FROM TEENS TO AGING PARENTS – MAKING IT WORK
FROM TEENS TO AGING PARENTS – MAKING IT WORK
March 20, 2017
You can clutch the past so tightly to your chest that it leaves your arms too full to embrace the present.
– Jane Gladewell
More than 43 million Americans provide care for someone older than 50 who is aging or disabled. Nearly 1 in 10 women ages 45-56 is a member of the sandwich generation, taking care of an aging parent as well as raising her own children. Boomers who delayed childbearing are being challenged into their late 60s, and beyond.
The “sandwich generation” is dually tasked with raising children who are seeking greater independence at a time when aging parents require greater attention and care. Treading lightly with both groups is a guiding principle suggested by Georgina Cannon, the award-winning educator, therapist and author of, The Third Circle Protocol, How to Relate to Yourself and Others.
Are you wishing you could understand your teen better? Are you grieving the loss of the connection you had with your teen before puberty hit? Parents are challenged to manage change and keep an open heart in the face of resistance on this side of the sandwich generation.
As the door closes on childhood, another opens to adolescence. Cannon’s wisdom in The Third Circle Protocol suggests that a family’s emotional well-being depends on considered thought in this moment of change. Cannon asks the reader to think about the current contract, the one formulated some time ago, the one that is not working anymore. Start by considering what you needed in the beginning – the words and feeling you felt that were non-negotiable at that time. What did you want regarding performance, interaction and responsibility? What were you prepared to give to your child, including unconditional love? The Third Circle Protocol guides the reader to begin the discussion after completing these steps to predetermine success. Cannon says that when you both acknowledge that things have changed, and that you acknowledge that you are examining your expectations, the likelihood of bringing your teen into your new expectations will 99 percent of the time get a positive response. Establish your values and priorities next. When thwarted, always return to the contract remembering the goal short term and long term.
People in relationships must be able to influence each other. There is a big difference between influence (which happens when we speak from our emotional being) and control (when we get parental).
– Julia B. Cowell
When one viewpoint fails to solve a problem, we can adapt others perspectives.
– Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind
Is the heavy-handed, ‘I know best’ approach getting in the way of loving, listening and helping aging parents to reconcile declining health and the need for autonomy? Cannon suggests that communication with an aging parent at a vulnerable time in their life requires a different approach than one might use in other relationships. She suggests starting by understanding the parent’s value system first before examining your own. The reason is simple, parents have been a part of our lives from the beginning and often still see us as children. Handling situations while understanding the intimacy of this lifelong relationship requires a light tread.
Cannon’s guidelines are straightforward and common sense. Start the conversation early before a crisis arises and before circumstances become more difficult. Communicate without ego or ‘positioning plays’, such as, ‘I know best’. Seek clarity from the parent about their wishes rather than acting on your beliefs. The author reminds us that our parents have much more life experience than we do, and they know what they want. You and Your Aging Parents, a helpful chapter, provides guidelines full of wisdom to empower and support the reader throughout the changes aging parents experience, and the attendant conversations that will follow.
In each chapter of The Third Circle Protocol, Cannon includes worksheets to support and guide the reader to effective assessment of a situation and worksheets for reflection. Skills are built and when applied bring the reader greater effectiveness in relationships with loved ones. The reader may return time and again to the worksheets to refocus, strengthen skills and stay on track towards the results sought. Change can be managed effectively while building greater intimacy and understanding across the generations. Cannon makes doing so easy, practical and effective with The Third Circle Protocol.
About the Author
Georgina Cannon, author, writer, public speaker, counsellor/coach has her doctorate in Metaphysical Counselling, and is a lecturer at the University of Toronto. Georgina lives and works in Toronto, Ontario.
For the past 20 years, Georgina has worked with thousands of individual and corporate clients in clinical settings allowing her the opportunity to develop The Third Circle Protocol.
Georgina writes with clarity and insight. In THE THIRD CIRCLE PROTOCOL, through her shared wisdom, she makes it possible to achieve successful relationships on all levels, in all aspects of life.
Cannon’s, The Third Circle Protocol is a thought provoking, practical and straightforward guide for those yearning for harmony and success in their relationships with self and others.
As an engaging speaker, trainer and writer, Georgina Cannon gives hope and promise that success in relationships can be achieved and sustained.
“The Third Circle can show you the way to create a healthy relationship and be your life coach.”
– Bernie Siegel, MD, author of 365 Prescriptions
“The Third Circle Protocol provides specific and practical steps that one may take to establish a ‘relationship blueprint’ that aligns one’s values and priorities with actions.”
– Mary Susan MacDonald, Board of Directors, Mensa Canada
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