three happy women
Studies show that it’s not just Asian mums who prefer their sons to their daughters. (Photo: Pixabay)

Use Reason, Not Force
Parents often give well-meaning advice out of concern. Don’t resent this. Just assure them that you are wise enough to make your own decisions. “Reasoning often works but always speak to your parents in private if you disagree with anything. This way, you’re honouring them by not embarrassing them in front of others, and it reduces the need for them to show that they are in full control,” says Esther Ng, director of My Space Psychotherapy Services.

Don’t Lie To Them
Sometimes the telling the truth hurts. But it’s worse when your parents find out that you’ve lied to them. They’ll have faith in you if you’re always upfront with them.

Obey Them
The saying “Mum (or Dad) knows best” is usually true, so do what they say within reason. By obeying them, you’re showing that you respect and value their decisions. If you choose to disobey them, reassure them that you have considered their feelings and values.Listen To Them Patiently
Yes, your dad is repeating that same story that happened eons ago for the 100th And mum is rehashing old gossips you’ve heard many times. “Take the time to reminisce with them. Encourage them to recount their stories from their youth and how they overcame obstacles,” says Samantha Chin, content specialist at Focus on the Family Singapore.

Use Your Kids As Baits
Grandparents naturally dote on their grandchildren. So let your kids spend as much time as they can with your parents. “The relationship between grandparents and their grandchildren is a natural bridge to any situation,” says Esther.

a baby's hand in her grandfather's hand
Grandchildren are always a joy to have around. (Photo: Pexels)

Be Attentive To Their Needs
As your parents, they still want to protect you no matter how old you are – that’s why they prefer solving problems on their own instead of asking for your help. Be attuned to their needs, whether it’s taking them to the doctor when they’re ill or surprising them with dinner when they seem tired to cook. In other words, be indispensable.

Show Your Appreciation
Always reaffirm your feelings for your parents and your gratitude for all that they’ve done for you. “Appreciate them for their past work, skills, strengths, and thank them for doing a good job for making you who you are. Don’t be shy to keep saying how much you love and miss them,” says Chang-Goh Song Eng, head of Reach Counselling.

a woman talking on the phone
Tell them regularly how much you love and miss them. (Photo: Pexels)

Know Them Inside Out
Take note of their idiosyncrasies, likes and dislikes. For example, if they like to read certain sections of the newspaper first, pore over the other pages first. Give and take will endear you to them, even if you have little in common.

Do What They Love
Whether it’s playing chess, photography or gardening, your parents will appreciate your efforts in wanting to spend time with them. “Quality time is one of the love languages. But it is more effective and meaningful if done one-to-one. A good two to three hours every fortnight is better than a family gathering once a week,” says Esther.

Celebrate Their Achievements
Try to celebrate all their special occasions. At least call and say you’re thinking of them on their special day. No achievement should be too insignificant – even if it’s finally setting up their own Facebook account. They were there for your milestones, so do the same for them.

Text: Azlinda Said, Simply Her, February 2016 / Additional reporting: Sylvia Ong

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