Sunday, February 6, 2011

Parents and Adult Children: Finding The Balance

I spotted a bitter letter to the editor in The New York Times the other day. Commenting on a proposed new law in China that will require adult children to visit their parents regularly, a reader wrote that she had long "railed against the way the best of parents become 'bit players' (if that) in the lives of their adult offspring".  She referred to adult children's neglect of parents as "this most heartbreaking and also unjust 'family apartheid.'" The pain in her letter made me wince -- and wonder how she came to feel the way she did.

I also thought of friends and acquaintances with happy relationships with their adult children and of patients who have complained of either intrusive, nagging parents or patients who were parents feeling left out of their adult children's lives.

And I remembered a tearful conversation with my own mother years ago, when I was a busy and occasionally clueless twentysomething.  A close relative had suggested, with more than a trace of anger,  that I should be doing more, much more for my mother -- then in her fifties -- who had a stressful life.  I rushed to my mother and apologized to her for my thoughtlessness.  She dried my tears and embraced me. "But you're already doing so much," she said. " It brings me such pleasure to see you happy and hear about your adventures. The best thing you can do for me is to be happy and live your life. If I need any help down the road, you can be sure I'll ask."

I see many friends who are like my mother: my friend Georgia, who dearly loves her two daughters and the grandchildren they have given her, but who has built a new life for herself hundreds of miles away and my friend Tim who is tremendously proud of his four incredibly talented, accomplished adult children, but who also finds daily satisfaction in his own life and pursuits.

And I hear, especially from patients, about the dark side of parenting an adult child.  One patient I'll call Diana has a number of challenges in her daily life -- an ailing husband, a toddler,  a disabled child and a demanding home-based business. Her situation is complicated by an elderly widowed mother who lives nearby and who calls multiple times a day, not with offers of help or support, but with demands of her own as well as unsolicited advice and opinions on every aspect of Diana's life. Diana struggles to find a balance. She loves her mother and wants to be helpful, but she also feels besieged, criticized and unappreciated. There is so much love and so much pain between this mother and her adult daughter that a reasonable balance of needs and expectations is, so far, elusive.

What can help keep adult children from feeling besieged and aging parents from feeling like they are, as the New York Times reader complained, "on a socially accepted ice floe when it comes to offspring"?

Limit your expectations

The fewer expectations you have for your adult children, the less likely you are to be disappointed when they're so busy with their new lives that they don't call or visit as often as you would like.  

Think back on your young adulthood for a moment.

How much time did you spend with your own parents? 

Even young adults who feel close to their parents can get so busy with the demands of building an independent life that they don't notice the time passing. 

What to do?

Keep in touch in ways that are meaningful to them.  

My friend Sharon has two delightful and busy adult children in their thirties.  "But we keep in close touch because I communicate their way," she says. "I'm good at texting. I had to learn in order to keep up with my daughter Carrie."

And my friend Tim, whose four children range in age from 27 to 35 and lead busy lives far away from home, keeps in touch by phone and email and also on Facebook -- which he set up at their urging. The loving messages posted by his kids on his Facebook page warm his spirit -- and also the hearts of his friends reading the messages.

Reframe feelings of being on the sidelines.  

The woman writing to the New York Times complained about being a "bit player" in her offspring's lives.  There does come a time when our children grow up  to enjoy busy young adulthood: they're building careers and relationships, starting families, reveling in their independence. It's their day, their moment, just at the time when we're feeling that some major parts of our lives are beginning to wind down.  Instead of feeling diminished and left out, one can get in tune with the rhythm of life. We can reframe being a "bit player" to "having a front row seat" or "cheering them on."  Letting the pleasure of generativity flow over you as you marvel at the accomplishments of your children and grandchildren can be life-changing.

Reclaim your life. 

As a parent, you've devoted many of your adult years to nurturing your children. And, as long as you live, they will always be central to your life.  But now that your kids are grown and on their own, you have opportunities you haven't had in years to pursue interests long neglected, to enjoy new intimacy with your spouse, to imagine and create your own future.  While you may feel pleasure watching your children find love and success, they may also feel pleasure watching you thrive in your own way.  A dear family friend, Orlie Laing, who lived next door to us when I was growing up, was a particular inspiration.  After retiring as a college professor and seeing his two children into independent young adult lives, he devoted himself to music, learning to play the violin, and to re-discovering his passion for figure skating. He became a competitive ice dancer and enjoyed the sport into his nineties.  His children -- and those of us who also loved him -- were thrilled for him.  Having your own life and interests can be a great gift not only to you, but also to your children.

Let warm memories sustain you as you make new ones.  

Remembering your son or daughter as a baby or toddler who considered you his or her whole world can warm your heart. There may be times when you miss being so central to your children's daily lives. There may be times when you feel life passing you by.  My Aunt Molly used to say that, as you age, "you're welcome at the party, but the party isn't for you."  That can be a matter of perspective. But participating in the party, minus the burden of being the central focus, can be even more satisfying. Now is a time to let go of old responsibilities and expectations.  It is a time to celebrate your own independence. It is a time for new adventures of your own. Life isn't over by any measure.  When your life is full and happy, your children will be even more inclined to want to share time with you and to cheer you on, too, as you all explore your new phases of life. 


342 comments:

  1. I'm so tired of the excuses I read for adult children. Hog wash, when are adult children going to wake up and visit their mother's? They have a responsibility to their parents. Stop giving them a reason to continue this isolation to their parents. Too busy, bull... When was I not included in that busy! I truly don't need much! My kids live 2 miles away, they never visit, rarely call, and I learn information about my grandchildren on face book...How inconsiderate and cruel it that? a phone call once a week and a visit once a month, as well as an invite once a month would suffice. It's time to stop feeling sorry for the adult children! I am alone and would like to at least be considered. I try to visit them, they are never home. I ask them to let me know when they are home, so I can visit them, they never do. I call them, and they do not answer. And no, they are not mad at me, they say, they are just too busy. That's terrible. I cannot accept that, and yet, what else is there to do, I've talked to them about it, and it leads to anger in them, so for almost a year, I sit and wish, I do other things and pray. I just can't believe my children can be that uncaring. I raised them right, and they are wonderful children in so many ways, but too busy to even give me a call! Wake up 30 year olds.......mother's aren't here forever!

