What came first? The chicken or the egg?

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by TheWalrus, Jan 23, 2016.

  1. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I never much cared for my grandmother growing up. I thought she was blunt, sarcastic, commanding, serious and a bit scary. She wasn't overly affectionate or warm, but she was intelligent and would often have conversations with me about complicated topics and valued my opinions, even as a child. There were several grandchildren and I often felt "lost" in the shuffle of my cousins - sometimes preferring to "hide" as I was the quiet one. I didn't draw attention to her.

    Looking back I see her differently, and with a whole new respect. I realize that a Difficult Child is not a new phenomena. Out of her several children, she had two - one quite severe: several marriages, often abusive, addiction issues, jail time, children she wasn't always capable of caring for. She struggled well into her 40s. However, she never went to my grandmother for a place to live or money. And she most definitely NEVER disrespected my grandparents or tried to lie or manipulate them - my grandmother would have slapped her across the face and kicked her out if she even dared.

    I have come to realize how strong my grandmother was, and her strong conviction that once she had raised those children into adulthood that they were ADULTS and it was whatever bed they had made that they must lie in. They were welcome in her home to visit and bring the grandchildren, but it was her house and her rules, and no one dared disrespect that or try to involve her into their chaos or dramas. They could save that sh*t for their own homes as far as she was concerned. And I cannot remember one time when any aunt or uncle would have DARED come to her with their problems and demands they way our children do. No matter what was going on in their lives, they respected my grandparents and kept their crap to themselves.

    And it makes me wonder, what changed? In my opinion? Society. Society now encourages parents to continue to "parent" adult children, even keeping them on their insurance until they are 26. Society "blames" parents for children who don't adjust well into adulthood and flounder, expecting the parents to keep picking up the pieces into infinity until/if they adult child ever does.

    This society has created adult children who feel entitled to their parents' resources indefinitely, and the right to treat parents as doormats with respect thrown out the window. And parents have also folded into the societal concept "it must be my fault so I have to keep trying" no matter how old their children are, how many opportunities they have squandered, how much disrespect and pain they bring us.

    It has made my look at my grandmother (and her generation) with a whole new respect, and I look back at her with an entirely different perspective. I inherited her wit and intelligence, bluntness and directness. I am working on her backbone and insistence that her home was her kingdom and any disrespect shown was shown to the door. I am working on the boundaries she made sure her children knew before they even chose to leave and her ability to stick with them no matter what.

    I am working on not laying in the bed my Difficult Child made and insisting she does. I think my grandmother crawled into her own bed each night and laid her head down knowing she had done her job and now it was their lives up for the choosing. And she lived her life and not theirs. God bless her strength and rest her soul.
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  2. Kalahou

    Kalahou Active Member

    Amen! I agree, it seems like society's changes have progressively resulted in more and more dysfunctional folks feeling entitled to and victimized by everything they can imagine, expecting all to be awarded them with the least effort on their part.
    So what happened? Seems all great societies eventually fall.
    Thanks for reminding us of the good wisdom dispensed by our prior generations of parents and grandparents.
  3. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    What a beautiful and very wise post, Walrus. I agree with everything you say.

    I too think a lot about the past. I think about how there have always been eccentric people. Those who choose to walk to their own drum. My grandparents left their families very early, my grandmother at 11, and never saw them again.

    I expected my son to just "grow up." I did not know how that was supposed to happen. My son is my only child. It did not happen. He has not grown up like I expected. Instead he wants others to take responsibility for him and any adverse consequence he has.

    I have come to believe the best thing for me is distance. I see small, incremental positive changes, but the default is still give an inch take a mile. Asking for money, food, assistance and care--while refusing to cooperate or reciprocate. Did I create this? I hope not. But I know now it is not my responsible to clean up or to fix.

    I am his mother, but I am not his caretaker. The mother of an adult child: counsel, enduring love, telling the truth, moral authority. Not more.

  4. KTMom91

    KTMom91 Well-Known Member

    Your post reminded me of my grandmother. She was an incredibly strong woman, raised four kids (who were very close together in age), owned and ran their own business, and dealt with my grandfather's alcoholism and subsequent bad behaviors. All the kids and grandkids had great respect for her; she was only 5'2" tall but everyone jumped when she asked them to.

