Sunday, March 6, 2011

When Do Children Start To Appreciate Parents?

I wonder about this sometimes, considering all I do for my children. I do feel I go above and beyond, as a mother, spoiling and pampering them and even anticipating their needs. I may not have been so generous about it, but they have always worked hard and been ideal daughters, so I feel they deserve to be treated very well. However, I was wondering when it was going to start clicking in their brain that they should also be appreciating me and all I do for them and even acknowledging it from time to time. That would be nice.

Teenagers rarely appreciate their parents. The world revolves around them and their crises. Also, they know everything at that age so there is very little useful advice we can give them that they will take seriously. If we mention all the things we do for them, we might get an answer to the effect that we are supposed to do these things because we are the parents. So it’s pointless to seek any gratitude or acknowledgment during these years, it’s a losing battle.

Depending on whether or not your child goes to college away or stays at home, might hasten the appreciation process. A child that lives away suddenly has no home cooked meals, no clean clothes, no one to shop and fill the cupboards with things they enjoy eating, no one to nurse them back to health, so they will generally start to miss the comforts of home and parents sooner. A child that lives at home hasn’t experienced some of the harsh realities of life. They are still getting the same high quality care and concern as always. It’s the old adage: you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone.

Well I can’t wait to find out when I am going to be appreciated. Both my girls lived at home while attending college and still do. I lived at home until I married at the age of 28, and I am not so sure I appreciated all my parents did either. I wanted to see if there was any research out there to pin point a specific age for parental appreciation. There is. A research poll was conducted in England and the results they found ring true to me.
Age we start to appreciate our parents
Female 22 and Male 22
Age we take relationship advice
Female 24 and Male 25
Age we take advice on financial matters
Female 23 and Male 25
Age we take advice on our children
Female 27 and Male 29
Age we take advice on our work and jobs
Female 23 and Male 24
Age we take advice on our social life
Female 24 and Male 25
Age we take advice on health matters
Female 21 and Male 24
Age we take advice on buying a house
Female 25 and Male 28
Age we start worrying about parents getting older
Female 27 and Male 30
Age we start worrying about parents getting ill / looking after themselves
Female 27 and Male 29

I have to say, based on my experience, this is pretty accurate. I’ve always felt that children were not fully mature until the age of 24, and then they have a lot to learn. Apparently, from the results of the survey, they know enough to get parental advice for all the important things in life. If they only learn that much in 24 years, then I think we have done our jobs!

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