6 Ways Adult Children Can Show Appreciation for the Parents Who Raised Them


Your parents did a lot for you as you were growing up. From providing food and a place to live to being a listening ear when you were going through challenges, parents devote a lot of time, energy and money to helping you enjoy a quality upbringing.

As a child, you weren’t always in a position to appreciate the incredible gifts given by your parents (especially during those angsty, rebellious teenage years). But now, as an adult, it can be easier to take a step back and realize just how much they did for you.

Even more importantly, this period of reflection also provides an opportunity to express your appreciation to your parents.

But what’s the best way to show this love and gratitude to your parents? Here are a few ideas to help you get started, from simple gestures to more involved activities:

1) Tell Them Thank You

It may sound almost too simple to be true, but there is incredible power in the words “thank you.” A 2015 study on the power of gratitude by the University of Georgia “Found that feeling appreciated and believing that your spouse values you directly influences how you feel about your marriage, how committed you are to it, and your belief that it will last.”

Such expressions can be equally powerful in your relationship with your parents.

Telling your parents “thank you” for their efforts and sacrifices in raising you can increase feelings of love and even counteract negative issues in your relationship.

2) Give the Gift of Time

Your parents may not want you to move back into the basement, but this doesn’t mean they don’t want to spend time with you!

Adult children who still live close to their parents should invite them over for birthdays, holiday dinners, or other special events. You don’t have to invite them all the time, but you should make an effort to help them feel included.

If you live far from home, you can still give your parents your time by calling regularly. As Gary and Joy Lundberg explain, “You need to take the initiative and call them, at least some of the time. Even just a short call to see how they are feeling. Ask them what they did that day then share what you are doing … Being in on at least part of your life will bring them more happiness than you can imagine.”

3) Be Willing to Offer Help

As a child, your parents helped with homework and other activities. Now, however, your parents are likely in need of assistance themselves—especially with household chores like mowing the lawn or fixing the plumbing.

“As our bodies age, it becomes more difficult to do tasks like we once did, especially physically demanding activities,” explains Jason Bliss, co-founder of Healthy Living Network.

“Despite this, elderly parents are often afraid to ask their adult children for help. More often than not, the children need to take the initiative and offer assistance to reduce their parents’ physical burdens.”

4) Engage In Meaningful Conversation

As you become an adult, you’re better able to appreciate that your parents have challenges and worries of their own. Quite often, it seems that once you’re out of the house, they also become more willing to discuss these concerns.

Don’t shy away from these conversations, even if your parents bring up difficult subjects, like financial or marital troubles. Instead, learn to listen to their needs and practice empathy so they can feel like they’re getting emotional support.

5) Make a Homemade Gift

When holidays and birthdays arrive, how do you express your appreciation to your parents?

Rather than buying a gift card or scouring Amazon, you can show your love with a handmade gift. You may not consider yourself much of an artist, but taking the time to craft something by hand will give it an extra level of meaning to your parents.

As Mark Frauenfelder explains, “Holidays are about giving. If you give someone a store-bought gift, that person will no doubt appreciate your generosity. But if you give a handmade gift, you are also giving your time, your creativity and your uniqueness, which will make your loved one appreciate the gift (and you) that much more.”

6) Live Your Best Life

As you grew up, your parents undoubtedly tried to instill valuable moral lessons to help you become an honorable, caring person.

Perhaps one of the best ways to show that you appreciated these teachings is to live up to the standards you were taught. Better still, you can continue to seek self-improvement in both your personal and professional life.

Few things are more satisfying to parents than seeing their adult children become upstanding members of society. As you strive to make a positive impact in your community, you demonstrate that you took their teachings to heart.

It’s All About Love

Regardless of how you choose to express your appreciation, helping your parents feel loved and letting them know that you’re truly grateful for all they’ve done can make all the difference in maintaining strong family relationships throughout adulthood.

These meaningful steps will mean the world to your parents as they reach their “golden years.”


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