Our parents want nothing more than to see us happy – whatever the cost. But, beyond a simple thank you, how can we show our appreciation for all the emotional and financial support they offer us over the years?
If we’re lucky, our parents support our every step growing up, preparing us for a healthy future full of self-discovery. Loving us, disciplining us, and giving us enough space to make our own mistakes, they create the foundations we need to struggle, explore and succeed as adults.
We need this resilience, this rootedness, as our life decisions become bigger and more complicated. Moving to another place, getting married, buying a house, bringing up children: these are momentous steps that often carry an emotional and financial burden.
When these significant milestones arrive in our lives, we’re overwhelmed with excitement. Yet the unexpectedly high costs can leave us feeling anxious and unsure.
Turning to our parents for help in such situations isn’t uncommon. In fact, research by SunLife shows that 2 in 5 over 55s are providing financial support to their children or grandchildren*. We may feel hesitant asking for their help, but once we’re greeted with the familiar phrase, “that’s what we’re here for”, the weight is lifted, and life becomes happier and easier once again.
In these moments, a straightforward ‘thank you’ sometimes feels inadequate. We’ve rounded up alternative ways to show appreciation.
Make a sentimental gesture
Nothing shows gratitude like a sentimental gesture. It can be as simple as a personalised photo-book with some of your favourite memories – your most recent family holiday or your unforgettable wedding day. It will leave a lasting impression.
Offer them support
Your parents have done a great deal for you over the years, now it’s time to give back wherever and whenever you can. Picking fallen fruit from the apple tree, clearing away after dinner or offering to walk the dog, these little tasks don’t take much time or energy but will help to lift their day.
Write a letter
Sometimes it’s hard to say out loud just how much you care. So why not write it down? Let your words reflect your appreciation. Not only will a letter convey thought and consideration, it may be something your parents treasure for years to come.
Take the time
Taking the time to really enjoy each other’s company is a great way to show your gratitude. Planning a family day out or visiting them for lunch will make them feel like an important part of your life, helping to strengthen your bond. This can be especially beneficial if a parent lives alone.
Buy them something special
Is there something your parents have always wanted but haven’t been able to afford? A kitchen upgrade or that holiday they’ve been talking about for years? It’s wise to plan what you can afford and start adding your parents’ dream items to a wish list.
Plan to financially support them
As our parents get older, there may come a time to start planning for care. It’s a tender moment: after all their support, you may now be in a position to help them when they need it most. Thinking ahead is always a wise idea. Consider if you could do more with your money, so you’re in a better position to support them financially, if necessary.
We owe a great deal to our parents. Finding new ways to thank them for what they do will ensure they feel newly appreciated and loved. If they get a touch misty-eyed, don’t be surprised. It feels good to be thanked in a meaningful way.
*SunLife, A comfortable retirement – on the house, February 2018