Parenting Your Parents

Many of us are fortunate to have parents who are still with us.  Of course, to them we are always “children” and this perception often leads to conflicts as we are forced to make decisions for them such as allowing them to drive or living alone.  Conflict Resolution specialist, John Bertschler, Ph.D. of Northcoast Conflict Solutions suggests these steps to achieve a peaceful resolution to these kind of tricky situations:

• Include all close family members in the discussion.

• Schedule the conversation for morning or early afternoon when your parents are at their best.

• Have examples of why something needs to be done (i.e. “you’ve fallen three times in the past year”).

If things become heated, find a mediator.  The National Eldercare Mediator Network ( or the Association for Conflict Resolution ( can help you locate a professional mediator.  If the costs of a mediator are too high, suggest a regarded family friend or religious counselor as an alternative.


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