their grandkids invited them over for a playdate. Grandparent-and-grandchild playdates can include tea parties, a kid-friendly board game, a game of T-ball, or an outing to the playground. For an added thoughtful touch, take pictures of the time spent between your parents and your children and send your parents a photo album filled with these cherished memories.
7. Set boundaries to help the parent-child relationship thrive.
It can be difficult to set boundaries with your parents. However, as you get older and confide more in your spouse than in your parents, you may find that telling your parents everything leads to arguments and overstepping. Unfortunately, the highs and lows of oversharing can be cyclical: you confide something in your parents, they give you advice that you end up not taking, they get upset that you didn’t heed their words, and you get angry at their reaction but feel guilty if you don’t continue confiding everything in them all over again.
Rather than continue this cycle, you can choose to set relationship-affirming boundaries so that you share information with your parents only if they are among the people who really should be hearing it. This helps everyone understand what communication and involvement are expected from them going forward. Even if it takes a few tries at first for boundaries to stick, boundaries help keep relationships respectful and enjoyable.
8. Make peace with your parents.
Scripture tells us to live at peace with everyone (Romans 12:18). This sage advice takes human nature into account by qualifying this instruction in stating that we’re to live at peace “if it is possible” and “as far as it depends on us” (Romans 12:18). In other words, it takes effort from both sides to make any relationship a peaceful one!
If there is a rift between you and your parents, you can show them honor by doing your part to make amends. This may involve taking the initiative to reach out to your parent(s), or it may involve you forgiving your parent(s) and accepting their efforts at reconciliation. Importantly, making amends with a parent isn’t always possible, as your parent(s) may still be harmful to you in some way. In those cases, make peace with who your parents are right now and the fact that, at this point, you’re unable to have a good relationship with them.
9. Thank your parents for all they’ve done for you.
Think about a time when you did something to make someone else’s life better, and the person took a moment to thank you for it. Remember how happy it made you feel to be recognized for your effort? Now imagine your parents making your life better on a daily basis, year after year, whether you knew about their efforts and sacrifices or not. You can honor your parents by thanking them for all they’ve done for you and telling them how much you value their devoted guidance and care.
When you honor your parents, you don’t just nurture your bond with them; you also set an example for your children as to how they should care for you when they grow up. After all, the commandment to honor your parents doesn’t stop there but goes on to mention that respecting your parents can help prolong your own life down the road. Make honoring your parents a priority in your life so that you do right by them and God’s Word.
Photo credit: ©GettyImages/Halfpoint
Dolores Smyth is a nationally published faith and parenting writer. She draws inspiration for her writing from everyday life. Connect with her over Twitter @byDoloresSmyth.
The views and opinions expressed in this podcast are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views or positions of Salem Web Network and Salem Media Group.
You can read Rhonda's full article here.