You have a job, you aren’t a criminal, you remember their birthdays, and your parents still aren’t impressed. What can you do?
Buy them the boat they’ve always joked about
If your parents have a hilarious running joke about how the hard, miserable work of bringing you up will be worth it when you buy them ‘that yacht’, call their bluff and send them a 60-foot clipper. It will ruin your finances but you will feel briefly loved at last.
Marry someone with an incredibly stressful job
Your parents have always wanted you to marry a doctor, lawyer or stockbroker. It will be something impressive for them to show off to their friends about, while for you it will mean you never get to see your spouse until they’re signed off sick for three months due to burnout.
Have some children
Your parents will be incredibly pleased and impressed with you if you have a baby. This will last for ten whole minutes until they begin a decades-long campaign of criticism over your parenting style, all the while doting on your child so much that it turns out to be a spoiled little shitbag.
Buy a house you can’t afford
Your parents don’t like you living in that pokey little flat which is incredibly convenient for the train and local nightlife. They will be far more impressed if you get an eye-waveringly expensive mortgage on a nice big house in the suburbs and spend your evenings crying in your large kitchen about how crushingly bored you are.
Tell them you think they did a good job raising you
You don’t have to mean it, and the chances are you don’t, but telling your parents they made all the right choices when you were growing up is sure to amaze them, not least because they will be impressed by the sheer audacity of your lie.