What to do when your adult children don't like you.

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by MidwestMom, Jan 4, 2015.

  1. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Good article. I am always working on being a good parent to my grown children, especially PCs, so I read this and thought I'd pass it along. Maybe we can add our own advice; what we do when we interact with our over 18s who are and aren't independent of us.My difficult child needs me more than my PCs do, but I have to watch how I handle him too and be sure I don't infantalize him and do listen to him when he is not being abusive. What a tightwalk we need to learn to balance on! I validate their decisions, even if don't always agree with them, as in:

    "Julie, you are a great mother." She is, even though she makes a few choices I may not have made if I were a mother again today. She is still rocking it with that baby and so is her SO, even if he also is not perfect. Who is? He has grown up into a mature man right before my eyes. I need to tell him how proud I am of him.

    Jumper, you will make a GREAT cop. I say that even though it scares me a little that she is becoming one. She will really be in her element in criminal justice though and it isn't fair to tell her that I will worry about her. No need to pour on the guilt over her dream.

    "Sonic, you make me so proud. Your award was awesome. I admire your determination so much." I do. He is my hero. He works so hard. I am not disappointed that he has autism or will not be a neurosurgeon.

    I never ever tell my grown kids how disappointed I am that they did not go to a four year college. They have all gotten good jobs and are productive people. The college thing is none of my business. I am proud at how hard they work. I tell them that. Even difficult child. He does work hard.

    I know I try not to call or text too often. I just don't want to be that mom who cries, "But I"m lonely without you." I try to have a full life outside of my grown children, yet I love to post inspirational posts to Jumper on FB and to text Julie just a "Hope you're having a good day. Love all of you. Call me when you have time." I also keep my opinions about their lives to myself or else I tell, say, Jumper, "If it's ok, I'd like to give you my opinion and you can listen without commenting. Maybe it will help, maybe not. Is it all right if I do this?" If she says, "Mom, I need to this myself" as she did when she was upset bout her last boyfriend, I say, "I understand" and let it go. That's it. As much as I want to know if she is indeed over him and moving on, it really isn't any of my business. She tells me what she wants me to know. So does Julie. I should also say, Sonic does too. I don't probe and I have learned the hard way not to judge what they tell me, at least not out loud and, lately, not inside myself either. I try very hard not to judge anymore.

    When I went to Julie's house I did something I felt was wrong after she explained it to me. I got nowhere trying to explain myself. We are both emotional people when we speak. So I put my logical mind over my emotional mouth and said quietly, "Julie, I will not do that again. I promise." She looked surprised then needed to go on more and I listneed then said, "I promise, I will not do that again. I was wrong. I'm sorry." I was wrong. She said, "Can we talk about it later?" I said, "Sure." The visit was a great visit. I have to remember that my daughter is very sensitive and that there is nothing to be gained by not listening to her and to fighting her feelings.

    I think this article about says it all at least about how I have learned to deal with my grown children. After Scott left, I realize it may have been avoided, although he did have so many issues about attachment. Still, I think I didn't listen enough and didn't hear him and said more than was necessary. He was not perfect either, far from it, but I take responsibility for my part.

    Here is the article I find so validating. Please feel free to chime in on how you interact with your grown children, both PCs and difficult children. I have to set far more boundaries with my difficult child or he changes from expressing himself to abusing me, which is a line I won't let any of my grown children cross. Fortunately, only one crosses it...grrrrrrr. And you know what? I can't cross into over-critical, over-opinionated, over-unwanted blabbery either. I have no right to tell them what to do with their lives, if they are doing all right and it's not on my dime. Even if it is still on my dime, like Jumper, I have no reason to tell her which career to pursue, which friends to have, how late to stay up, or to ask her blow-by-blow accounts about her days.

    Last edited: Jan 4, 2015
  2. Albatross

    Albatross Well-Known Member

    Good read, MWM. Thanks!
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Thanks for the article MWM.

    I'm experiencing a little "space" with my granddaughter whose been home from college for the holidays. It is apparent to me that she is asserting her new independence and at the same time trying to include us in her life in some fashion. It's new to all of us. It's clearly a time of transition. husband and I talked about it and decided to step back and give her the space to grow up, find her independent self so she can then reconnect in a different way.

    It's funny sometimes because she jumps back from being an "adult" to being a "kid" and as the parent figure, sometimes I'm not exactly sure how to respond. So, I practice what I learned with her mother, I "refrain." That works really well for me. I used to jump in immediately with help, or whatever the immediate response would be........now I am quiet, I wait, and in the waiting, the truth of the situation reveals itself. I didn't know how to do that before. I think as mothers, for 18 years, we are the ones who come up with ideas, solutions, opportunities, loving responses to hurts, all of it..........and then it changes. I don't want to make the same mistakes I made with her mother and enable her or presume she cannot do something...........she will make mistakes and I need to let her. That's how she'll learn. She has her own mind and is very strong, she wants to be independent and in many ways she is flourishing in her new life. In the spring she wants to get an apartment with a bunch of other girls, the next step in her independence. Each time she comes home, it's a little bit different........she grows up a little bit more..........it all seems to be going in the right direction. And sometimes, for me, it's a little weird.

    She is dating a new boy and when husband and I were asking her questions about him, just normal stuff, she was bristling......OK, so we backed off. Then she sets it up for us to meet him when we're there, goes to some trouble to make that happen........sometimes we aren't sure just how to respond to her new independence, it's this dance of pulling back and moving forward........we're letting her lead............and we're slowly learning the steps.

    Change. It just never stops. Letting go.......... just keeps on keeping on. Life.....
  4. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Jumper used to tell my everything. EVERYTHING. That stopped at about sixteen and by her senior year she kept things pretty much to herself. If she reaches out to us for support SHE REALLY NEEDS IT and we take it very seriously. Since she has never made dumb, teen decisions, we just let her go her way. She doesn't know we are standing behind her in case we need to catch her. By far, she was the easiest child to raise.

    But when she leaped from telling me everything to keeping things to herself, it took a while to get used to it. We got most of our info from her friends. Since there has never been anything she's said or done that we have found out is a lie or is alarming, we just let her go her own way her senior year of high school. Some kids are not quite that independent then. But I really think we can take our cue from them.
  5. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    I love this RM - thought I must admit the truth does not usually reveal itself- but sometimes it does. I think "refrain" will be my 2015 resolution in a word!
  6. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    Trust me, I WANT to jump in and help. But I've been told not to by both of my girls so I don't. It's hard to let them grow up...lol.