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JLeslie's avatar

If you are over 60, do you feel a need to tell your children as much as possible before you die?

Asked by JLeslie (61653points) 1 month ago from iPhone

My parents are in their 70’s and my dad the last few years has quite obviously been amping up his delivery of all types of information he seems compelled to tell me. It’s a cross between information, advice, and sometimes a nudge to take some action.

He has been focusing a lot on how I could leave the US if things get bad, but also things to enjoy like travel (maybe that’s actually the same thing). Also, investing, and a bunch of other topics. He used to always talk about business ideas when I was growing up, he still does that a little.

Last week I said to him, “It seems like you are trying to tell me everything you can before you die.” He responded, “I’m trying.” He’s not at death’s door, but he certainly could die at any moment. I guess anyone can, but he actually has had heart disease for 30 years and a sudden massive heart attack would not be surprising. God forbid.

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20 Answers

Forever_Free's avatar

I know my parents seem more forthcoming on things that I never knew happened in the past.
It was refreshing to know some of the background or details on other things. Perhaps it is also a function of me asking more pointed questions about things. I also am not afraid to ask questions on things I never understood.

I don’t think you have to be over 60 to be open with your children. It is more a function of how mature your children are on the topics. I have always been open with my children and share appropriately. I also would sit with my Grandmother and talk for hours about things in her life. I was fascinated at her tales from experiences from the past. I share these stories from her with my children as well. The window of conversation will be over 150 years if I share stories from my grandmother to my grandchildren (when I get some :)

I think some people just don’t share openly and some people just don’t want to hear or care to hear.

chyna's avatar

@Forever_Free brings up a good point. ASK!
My parents were very secretive about their lives before us and even during their lifetime with us. (Witness protection program?). Lol
We know next to nothing about them and now it’s too late to find out. My niece even gave my mom a book to write her memories of childhood and adulthood. It was blank when I found it.
Cherish what they share with you and write it down so you won’t forget.

canidmajor's avatar

I have never been able to shut up, my child knows probably more than she wants to. We constantly talk about the differences between “now” and “then”, and to cope in an ever-changing world/culture.

JLeslie's avatar

I did three interviews with my parents on zoom and recorded them. I loved it. I encourage everyone to do it, which is as jellies above mentioned, ask your parents about their experiences.

Regarding this Q, my dad was more in the mode of trying to give me information and wisdom rather than ensuring I knew family history. I think he tries, or tried, to not make it like he’s trying to lecture or persuade, but it always feels that way to me and I do my best to resist the feeling. It feels manipulative a lot of the time. This is the problem most parents have, or maybe the problem children have, feeling judged or manipulated by a parent, when the parent may not have that intention at all. Some parents seem unaware, which I don’t understand.

Now, that I’ve done the interviews, my parents also have been telling me memories of childhood or trips they’ve taken. The interviews I also asked about their parents and grandparents. I mostly stuck to happy topics or neutral. This is drifting from the Q though, which is fine. The Q was not so much learning about them, but them giving advice. I realize some of that overlaps though.

janbb's avatar

No, I mainly listen to what they have to say. I’m happy to share things from my life but I don’t impose my “wisdom” or experiences on them generally.

JLeslie's avatar

@janbb That seems to me you are aware it might not be well received.

janbb's avatar

@JLeslie Not totally that but I have very limited time with my sons and I want to focus on what they need rather than what I might need. And my relationship with each is very different – the communication with one of them is quite open and reciprocal and it is really minimal with the other one.

Nomore_lockout's avatar

No, they can learn the hard way, just like I did. Everyone has to make their own path through life.

Inspired_2write's avatar

I prefer to leave it all in a ‘tell all” book or actually a family history book as once they understand from where I, my family the times were different and difficult and hopefully they learn to be more compassionate of others.

They must realize that those before them, there ancestors fought severe hardships and because of there strength you are able to live a much better life then they did.

They give you strength to overcome and that is the real gift from them that is never forgotten.

They have a choice to read it or not, but know this one day there descendants WILL read it

YARNLADY's avatar

No, neither of us is interested in that.

flutherother's avatar

My children are quite curious about my life before they were born and I enjoy telling them about it. I have kept a diary for a great many years which I don’t show to anyone. One day they will find it and I expect they will read at least some of it.

Response moderated (Writing Standards)
raum's avatar

I’m not over 60, but I feel a need to tell our children as much as possible before we die.

It sounds morbid, but parenting is preparing your kids to be okay when you’re gone. And that’s a lot to squeeze in!

omtatsat's avatar

@raum It does not sound morbid. It is morbid.

janbb's avatar

@raum I would amend that to parenting is preparing your kids to be ok by the time they’re 35 – mine don’t seem to really need me anymore. And that’s pretty healthy if a bit sad for me.

jca2's avatar

I’m not over 60 and I don’t feel a need to push information on my daughter. She’s a teen.

I can tell you that I think the recorded or videod interview is a great idea. I wish I had my grandparents on video and I wish I had my mom on video. So many stories my mom and grandparents used to tell that I wish I had taped now – not only family information with details but just stories. My grandfather was from Louisiana, from the bayou, and he used to tell me folk tales and stories. My grandmother used to sing songs to me when I was little. I wish I had it on tape. My mom used to talk about the family history and I wish I had that taped or even written down. It’s written somewhere but I don’t know if it’s accessible.

raum's avatar

@janbb I had a friend who said she wished that I needed her more. But I think it’s much better to be wanted, than to be needed. :)

JLeslie's avatar

The recordings I did were mostly my parents’ personal memories and family history. Stories in school, with friends, I really loved listening to it. So much of it was surprising or very funny. I asked then to do it, and I asked the questions.

I asked them about college and my mom commuted to college in NJ. I asked her why did she go to school there. She said because she wanted to not go to school locally. LMAO. She lived in The Bronx still with her parents. She made it sound like she was going to school in another country. I asked my dad if he ever took vacations or went to camp when he was little. He grew up extremely poor so I figured he didn’t. Come to find out every summer they rented a cottage in the Catskills! I couldn’t believe it. So many surprises.

What my dad is doing now is more advice for the future. He’s pushing it, it’s not be asking. New information about where I could go to if things got bad in the future in the US. Interesting shows he watching just for entertainment. Health information since heart disease is rampant in the family. New ways to make money. Investing for retirement.

omtatsat's avatar

Here it’s 65 that people usually die.

SABOTEUR's avatar

The last time I tried was shortly after my wife passed away. My daughter’s weren’t interested in hearing anything I had to say.

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