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    1. how very true...couldn't have written it better myself!!!!!!!!

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    2. You have just described my life (3 children and 4 grandchildren). How painful is that?
      I agree...busy? BULL SHIT!

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    3. Wow Chellmarie, I thought I was the only Mom who felt abandoned! I'm thinking of trying reverse psychology and taking my power back. The next time my son calls I am going to ignore it and not call him back. I'm not making anymore holiday or Birthday plans when he won't bother to show up or call. Sometimes I think drastic times need drastic measures. The only person I can change is myself and since I can't make him want to have me in his life I am going to stop being the door mat and give him a little of his own medicine. He wants space well he's got it. He may even wonder what I am doing that is more important than him! Lol...

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    4. So true...so very true. I just had a birthday. I got a text late in the day from one of my sons with a greeting and that he'd not been feeling good that day. Well...not good enough to call me (he's 13 hours away). My other son is even further away. I got a scant birthday greeting on facebook. I wish I could just understand it. No way around it...its hurtful. Really hurtful and I'm having a hell of a time reconciling myself to it. Is is me? I find that even if I'm on facebook and my boys are on..they never EVER initiate a conversation with me. Instead its me initiating it. WHAT do I do? I tried in the most gentele way to explain this while NOT trying them to feel at all guilty but just that I miss them and wished they'd just call, email, once in a blue while.

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    5. Wow, your writing hit home. I too have a married son who married a woman who wants very little to do with us. He has not taken ownership and we also never get invited over, and only my son will visit. Even during holiday time they go to her family. We feel so unimportant.

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    6. It is a tough situation. I have a married son who does not feel close to us even though we were very good parents. He also married a woman who has very little to do with us and it is very painful. We are always inviting them and taking the initiative, and if there is an event, my son may show up but not his wife. Now they are having a child and I hope things change. My husband and I are always trying to find ways to get close to them without smothering them either, but it is very tough.

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    7. I agree with you chellemarie. However, don't forget that there are dads out there too that feel the same way. What makes it even worse is when the the parents divorce (because of growing apart...) at the wish of the mother and the kids stand by the mother. The father is left out of the family and all but ostracized by the kids. What adds insult to inury is when the mother's boyfriend moves in and basically replaces you. There's a lot of hurt there. To find out how the adult kids don't seem to have an interest in you is one of the greatest hurts there are. My kids are both in their 20's and especially my daughter who's had a relationship that ended in basically the same way as mine did. The question is; do you keep trying and constantly get hurt or accept the fact that you're not part of their lives and try to carry on with your own. Doing that also hurts as a big part of your life is missing. Hopefully one day they'll see that they need their parents who have always been there for them.

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    8. Bravo. Selfish is the word for it but nobody is allowed to say that any more.

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    9. Wow, I have tears in reading your post. I can't believe I've found people that have experience the same thing I'm going through too. I kept feeling like I was the selfish one for wanting to be respected, valued and considered by them. I feel better just knowing I'm not alone.

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    10. You sound like a person I wouldn't want to be around either...

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    11. I have read through many of the posts regarding adult children and feel compelled to reply. I am a widow, mother of one and grandmother of two. My daughter and her lovely family live over 700 miles from me. I try to spend as much time as possible with her and her family. They have opened their home to me and I have opened my home to them. We share multiple phone calls daily and skype on a regular basis. My 3 year old grandson has learned how to skype and keeps me laughing with his calls. We spend approximately 12 weeks together at each others home. This will be the first Christmas that we are spending apart in 35 years. It will be an adjustment but we will skype so I can watch the children open their presents. They have postponed their visit to February. I was just there for 3 weeks at Thanksgiving so I think skipping this Christmas will be fine. My daughter is very protective of me and is more so over the past seven years, since my husband died. She always makes me feel important and loved. I feel blessed to have such a wonderful woman for a daughter. I still have both of my parents and I spend a great deal of time with them, they live in the same town as I do. They are very important to me and I love them very much. I will be there for them daily, there isn't anything I wouldn't do for them. I think when your adult children see the relationship you have with your parents, it influences them to have the same wonderful relationship with you.

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    12. I'm glad you have that type of relationship but there is a BIG difference when it's our daughter. Sons are totally different and tend to pull for their wife's side and if she doesn't care for his mother or family that's it. After living away from our home town all of us have return and my grandchildren have not come to visit me at all. It hurts a lot, I have come to the conclusion that my son doesn't care about me at all. It's all about his wife and her mother, no one else matters or at least that's how he acts.

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    13. My son is now 24 yrs old. I have been divorced from his fathoer for 11 yrs. About 3 yrs ago, he wrote me a very angry letter and then basically ceased almost all contact with me. His father came out of the closet after our divorce, stole all of my son's college funds, and lost his psychologist's license due to inappropriate sexual contact with clients. My son, though, idolizes him and when in-town, ignores me and spends most of his time with his father. He just arrived in-town and never told me he was coming. I was a good mother to him, have apologized repeatedly for things I'm not even sure I am responsible for, to no avail. The hurt is unimaginable. He only calls when he needs something from me. I have decided to move-on with my life and not spend so much time obsessing about our relationship. We used to be so close, but he now treats me like I am a leper. I am going to stop being the door mat until he treats me with the respect I feel I deserve. My other 2 children are wonderful and caring. I feel like such a failure, but I know what I must do to help myself. Thoughts?

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    14. My son lives 8 hours away. His wife posts pics on facebook of vacations they take with her parents and my son's dad and his wife. He barely visits once a year and then only a day or two. When they have visited, they are texting someone and the visit is strained. We go out to eat, everyone is smiles and then the next day they leave. My heart aches because I feel he doesn't want to be a part of my life or be in his. I'm 64 years old and I just cry and wonder what have I done? My daughter lives in the same city and she is very needy. She lives with her boyfriend and they have a baby. She complains to me about him but won't leave the relationship. My husband and I have tried to get through to her.

