Many aging families are healthy or a nearly normal family But discovering they must care for a parent can force them into a tailspin. When the parent figure in the family begins to suffer the losses of aging, a filial crisis occurs.
What’s that-? That is accepting your parent in the here and now. When a Mom or Dad is no longer the north stars they were to the family, midlife adult children need to learn to learn to balance parental love and duty with independence. These midlife kids must create a two-way relationship instead of the parent sending, love, money and nurture only one way. This can throw adult children in a nearly normal family into a parental panic.
Nurturing and care have always been a one-way street – ending with them. Were they selfish – no? That’s what good parents do- nurture their children through all the stages of life. However, this new stage takes a two-way street.
The healthy nearly normal family is also thrown off balance by a shock to the system- someone has to replace the Queen or King bee. The person who took the lead role on the family stage has not shown up or forgets their lines. On the holidays they don’t decorate the Christmas tree, forget the words to the blessing on Chanukah, the recipe for Latkes or their famous
Christmas sugar cookies.
Now the adult kids must make the Christmas cookies, Latkes, lead the Chanukah prayers or host Christmas. Many are reluctant to step up to the plate, take over the work of a ritual- be the head of the family
At this giant pause in family play, the family system, even in the normal family must face the loss of control in the system because the parents or parent figures usually have that control. When they can no longer manage on their own, or function as the main gear or guide that moves the family system forward, even the normal spins out of control
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