    I don't remember that any of the older generation (my father and his brothers/sister) returned home for help; all went to college, and if they messed up, a parental visit to straighten out the offending child was made. Even though my brother and I did "move home" for brief periods in young adulthood, we didn't stay long.

    I only raised a daughter; my stepsons were 16 and 18 when Hubby and I got married, but there was some "failure to launch" there. I know I was hard on my daughter about taking responsibility for herself, given that I refer to her father as Useless Boy, who is in his 50s and still being supported by his mother, and has raised professional victim to a fine art.

    The sense of entitlement that some in this generation has developed is terrible, and yet I don't know what we can do on a large scale to combat it.
  5. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    This is just my personal opinion...
    What happened is that civilization and society has gone through massive change in the last 200 years, and especially in the last 70 or so.

    When my parents grew up, everybody had a "role". There was man's work, and woman's work. Children had specific roles - none of which included being the boss, unless one of your role was to care for younger children in which case your authority was over those younger than you and nobody else. The barber, butcher, baker, blacksmith, laundry lady... everybody had a ROLE, and you knew what was expected of you. You were raised to know what was expected of you. And then... WWII threw a monkey wrench into roles. We weren't designed to handle change at this pace. So we haven't handled it well. Nobody knows what there role is anymore. It's all grey and fuzzy. We tolerate everything - and stand for nothing. As a result, the next generation(s) don't have a base from which to define themselves.
  6. LostSoul1

    LostSoul1 New Member

    What a great post! Very insightful and very true! I often talk about how resilent kids of our generation were in comparison to kids today. If i even attempted to do one tenth of all the stunts my son has pulled .... i would not have been alive to see the age of twenty!

    It is interesting with my parents, i rarely would speak to them about any situation i was dealing with...it was just an unspoken rule...YOU HAVE TO FIGURE IT OUT YOURSELF! Today, parents are no longer parents, they have become understanding friends who no longer parent and kids get confused so no wonder they push the limits and boundaries as they know they can get away with things and not take responsibility for themselves.

    I thought i was a far more better parent than my parents were as i feared them in a way....but looking back, i have more respect for them than ever, because they gave me the gift of 'figuring things out for myself'...and looking at all the obstacles i have overcome in my life, don't think i could have been able to, had they not been this way.
  7. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    That has its consequences also my grandparents died alone they had 9 kids but they died alone you might think yes there was no one there when they died. Not there was no one there for them since for 30 years. None of them gave more then a hour a year for decades.
    Why because you do not wanna spend time with someone you fear.
  8. LostSoul1

    LostSoul1 New Member

    Yes, i can see that. I too feared my parents and never gave me emotional support for anything......i dreaded family gatherings. Also when they passed...i was somewhat relieved to be free of them. Sad to say.
  9. TheWalrus

    TheWalrus I Am The Walrus

    I "feared" my parents, too. Feared disappointing them, the consequences of bad choices - and it kept me on the straight and narrow. I am GLAD I had that fear. It gave me a healthy respect for my parents which I still have and always will.

    My grandparents died surrounded by their children. Not all of them, but they were not alone. Several of the kids stepped up and did what needed done when my grandparents could not do for themselves - because it was the right thing to do and that was the way they were raised and what was expected. They knew their "role," I guess, when it came to their parents aging. Because that generation was not all about "self" the way this generation is. Another thing society now values is the idea of "self" over "the group" or "others."