      I am rambling on. Sorry. I just feel so unloved by my children. They are so busy with the other family they just don't have time for us.

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    15. Both of my parents are now dead and I am 46 yr old mum of male offspring aged 27 and 24.
      Just spent Christmas and New Years completely alone, no disagreements or fights, it's the choices they make to have fun on their terms without having to care for anyone else. I did not treat my mum like this, shame on them. This has broken me.

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    16. I agree 100% with you about adult children needing to "wake up" and not feeling like it's
      ok to neglect or put on the back burner (way back) thinking about or visiting/doing for parents. Yes, there needs to be a balance, but
      more and more today, lives are busier, less and
      less folks know who their neighbors are and it's
      not nice for parents who have loved and doted on, cherished, sacrificed, etc. for their children up and through adulthood and then their children want to do as they will with little thought about how it affects their parent.

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    17. I have cried on and off all day and reading all these posts I see I am not alone in feeling rejected and unappreciated by my adult child who lives far away. I don't want much. A really good conversation on the phone, an occasional acknowledgement of how hard I worked to raise her as a single mother, a query about my health or happiness or work. Perhaps this is just a new generation's way of treating parents. I have no siblings, parents or husband. My only child lives far away. She is married, very well off financially and always "busy" with work, friends, travel. When I do speak to her or see her, she is pleasant but aloof like a distant relative. I try to visit her, call her, send her poems, little framed photographs and things I can afford on my small income. She barely responds or acknowledges the things I do. When i try to have a "deeper" conversation she retreats. If i even mention any problem I have in passing she says i am being dramatic and ONLY complain even though I rarely speak about myself to her and she rarely asks and if she asks, she doesnt listen to the answers.

      I see some of her friends who didnt move far away and what close relationships they have with their mothers and I am so jealous.

      No advice that I havent already tried and given myself. i tried trying to talk about this with her. I tried not calling and emailing much and she got upset and said i was passive aggressive. i tried just being a distant relative like she acts. And i have my own life. Just sad

      I thought i would make a photo album of our little trips together and give it to her and maybe she would remember our bond.



      I struggled for years as a single mother and on my own raised and nurtured my daughter. I worked and worked but found time to read to her, take her to hear music, see plays, do volunteer work together, make our small apartment pretty and colorful and create family traditions.

      I know all the remedies like find my own life. I have my own life but i have a hole in my heart thinking of how close we were when she was growing up.

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    18. I cried so much while reading this and all the comments. My warmest thoughts and feelings to all the hurting parents. I was also comforted to see that I'm not alone in feeling forgotten, disliked, and even unloved. I was a struggling, single mother raising three great kids. Growing up for them was not perfect. I did my best with little money, being abandoned by their father, and the imperfect childhood I had and the issues it left ME with. I put up walls with my mother and she needed me in the end but I wasn't there. I wish I could change it but I can't. Parent's are not perfect, but they are OURS! WHAT is a "good" mother?? WHAT does that matter? Did she burn you with hot oil? Did she keep you in a cage? When mothers (or fathers) are alone.. are needy.. they are all too often getting the attitude from their children of, "Well! We have our OWN family, and our children come first!!"

      I've been thinking lately about the command to "honor your father and mother" and wondering this.. WHY is there no command to "honor your children"?? In America and the West we seem to live as though there is some LAW to honor, value, respect, encourage and praise our CHILDREN.. I mean, God FORBID they should develop "low self-esteem"! We throw all our energies, time and money into building them up in every way. We shrink back from saying anything that could "harm their self-image" And I just wonder if this growing neglect of parents isn't the backlash of all that pop-psychology gone awry.

      In short, and in general, when we honor our parents, our children will likely honor us. And their children will likely honor them. Sadly, it's too late for me. I did not give the honor due my dear mother. But it doesn't make this coldness from my children hurt any less. And I am determined to find some kind of way to make this better that won't make me a bitter old woman, because that could easily happen.

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    19. Are we all realizing a new way of young parents...I would never have done this to my parents....something has changed in the world....what can we do? Grandparents need to be part of their childrens lives it's a balance good for all. I cry so much because I just want to hear from them a little. I don't need to be joined at the hip and I understand the need they have too. But something needs to break this ice because too many are in pain. Also grandchilren are going to think we don't have any interst in them. I have always felt that the development in children is also connected to the complete family~

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    20. I have also been going through the same thing. I understand my sons' have their own lives and I respect it but I never treated my parents this way. A phone call once in a month would be appreciated. My older son lives less than 10 mins from our house and has not seen our Christmas tree in 13 years.

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    21. Reading the posts above makes me feel better. I thought it was just me. It seems like it is more common than I thought. Part of me feels like I need to fight for the relationship with my son 28 and my daughter 24. But it has to be a two way street. I ask myself all the time what did I do wrong. I can think of more than a few things and mistakes that I have made. I don't have a close relationship with my mother. I don't have the answer to why things have worked out the way they have. And I feel like I am throwing in the towel and giving up. But a relationship take two people to make it work. I can't do it alone. So I am going to live my own life and wish them the best. I miss my granddaughter but there seems to be nothing I can do. She looks just like me and I miss her so much but I have to let go. My son is having another child this year and I might not get a chance to know him or her at all because his wife hates me. Can't change people can only change myself and be open for the day that things may get better.

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    22. It seems that most of the adult children today are out of touch with their parents. I have one child who is 31, married and has a 2 yr old son. My daughter in law has never wanted to get to know me and I feel that she deliberately made my son become distant with me. She has insecurities with women I guess.I remarried 10 years ago and have not been close to my son since. He took sides with his dad when we divorced. We live in different states and they are more like distant relatives. Never call, email or come to visit. I only get to see my grandson on Facebook. I have tried everything to have a relationship with them, but all they care about is themselves and her family.

