Mothers and Daughters

Step 4: Talk to Your Mother about Aging

Coping with change

Accepting the changes in others (and ourselves) that come with aging is one of the biggest challenges people face in growing older. Myths abound about aging gracefully, but everyone I've ever talked to says getting older is messy. Routines become important, but they're often disrupted, causing stress. You say good-bye to people, activities and things you used to be able to do with ease. It's not always easy, and when it isn't, your mother may throw a few curveballs your way.

If you find your mother a little more distant, irritable or needy, your tendency may be to start telling her what to do or talking to her like a child. Be careful; you do so at the risk of shutting down communication. If you want results with your mother, remember that even in her neediness or resistance, she is still an adult who wants to be treated with respect.

Questions for your mom

Before you get started on the following set of questions, you may first want to review the personal questions about how you felt about your own self-image, since the two topics are so closely connected. Then when you're ready, sit down with your mom and ask her these questions about aging. These are probably the most difficult questions you've asked so far, but the results are going to be well worth it. Besides getting closer to your mother, understanding how she feels about it will dramatically affect the way you experience aging. Be sure to keep track of any progress that you have made in a private journal.

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