How to Deal with Parenting Role Reversals | Rice Psychology
Rice Psychology Group is looking to hire a Licensed Doctoral Level Child/Adolescent Psychologist.
If you are a psychologist who loves working with children and families and would like to learn more about this position or apply, click here.

How to Deal with Parenting Role Reversals

By Wendy Rice, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist

wendy-riceCan you pinpoint when things changed? Can you remember the exact moment you began worrying more about your parents’ well-being than they did about yours?

When did the advice-giving go from being a one-way street of your parents advising you on what to do, to both ways, and then more from you to them? Did it happen overnight?

I’m betting it was more of a gradual change (albeit one that at some point slapped you right in the face without warning), much like it was for me.

Life is full of changes that can surface when you least expect them. Let us help you manage them today.

Trading Places

I am lucky. My mother moved to Florida a few years ago and we are closer than ever. We help each other out, use each other as sounding boards, and eat ice cream together when we are tired of the healthier options. We are often able to lend support when things feel as though they are falling apart and surely celebrate each other’s’ victories.

Yet somehow, as we have both gotten older, I have grown to feel increasingly responsible for my mother’s health and well-being. I feel the urge to drop everything if she is having a bad day so that I can help her out. It is that role reversal that we hear about but never imagine can happen to us. She is still the mother and I am still the child, but the tide is a changin’.

Things to Consider

So, in considering these shifts, I wanted to offer you a list of gifts that you might want to consider giving your Mom on Sunday (and revisit next month around Father’s Day):

Happy Mother's Day from Rice Psychology

  • Patience: Are your parents beginning to repeat themselves? Do you find yourself getting irritated because you have heard the same story over and over? When we were little, we wanted our parents to read the same stories and play the same songs repeatedly. We told them the same jokes and did other annoying things repeatedly (undoubtedly). So, perhaps in the spirit of what goes around comes around, show your parents some extra patience when they tell you things you’ve already heard. If they remembered, they probably wouldn’t repeat themselves but either way it doesn’t feel good to be reminded. Let’s just listen…


  • Understanding: We live in a super-fast paced world. Technology is progressing so quickly that it overwhelms me and I often find it a challenge to keep up. For many of our parents, it can be disorienting and even more frustrating. Let’s take some time to help them out by showing them how to use some software or a program that would make their lives easier or that they’ve been asking about for a long time but you might have been too busy to explain. Go slowly and maybe even write down a few basic steps or commands for them so they can practice after you’ve gone home.


  • Time: Hang out and don’t be in such a rush to go home. Take some time to look at old photos with them. Let them tell you some stories about when they were younger. Ask about the books that are most special to them and why. In short – take some time to just be together. It is probably what your parents want from you more than anything.


The Support You Need

Flowers, Plants, Chocolate, Wine, Cupcakes and Fruit-of-the-Month clubs – all good too but I’m guessing that what your parents or more specifically your mother really wants this Sunday is just more of YOU.

And as a reminder, the licensed psychologists at Rice Psychology Group work with a broad age range. We treat adults as well as kids. If you are looking for support in managing changes in your life including (but not limited to) your relationship with your parents as you both mature, give us a call. We’d be glad to help.

Learn more about our therapy options here —>

About Rice Psychology

Rice Psychology Group is home to a team of psychologists who work tirelessly to help adults, adolescents and children deal with their issues. Whether you’re currently dealing with depression, going through a divorce or fighting an issue you just can’t understand, know that our Tampa psychologists are here to help.

Leave a Reply

Website Designed by Imagine It Studios