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    23. First of all, I ask God to order my life and guide my paths and direct my divine purpose and destiny. Then I put all my trust in him to do that. Then I have decided to be my very own best friend to myself! Take beautiful care of myself and think good thoughts and not believe satan's lies about my future and old age. He is the author of breahking up families. You are not restling against each other, but rather against principalities in high places. Don't let Satan laugh at your sadness. Ask God to order your future! Then you can relax and enjoy. He will work on your adult kids for you, then you can just kick back and enjoy with inner peace. I promise this is the only answer. I have three grown children and relate too. But when i start feeling those negative thoughts, I refuse satan's lies. I do something special for someone else and also something special for me! :)

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    24. You have to ask God to order your life and guide you to purpose and destiny for you. Then trust that he is in control of everything including your adult children, your emotions, and your aging future. Satan will feed you with lies in your mind if you allow. I have decided to be my own very best friend and fall in love with myself. :) and remember God is ordering my paths, not my 37, 33, and 30 yr old adult children! Only God can fix it all, if we relax and let him. You can actually say.....respectfully...ok God I gave that problem to you, now I am going to pour myself a cup of coffee and by myself some flowers! After all, we are commanded yo love others as ourselves! :)

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    25. I'm a married 30 year old who comes from divorced parents. My husband and I both work 50 plus hours a week and both my mom and dad expect us to visit once a week. If we don't, we're given the guilt trip, or they get very angry. We also have unless to try and fit in a visit which makes our weeks extremely stressful.
      Long story short, some of you are expecting too much out of your children. Times are different from when you all were younger. Both people in the house must work, and it now takes two to run a house. A forty hour week is now part time if you are trying to make it in this world. All of that doesn't leave much time for anything else. In a perfect world we would all see or parents once a week or once a month, but the world is not perfect and adult children are just trying to survive in this day and age.
      I'm trying to ignore the anger and guilt my parents are giving me when e only visit every other week. Children shouldn't have to worry about this. We have enough worries in this kind of economy.

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    26. I had the same problem ang agree, parents are too demanding these days. After a car accident almost 6 years ago, my health deteriorated and my mum doesn't believe me, she thinks I'm out there partying, I took time off work for over 4 years and still stuggle daily, she expects me to get in my car and drive over once a week, only to listen to her whinge about my two brothers who live at home rent free with so many problems, including money of which we have helped her out in the thousands, renovated her home, helped her deal with family issues and a drug addict younger brother, i don't need more stress, as my health is not good, she never once talks about my life, or praises me, I feel like she has never loved me from a young age, I could tell back then, she has never once said she loves me, I am 40 years old. To top it off, my younger brother who lives at home with her, has manipulated her so he can get his hands on my share of the will, I used to do everything for my mum before my health deteriorated, now she forgets all i have done. So now it has become that bad because of my brother lies to my mum, that she believed him after saying disrepecting statements to myself and husband, we just wanted an apology which didn't come, now she has turned against me, including all my aunts,uncles and cousins. As they get older they become too demanding. Being a nurse she says she understands my health problems, of which she is not my specialist and has no idea of the problems and limitations it causes in my general life, due to this I have not been able to have children....I have just given up, she could not accept a call from me once a week, not enough and when I did visit her, her attitude was rude....so that is it, now she is dying, it makes me feel so terrible, I am torn, as I have always loved her and told her that, when I hug her, she stands there like a stick, won't even put her arms around me, I am the only daughter and am not good enough, but yet, my two brothers 38 + 42 live at home rent free when she is on the pension with no money....I am totally discusted, but my mums sister gets involved and abuses me at a family wedding when she had been drinking saying I am killin my mother just like my brothers, how can you return to love her after this treatment. All I know is parents stick their nose in your business to much and become obcessed about when they are going to see you, my dad didn't believe that i was going to a medical appt instead of visiting him, so he had his wife (not my mother) call my specialist and lie and say she had my permission to confirm the appt for me, after my husband had spoken to my dad the night before and that morning that i was going....after this I cancelled, as my dads wife was a patient for years, so I felt like shw would go in their and say I have permission to find out about her condition, as no one believes me, the only person who knows how hard it is to get through any day is my husband, as he see's it and helps with everything, now I have to live with guilt of losing two parents and one who is dying...not right!

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    27. We have the exact situation. Son and his wife and our granduaghter live about 20 miles away. However several times a week my son passes withing several miles of our home and won't stop by. My wife and I are deeply hurt as we have always been there for him. We have stopped calling him because we were told we ask too many question about when we can get together. They are always too busy, but at the same time through Facebook we see the regular visits with his wifes parents. We brought this up and were told they don't treat us any differently, they are just that busy and we need to get over it. We are both deeply hurt and are constantly stuggling with the void of not seeing our grandchild grown up!

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    28. This post has annoyed me! Not all children are the same. I am a young parent who moved away from my parents 5 years ago. It is I who feels 'neglected' I never get a phone call unless I ask for one. On facebook neither parent initiates a conversation, it is me. Apparently it is the child who should go to the parent once the child has left home, according to my father. I always have to make the contact, but when do either parent think about giving me a call once in a while out the blue to ask how I am? How the kids are? I feel so depressed about it, but if I talk to them I get called needy, or I'm feeling sorry for myself. My partner works long hours and I have no other adult conversation. My parents moan when I see them that they never have their grandchildren over night, they don't ask. But I should just know to take them over? I don't think so. It isn't just parents that feel like this.

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    29. My 27 year old daughter has cut most communication with us, won't text, answer her phone, email. We saw her today, by accident and she acted like she was forced to eat slime when her and her boyfriend were forced to talk to us. I wish she would have turned and walked away, the pain would be so much less. She only contacts us when she can use us for something - it hurts. We are actually considering moving from the area, then she can have her boyfriends family as her family. I have cried too many tears, time to leave her behind.

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    30. My 21 year old already shows strong behaviors like you described. Now she and her boyfriend want to have a baby and get on Welfare. They adore his druggy mom and family. I want to move away before they get pregnant because if I stay around here, they will milk me for every penny and I will give money I don't have because I have a big heart. My grandkids will be raised to treat me like slime while getting all the money they can out of me. Meanwhile, they will be raised to love, adore and respect his druggy family.

