Managing Our Adult Children: How to reconnect with them (and with yourself!) Most Liked

Today’s Featured Comment

From Ca2TX

After my husband died, the kids were close and wanted to be there for me, but they have their own grief issues with which to deal. They have families of their own and know that I can take care of myself. The boys want to help with “the heavy lifting”, but they live an hour away and cannot just stop by when they want to do so.

I was lonely for them at first, but realized I needed to get on with it.

I do not want to live through my kids. I still have a career and have friends. I am trying to make friends with people who didn’t know my husband so I have new memories.

Also, I, too, pay people to do the heavy lifting and all the things my husband used to do.

As for the kids, I wish we were closer. It is funny; the child who was not close to my husband and stayed away is now closer to me. The boys were closer to him and are having a hard time. They have some anger issues.

My problem is that they alternate between wanting me to be the cookie-baking grandmother — which I am not — and being a shoulder to lean on or  cry on, which I am.

Do I wish things were different? Yes. I would love to have the happy Leave it to Beaver like the reunion show: happy grandkids, fond memories of Ward, frequent visits from the kids. . .

  • I am the one with more time to initiate the visits, so I schedule dinners. The monthly dinner is a great idea. You may not get all the kids, but little by little there will be a value to it.
  • Set your ground rules. Let them know you are not forcing yourself on them and they can come or not, but you’d love to HEAR WHAT IS GOING ON in their lives.
  • Make it more about them and not your needs. You are the parent and not the child, after all.
  • Be supportive of them. Their equivalent of hugs and kisses from you may be actions like supportive listening or baby sitting or swinging a hammer when repairs are needed at their homes.
  • Show them you are more than a needy “dramatic” mother. You are a woman of value who can bring value and benefit into their lives.
  • Also, do talk to a therapist. Mine helped me see what my relationships were about. Too much was about me and not enough about them. Not that I am not worth it, but I was having my own pity party way too much.

I was lucky enough to meet a young family who needed what I had to offer. I include them in my family dinners. They unwittingly defuse family tension, add a happy dynamic, and treat me like family.

You know the old saying: people treat strangers on the street better than they treat their own family. Well, it is true. I was treating my kids with less respect for their privacy, their personalities, and so on; they treat me the same. I am working on that and hope my actions will show them. It will take time.

Meanwhile, I move on. There is still a lot of pain. I’m not going to kid you. But you don’t have a choice. You were given a life to cherish and protect and that life IS YOUR OWN. Don’t waste it, please.

I do wish for you the very, very best. There is more for you out there than a life lived vicariously through your kids!

[This comment was originally posted in this conversation. ~ Eds.]

36 like

Posted in live it! lists, Managing Our Adult Children, other topics, VN Featured Comment.

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7 Responses

  1. joyful53 joyful53 says

    Wow! What a sensible woman you are.

    7 like

  2. Faith-Hope-Love Faith-Hope-Love says

    Thank you so much for sharing your heart on this subject. I can relate and it is very timely for me. You have encouraged me today! :)

    6 like

  3. Sheila Stone Sheila Stone says

    Loved what you had to say.  I like the idea of a monthly dinner and plan to put it into action.  Thanks for your wisdom!

    3 like

  4. Generic Image Mari Hyatt says

    “Make it more about them and not your needs. You are the parent and not the child, after all.”

    Not in agreement with this one~it was about them when they grew up, it’s time they (collective, meaning ALL kids) grow up. Grown kids should realize that others’ needs, esp. parents, sometimes come first. My coddling days are over with my 2 kids, & luckily they’re adult enough to handle it. Wow, enough tags!

    6 like

  5. Generic Image Anonymous says

    Thanks for the great advice! I like your idea of once a month dinners. And I appreciate your positive, proactive approach to this new phase in your life which models wonderfully to your grown kids how to deal effectively with adversity despite your own grief! I also chuckle at reading your honest self disclosure of dealing with self pity. It’s refreshing! ( I used to set an egg timer to deal with my pity party. I’d give myself permission to cry, rage, and have a temper tantrum for 6 minutes. When the buzzer chimed, I’d dry my eyes and tell myself that was enough. Lol! You have alot of wisdom and will, no doubt, continue to create a happy life. I have great respect for you! Blessings!

    3 like

  6. Generic Image Anonymous says

    I like the suggestion of a monthly dinner so that all can get together and do nothing or do something; have a meaningful conversation or just be in the company of each other. 

    Oftentimes, I pay others to do for me if I can’t do a task myself or if my grown children are not available.   I raised my children to respect and assist older people or people with health issues or disabilities.  I believe that they should factor our “aging” and declining abilities into their thinking and behavior.

    3 like

    • KLE KLE says

      I too think they should factor in “aging” and declining abilities into their thinking and behavior.  I know of some that have not and the parents whine to their children about it.  It seems to drive the children away.

      1 like

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