Whether you're living at home or visiting on holidays, there are a multitude of ways you can show your parents how grateful you are for all of the ways they have enriched your life. While occasional extravagant acts of gratitude are always welcome, you can remind your parents that you appreciate them in small ways any day of the week. Sharing your gratitude can enhance your relationship, increasing feelings of positivity and making communication in the relationship easier, reports the Harvard Mental Health Letter's "In Praise of Gratitude."
A Few Words
Whether you’re expressing your gratitude for their years of guidance or for sharing a little parental advice for your own children, a simple “thank you” can go a long way toward reminding your parents that you appreciate them. Take a stroll down memory lane with your parents, reminding them of the times you know they were in your corner -- particularly those instances when you weren’t terribly grateful back then. Send an email or text message on random occasions with a simple note of thanks if you're tech savvy, or pen a sentimental thank you note every now and then and drop it in the mail.
As you enter adulthood, life gets busy. Between a home, career, kids and other responsibilities, it’s easy to get caught up in the chaos of it all. Make a commitment to call and visit with your parents. After all, they dedicated a multitude of years to you, so return a minute portion of the favor by including them in your life now that you’ve grown. You can get together for afternoon tea each week, invite them over for a family dinner or, if your agenda is too tight, pick up the phone any time you have a spare moment and chat with mom and dad for as long as your hectic schedule allows. Your interest in staying in contact as much as possible will demonstrate your interest in maintaining a relationship and convey a little of your appreciation, too.
A Helping Hand
Whether you’re still living in your parents' home or you’ve moved into your own, you can lighten their load to demonstrate your appreciation for the times they eased your burdens. While living at home, assume your fair share of the house responsibilities -- and do so without complaint. When you’re living on your own, offer to pitch in where your parents could benefit from your help, such as cleaning up the yard in spring and fall, maintaining the gardens in the summer and shoveling after a heavy snow in winter.
A Grand Gesture
While your everyday words and small gestures of thanks adequately express your gratitude, there’s no harm in going above and beyond every once in a while. You can throw a family party in honor of your parents, arrange for a sentimental trip back to your old hometown together or visit a sentimental place from your parents' lives. Dig deeply into your family history and create a detailed family tree to celebrate your parents and their heritage, or have a star named in their honor. If your finances allow it, book a vacation for your parents to a destination they’ve always longed to visit.
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