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    31. Ms. Chellemarie..... I am too a parent of 2 adult children, 1 31 & another 27. Do you realize how many times you have said the word I? I counted 16. You may need to read your comments over and over again, to me you are sounding quite selfish. Who is to say that your adult children are required to visit you, call you? It is not a law nor a rule. There are obvious signs which I see in your post as to why they do not visit? Do you see them? I do.

      My children and I have a perfectly great relationships, on different levels when they were younger. Need to understand that a Parent of Adult children (single or married), the relationships change. By pushing and expecting your adult child to call & visit you, & vise versa, will only bring turmoil than just backing off and letting them deal with their own problems.

      They are trying to find themselves & work out their own problems in general, and don't always want the older parent to know their issues. There could be many reasons why don't contact you / visit you. Could be your comments above, do you talk to them the way you vented here? If you do, then you have 1 answer.

      There are times when my daughter & I do not talk for a couple of months, sometimes 3 or 4 months, & I am completely ok with this. I know in my heart that she is doing her best to take care of her adult life, and what ever problems she may have, works them out on her own, & becomes a stronger human being because of it. My son is the same way. I do know they visit each other more, than I see them, and it's perfectly ok with me. As they are closer in age, and understand each other's life better than us older parents could. It is on a different level.

      When we do talk or visit, they are beautiful and precious moments and always end in with all of us saying, I love you and miss you, just know that! It is the most amazing feeling in the world. Receive this from both of my adult children.

      I personally do not want my adult children to feel pressured to call or visit me. I as a parent have completed my job, and just love the moments we do have an cherish them with every ounce of my being.

      One day I may need them, and would not want either one to feel pressure to help or take of me, but want to help with every ounce of their being

      Have you ever just sent flowers, and say just thinking of you, hope you have a blessed day? See I do this for my daughter every now and again, and not expect anything in return. When least expected, I hear the phone ring, with my daughter saying thanks mom, I cried when I got the flowers, had a bad week with hubby and his kids, and you just knew the exact time to appreciate me. I will always love you and appreciate you. The sentiment is always returned to her. Can't get any better than this, in my book.

      My son will send him little things he likes, like a rare guitar magazine or a vintage piece he may enjoy, he too always calls and states hey mom, thanks, you are absolutely the best, I will always love you mom, all my friends are jealous of me, because I always tell them what a fabulous mom I have. Now talk about a heart wrencher when he says this to me...the best son ever.

      He now says don't understand why my friends always complain of their parents? Ha, ha, I recall when there was a time we had a few bumps along the way.

      Letting go of your adult children and giving them space is the best medicine in the world. Your job as a parent is done. Now is the time to treat them like the adult they deserve to be. I have had to re-create my life and now live life for me, with new hobbies, volunteer work etc. Older parents can always find ways to fill the empty nesters syndrome we get when we are not needed anymore.

      I love my adult children, with my heart and soul, and know when my time has come to leave, they will be just fine!!

      Proud parent of 2 adult beautiful human beings.

      Just my 2 cents worth.

      SoCalMom

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    32. Interesting perspective from the senior parents..... as a forty something mom my parents made it very clear "they had a life" ten years ago when I was having babies. Particularly my mother would constantly brag about long extended trips and became angry when I didn't ask for all the details. My husband was in residency working 90 plus hours a week and we had no family, well we did have my parents "in town" but they, "had a life". I was just trying to keep my head above water. My mom proudly announced she gave "2 weeks after a birth and then you're on your own". My husband was shocked at their view of family relationships. He grew up in a very close asain family and family comes first and then "freinds and having a life". When my parents finally arrived back into town we would usually hear from them a week or so after they had gone thru their mail and rested. Everything was always around their schedule. The time they were in town became less and less because they wanted to be at their cabin in the mountains when it got too hot. They entertained their friends during summer holidays and in 12 years we were invited twice during the holiday time. Our invitations were always when all friend inviations were declined. In 12 years it was always "we'll check our calender and I'll let you know if it doesn't work with our schedule".

      We moved five states away I know they are angry. My mother told me to hire someone to "get my house together" with our daughters college fund money she gave us, she wasn't available. I packed our house solo as my husband was in Europe for work and suffered a serious back injury. My mother was not available yet I saw her out driving around and she attended a charity conference with friends. It was an emotionally difficult time and I needed a mom. Same with the birth of my children. These are times I really needed support. We need to consider other cultures. The mom is right by her daughter's side as she becomes a mom with love and lots of support. When her mom ages, her daughter is there for her with love and support. I have told my daughters that nothing is beneath me and whatever they need, I will be there for them. My mom is exhausting and has written letters to my daughters non-stop demanding they face time her etc. She buys them lavish gifts and sent me a 99 cent card for my birthday. She is very manipulative with her money, it's given if your doing what she wants, otherwise, nothing. Her mother was the same way and I thought she would be different. I feel sad for my mom. I am blessed that my husband and I have a lot financially and I think she is jeleous. Her gifts to me are always things to clean the house and she seemed angry when she approached me one day and said, "Emily tells me you now have a cleaning lady". She is classic narsastic and diffiuclt to deal with. I feel as though I am discovering myself for the first time. Moving away has been a true blessing. I love her and don't wish anything bad upon her, I just couldn't stand to be around her anymore.....

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    33. SoCalMom: Thank you for your perspective. I wish you were my mom. She has nagged me so much about the fact we only skype about once a month and see each other in person 3 times a year that I don't enjoy contact with her because it makes me sad. I've tried to explain that we love her but we are busy sometimes, and being on the West Coast makes for some complications with time-zones and naptimes/bedtimes, etc. Sadly, anything I say about her negative comments gets thrown back at me as "hurtful". We are military, so it's not like we chose to be this far away, though I have no desire to be much closer anymore. :( Ironically, I grew up in England, and thought my mom would be my best supporter, having been away from extended family as a parent, but she is repeating the pattern of her mother. I don't want my kids feeling guilty as I did for things so entirely outside of our control.

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    34. PS- for the record, I wouldn't trade my mom for anyone, no offense ;) , however, I would love to trade her attitude and expectations if I could.

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    35. This is so true and it is happening to me. I have been ill and I cannot come and go as I would like. I feel just abandoned. It is hard to take.