    If I needed my child, or WHEN I need my child, she will be nowhere to be found. I will be past my "usefulness" and when I am the one in need, I have no doubt she will disappear completely from my life unless there is something to be personally gained.
  10. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Its true it more about self then the group or others that is not to say they do not care about other people but those are usually spouse and kids no longer parents. Before it was parents also before that it was grandparents also.
    Its seems the other get smaller and smaller at least this is the trend I noticed in my family we even had to force children by law to take care of their parents I repeat there was a law that was made that forces them to take care of them. Our system can not take care of to many people that can not take care of themselves.
  11. 4now

    4now Member

    My grandma was a strong woman too with 3 out of 4 difficult children and an alcoholic husband, yet she made everyone love and respect her. She was never a victim and never one to put up with bs. Yet we all knew she loved us and we were there for her until the end. She had to bury her husband and 3 out of 4 of her adult children and she was never bitter, nor do I ever remember her feeling sorry for herself. I do think society has changed and that there is a greater expectation by some that parents are responsible for their adult children. I am trying to follow my grandmother's example and live my life as neither a victim or a person to be feared. I hope my grandchildren will have as many good memories of me as I do my grandmother.
  12. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Just remember, 'society' is us.

    I saw a cartoon a while back, that kinda sums it up.

    Ist frame is a 1950s setting. The parents and the teacher are looming over the kid who is looking down in shame. The teacher is holding a paper with a bad grade on it.The caption says something to the effect of "what is the meaning of this, young man?"

    The 2nd frame is modern times. The parents and the boy are holding a paper with a bad grade on it. They are looming over the teacher, as she cowers, and they are demanding angrily, "what is the meaning of this?".
  13. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    I think (and am in the minority) that all generations look back and think we were more productive, respectful, you name it. There were dysfunctional families since families existed but nobody talked about it and if you, as a kid, dared to get out of line, you could be whupped with a very hard belt and nobody cared.But there were still adult kids who were out of control, drank too much, took drugs, stole, swore at their parents etc., but it was not spoken of.

    Our kids can not feel entitled if we don't give them reason. Not all kids get everything and if they don't, they don't expect it and are not entitled. A lot of folks on this board are upper middle class or have the means in some way to give our children too much and we love them so often we do it. THAT is what makes them entitled. WE DO!
  14. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    That's true to an extent, SWOT.

    But it is also undeniable that things are very different nowadays.

    In some ways better, some worse.
  15. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    I look at it through my own point of view, of course, and I had a mother who was in the vanguard of the attempt to throw out all the rules. No 50s upbringing for me.
  16. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Not all kids responded to being afraid. That never worked with me as a kid. And I do think things are more OPEN now. But there was always child abuse, wife beating, alcoholism, drug addiction and disrespectful kids. And not all parents could ever count on their kids. And in this day and age, some of us CAN count on our kids. I know I can. And not all of our grandparents could count on their children. It's a fallacy. The internet gives us fast info to things that happen today...so the sharing of our lives is new. Things are less private now.

    It is almost a stereotype that each generation talks about how much better our generation was compared to other ones. If you live in a poor area, you will not see entitled kids. My own kids had to work for their stuff, especially my older kids, and they are not entitled...they don't expect us to support them.

    I think the biggest difference is corporal punishment, which in my opinion is NOT a good way to parent a child, and how we used to keep things a secret. There are also more divorces and single parents now and guilty parents now due to all that...this alone can make us all (myself included) feel better if we give our children too much.

    Remember that this is a Conduct Disorders board. Most adult children do not demand money from their parents nor refuse to go to school or work nor do they refuse to launch. I believe that is the exception.
  17. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Good point its not like we get here because our kids are well adjusted adults they are the exception to the rule. But you just a question if is that percentile smaller that in previous generation. Are there less well adjusted adults even if most people still are well adjusted?
    Probably its the same percentage but since the human population grew 4 times when in the past it meant maybe 60 million now its 600 million.
  18. ForeverSpring

    ForeverSpring Well-Known Member

    Since in generations past these things were never discussed, we will never know.

    I think of Amish communities, in which I have read about a lot. ALthough they have no TV, videogames or "stuff", many still leave their families, break their hearts, and are shunned forever for choosing to be "English." And they live as old school as possible.It is NOT rare for young people to run off from all they knew.

    I think it's just a human condition and "the good old days"' were probably not so good, if we knew more about the secrets behind the smiles.
  19. AppleCori

    AppleCori Well-Known Member

    Being poor does not shield a person from an entitlement mentality.

    I have lots of step-siblings who have lots of kids and grandkids, most of whom are low-income (sibs and their adult kids) and quite a few of them have a very entitled attitude.
  20. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    Do they also suffer from failure to launch?