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    36. I've also been experiencing many of these feelings of 'unwillful' exclusion by my 31 yr old, who moved to CA in August. We had planned for me to visit for a short vacation for me, soon.
      In a phone convo yesterday she blurted out, "I'm not living for you." She never can explain her feeings, as a new job and apt. 1500 miles away in the same community as her sister. It hurt. I'm not going; not so much as a apology did she follow up with. If she needs that much distance and time away, I think it's better not to go. I felt abused. The 30s crowd has its new rules of social engineering --gone are the days for the when family time was a priority. They have made their circle of friends their family - and that's all they need. I'm also in recovery from a serious hospitalization;she's hurt about a boyfriend she left who won't beg her to come back....a mother is a lonely estate and it is not so easy to frame a new social set when are primary bonds are tested.

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    37. I have read through this whole blog and I see that I am not the only one feeling rejected by my adult child. I have a 21 year old daughter that moved 2000 miles away and I barely ever see her or hear from her now. She lives with her boyfriend and just had her first baby girl and my first granddaughter on February 23rd, 2013. I took off work and went there for 5 weeks to be with her when Adalyn was born and to help out. I tried to help her as much as I could but now that I'm back home I don't hear from her and she has said some pretty hurtful things to me. I stayed with her for 3 weeks & the first 2 weeks I spent in a hotel room with my 17 year old daughter. My oldest daughter wanted us to come stay with her but after about 2 weeks she was saying very mean things to me... I tried to just ignore her mean comments because she was over 8 months pregnant and I figured that she was just tired of being pregnant but when she had Adalyn she was mean to me after she had her.. Her father & I are planning on taking our 17 year old daughter & our fifth wheel and starting to go to where my oldest daughter is next winter so we won't miss out on Adalyn. I miss my daughter and my granddaughter but I don't know what to say to my daughter to make her understand that she shouldn't be so hurtful to me. I would never talk to my mom the way she has me. The other day I was talking to her trying to get things hashed out before we come there because I get emotional when she talks like crap to me. She told me the other day that I was up her a** when I was there.. I don't want to stay with her when I go back I want to just stay in our fifth wheel and see my granddaughter when it's ok. I feel so hurt by her. I am trying to remember when I was 21 and had my oldest daughter and I was pregnant with my 17 year old at that time and my mom lived 35 miles away but I was always very close to my mom. It just has hurt me so much. I have always put my daughters first and to try to just focus on myself is hard. I miss my oldest daughter so much and miss my granddaughter.. My oldest daughter just makes me feel so bad I don't know what to do to change things. I feel like we will never be close again. We used to be but she has just been so mean to me and has such hurtful things I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive and forget.. I need some advice.

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  2. Wow, chellemarie. I agree with you. I have three wonderful daughters, two of them with children of their own. One lives 1500 miles away, the other with no children is coming back soon to live in my area, but I'm sure I'll never see or hear from her, and the other lives 25 miles away, and never calls me. I do hear from the one who's far away but usually only after I've called. I get to have my granddaughters every other weekend who are small right now. Thank God for that, because if not for that, I'd never know how they are or what's going on in their lives. But of course, money is always welcome and sparks a small amount of conversation when it's given. And it's really difficult when I have no siblings of my own. So I understand.

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  3. Hi, chellemarie and Blackdog:

    Thanks so much for your candid and valuable comments. I see and sense a lot of disappointment, heartbreak and unmet expectations in your comments. The only thing I would like to suggest is that hanging on to expectations that aren't being met keeps the hurt going. We really have no power over the choices our adult children make. However, we do have control over our reactions to the choices. If we can let go -- even a little -- of our expectations that our children will be more attentive, we can give ourselves the freedom to enjoy life without them or more so when they do come around.

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    1. But Dr. kathy, I believe Im speaking for quite of few of us when I ask this: You say "when the come around" but whose to say they ever will? I think my daughter will just keep going on the other direction. I truly feel that my adult child has sociopathic tendancies-that is-devoid of feelings. She even admits to having a wonderful childhood. She's just "busy". Yeah untl she and her boyfriend want money.

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    2. One should treat others as one would like others to treat oneself.

      And this one...what goes around comes around.

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  4. Dr. McCoy, Thank you for your suggestion to my ongoing problem. I do understand what you are saying, but I don't think you understand me. I don't expect my kids to do this or that, I only want to be included in their lives. Is that wrong? It hurts me, to be excluded. My oldest daughter, now includes me. I am so grateful for that. She gets it! My other daughter finds reasons to not include me. She has always had an anger issue with me! My son includes me, when he wants something, and tells me off when I suggest something to him, stating that I always try to fix things. He is in prison, and needs money, books, letters, help. I do what I can, and when I give an opinion on something, he gets mad at me. I feel like a yo yo! I hurt so badly inside. I don't let them know I am hurt, I already tried that, and the kids laughed at me, and stayed away longer. My one daughter even said, " Poor Mom, get her a crying towel." So cruel and inconsiderate. I am alone. I am on disability, and hurting financially as well. I ask nothing from my kids. They know I go without! I can't even eat out once a month. My sister buys me paper products once a month, yet my kids don't help at all, or even ask me if there is anything I need. I really suffer in these hard times. All I ask is that my kids include me in their lives. Nothing more. And you think my expectations are too high???? Chelle

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    1. Get yourself a pet. Something easy to take care of like a cat or bird. Shower it with love and affection. Go to the library and take out some books on inexpensive crafts. Become so busy that you do not have time to sit and dwell on your adult children. It's your time now. Sleep late,take a nice long walk,check out volunteer opertunities in your neighborhood. Check out senor centers for people who have the same problem as you. Befriend them and make a new family

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    2. anonymous dec w. You know what? We have a pet, many pets left us by our kids, which make travel difficult if not impossible. I don't need a library,I am not bored. I work my butt of on the family business, and taking care of my mother in law, my sister in law and our disabled daughter. I am busy. I also have an autoimmune disease which makes going outside in daylight most of the year impossible to very difficult. I volunteer and have done so my whole life. I don't need to hang out with other people miserable about their kids who don't feel any need to give back the love they have been given , or are too selfish to consider their elderly parents. Having a pet or a hobby is not the equivalent of spending time with your family at a holiday. This is just nuts. I am 62 years old, have one disabled daughter, a husband who has been ill for nearly 30 years, a mother in law we have supported for 35 years, a business to take care of the taxes on, investments to manage, and in this economy we don't have much money left for a trip or a cruise or other such nonsense. I would love to take a walk, but the scar on my heart makes me very weak, and the granulomas it causes in my lungs,joints, kidneys, and liver make me fatigued most of the time. So my freaking kids either get with the program and show a little compassion, or you know what? I am going to give it all away and go on a beautiful trip without any of them, eat, drink nd be merry until the money is gone and then hopefully the excess will kill me.

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    3. Yes, I feel your expectations are too high, stop pushing to be in their lives, when you stop pushing, things do eventually change.

      SoCalMom

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  5. Very interesting topic.

    I have been married 47 years, still with my husband. We're retired, busy, and get along great with each other. We have three successful adult kids in their early 40s. To me, a fairly close-knit family is an important component in order to live in the world we now find ourselves.
    Our kids live hundreds of miles away from us, and we rarely hear from them. My husband is rather stoic about this matter, and says, "It is what it is." How do I get to that point?!!

    Through the grace of God, raising our children, three born within three years, was smooth-going. No problems with the law, drugs, etc. All grew up, and headed out to life.

    I don't see any problems as to why they are not in touch with us. All seems fine. I just think there should be some degree of closeness with thier parents, and it's not happening. Yes, this does make me sad I will admit. I was close to my parents who died while I was a young married woman. I guess because of their early deaths, I put a premium on being close to ones parents.

    In the final analysis, what is the best thing to do? Of course, kids don't ask to be born--but after raising them in a decent, loving environment, are we now relegated to once in a while hellos?

    Thanks so much for any insight you can provide.
    Just trying to put things in their proper place!

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    1. thank you -perfect response, I wish I could get where you are. I am just really hurt and angry. I think much of it is that we did have a hard time and i did most of the helping. I put off my career ambitions to be the mom and caretaker because one of our children is disabled and my in laws were also damaged and needed help. Now at 62 and ill, I am getting nothing back. I didn't do it TO get something back, but I admit I am hurt to be just not even considered.

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    2. Oh My Annie...

      You mentioned you didn't do it to get something back, but hurt not to be considered? Sorry do not agree with this. You need to change your values. I have the 2 best adult children in the world. We all love and respect each other unconditionally. I am no longer a parent my job is done. But I do love my family! :)

      I love my family!
      SoCalMom!

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    3. Sorry but you will always be a parent...from the day your child was born until the day you die you will be a parent no matter how much you are or are not involved with your kids.

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    4. Sorry, but I will also disagree, you will not always be a parent. Yes to a certain level, but parenting my adult children, like SoCalMom is the last thing I should do. They are grown. My job is done....if I were not here tomorrow, then they have to do what they are doing, all on their own, anyways. So why interfere?

      Why is that parents have to feel like in control? My goodness, my 80 yo mother is such a pain in the a**, has been her whole life, literally, and has always had a favorite child, of course not I. Did everything for her for years, finally stopped about 5 years ago, because it was either me going 6 feet under or? She nearly destroyed my marriage many times over the years. On the other hand my 89 yo mother in law is a gem, never interfered within my marriage with her son and I. To this day, I would do anything for her, because she is the type of person you want to be around. Non judgemental, non whining, just a true joy. I have said to myself many times, I want to be like my M-in-L, she is the true example.

      Like SoCalMom, I love my family too!

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  6. Anonymous, After much heartache missing my adult children and feeling that my children should indeed take time to include me in their lives, at the very least, as you said, an occasional "Hello"; I have come to this conclusion; I cannot change how they think.They, my children don't share my thoughts on this.I have come to realize that there is nothing I can do about it! What I did instead, is stop calling them, even though I only called once a month, I stopped entirely I stopped trying to catch them at home, by a quick drive to their house. I got busy with my own life and did not worry about it anymore. Of course, to me, this is not just not right, or rather normal, in my thinking. I let it go, I could not change how they think or feel.After a month, I heard from one daughter, I did not act surprised, I just chatted with her. Then my other daughter, and on and on. I decided if they ask why I have not called, I would say the very thing they have said to me, "WEll, I know how busy you are, and I thought I would let you call me when you have the time. I feel much better now. I let go of wanting the change and expecting them to think like I do,and now they call. I still think these kids are rude and disrespectful,by not including me in their lives on a regular basis, but I can't change how they think. I am missing out on being a part of their lives, and so are they, missing out on my life. I accept what I must, and enjoy the time we do have, Holidays, and the like. The occasional Hellos, you like to have is just another example of the way these kids think in their generation. I say accept it, you cannot change it, and stop calling them for awhile, a long while. Wait and let them call you. Enjoy what you do have, and forget the rest. It still hurts, but try to understand that the world is a very different place now, they were not raised in our world, in our time. Things were a slower pace then, today it's run run run and they are exhausted. Let go of your own wants, and accept theirs. We can't change it! Good Luck, and God Bless, Chelle

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    1. Thanks. This was helpful as I am feeling pretty discouraged right now. I thank god for good friends and my many interests, though it doesn't fill the void. If I visit my kids there is no problem, but they never call, never visit. Meanwhile they visit my ex over and over. He had an affair in our marriage and somehow they feel badly for him. He always acted like the victim and I am aware that he influenced them against me. I was a working single mom who put them both through private school. I wasn't perfect and have apologized for any hurts I might have caused (there was never verbal nor physical abuse). But, somehow I am the bad guy. My ex remarried a controlling and manipulative woman whom my kids don't like, but she still gets to see them more than I do because she is with my ex. I have friends that don't have kids who seem happier than I do.

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    2. Good advice. My daughters were raised in a good loving home by my wife and I. They were never a problem and are achievers. We spent many many hours with them and cherish them always. They are fine young women.

      Even though my wife and I are now apart after many many years together, my kids still call and even visit although they are 1000 miles away. But they live in the same city together and have a close bond with each other. I let them call me and it seems to work. Once in a while I sense one of them is having a rough time and so I pick up the phone and call, opening the conversation with , " I thought i would call and just check in with you". Seems to work. And I visit them every three months, staying no more than three days which seems about right. I guess the best thing I can do is be positive, keep busy, and be a good example for them, after all, they do watch for that.

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    3. Thank you ALL for making me feel less alone... Although I am sorry to hear your pain, I do feel a bit re-assured in the fact that I'm not alone. I keep asking myself, WHAT HAVE I DONE TO MAKE MY ONLY CHILD DISLIKE ME THIS MUCH>>> I have always been there for him, and have tried again and again to invite him to be part of my life, to NO avail...He is now 27. I do know he loves me, but he seems to hate almost everything about me as a person. He works in the public, and says I am an embarrasement to him. My sister in law, who can at times be very loud and crude, is his idol...He buys her cards and gifts for her birthday and Mothers Day...??? I have been single, for about 12 years, since his father left. About 4 years ago, I bought a house that I LOVE!!! He however HATES it. He says the only way I could have embarrased him more, was to buy a house on the other side of the tracks.. Has not been to visit since last Christmas. (I live less than 20 miles from him)

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    4. I feel the same way that you do about our children not getting their priorities straight. My husband died 5 years ago and my mother died a week after my husband. I do feel very lonely too. I have tried to stay busy on the weekends which is the hardest time because that's when my adult children are wanting time alone with their spouses to celebrate a break after a long work week. I miss my husband most of all on the weekends because this is the time we enjoyed the most together. I feel like it it not just our children that neglect us but the I see young teenagers being neglected by their parents too. Everyone has their noses buried in a cell phone now a days. This is a bad thing in my opinion because these children are going to be even worse adults when they become parents. They will never take the time out to spend with their parents because they were allowed at a young age to neglect their parents by spending too much time on a cell phone or television or computer. God help us all. But then now that I think about it God must be the sadest one of them all because he is being neglected more than anything or anyone now a days! Oh, I forgot to mention that I have taken up ballroom dancing to pass my time away and it has helped introduce me to new people in my life.

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    5. you lonely mothers need to get a life and stop trying to control your children they have their own lives and you have already lived yours. you are so selfish and over bearing that's why they never visit. you think they owe you anything? they didn't asked to be born.

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  7. I'm so glad you're feeling more at peace with your situation, Chellemarie, and letting go of your wants and accepting your children's choices. I know it hurts. It isn't our way of being family. But, at the moment, that's the way it is with them.

    Anonymous, thank you for your comments. I can understand your pain in wanting a close family and not feeling that you have one. I think each of us has a vision of how a family should be and, unfortunately, at least for now, your adult children don't share the same vision. The best way to resolve the issue for yourself is to let go of the expectations you have about your children being close and come to a state of acceptance or relative peace with what is. That's much easier to say than to do. But read back over Chellemarie's comments over time. She is engaged in that process and seems to be feeling a bit more at peace with the situation.

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  8. We all tend to seek out pleasant and inviting experiences and like to share those times with people we enjoy. If others are not making it a priority to spend time with you, there is likely a good reason. Instead of DEMANDING attention, BE someone others seek out to spend time with.

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    1. What a critical and angry response. A lot of young people are growing up with a strong sense of their own entitlement at the expense of those who nurtured them.I wonder if you are mistaking a hurt/perplexed/rejected tone as a demanding one?

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    2. "A lot of young people are growing up with a strong sense of their own entitlement at the expense of those who nurtured them"

      Well said. If one more person tells me to get a life or a hobby I feel as if I will explode. I was a full time mom and still am for the disabled kid who is a constant patience needer, eater-- but I feel as if they have no respect or love for people who raised them and treated them well, and set the up for the success they are enjoying. I am not dead yet. I don't want to "watch" their lives. I want to live and be a part of a family, not stuck in an old people stink hole to die.

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    3. You do not own your children. They are a gift and you bring them into this world and nurture and raise them without expecting anything in return. That is the meaning of unconditional love. They then go out into the world to make their own contribution and find their own happiness. As a parent I just want my children to do whatever makes them fulfilled, find peace and be happy and to go out and chase their dreams. It is unfair to impose your high expectations on others in a very self righteous way. It creates a lot of guilt and resentment. It is off putting and nagging and turns people right off. They are adults and they do not need to spend the rest of their lives 'paying their parents off' for 'all their sacrifice'. Just let them be free and happy and just b/c they are not giving you the attention you demand does not mean they don't love you. They are adults now, they have spent the last 20-30 years under your wing. Now is their time to live their lives. Just let them free.

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    4. OMG. This is for the response to Jan 30...3:19AM.....are you kidding me? NO ONE IS DEMANDING attention. So you must not have any children or are a parent with kids who actually cares. Remember actions speak louder than words. We just want to be acknowledged by our kids... It has nothing to do with "paybacks"

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  9. I am very perplexed about my daughter's inability to call me every once in a while. But when she needs babysitting, she'll call immediately. She lived 500 miles away, and has a busy career. But I am tired of calling her weekly to see how the kids are. Half the time she doesn't return my calls.

    I have friends who have children who live nearby. They see each other daily. One friend spends every Sunday with her grandsons.Another sees her granddaughters daily. I'm not asking for that much contact - just an occasional phone call.

    My husband and I are retired, but we are very busy. We take academic classes with other retirees and we tutor at a local school weekly. We are involved with our place of worship, and we are active in a local charity. I fill my schedule with activities so I'm wanted and appreciated somewhere. But it upsets me when my friends have much closer relationships with their children. I feel "used," and not loved.

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    1. That is an irrational feeling. Just b/c they want to be free and independent does not mean they do not love you. They are adults for goodness sake. They do not want to be treated like children anymore or smothered. Give them some space and freedom to make choices as to how they spend their time knowing that they love you regardless. Do adult children need to spend the rest of their lives proving their love to their parents? How exhausting! They want to be exploring life, meeting new people their own age, experiencing raising their own family and chasing their dreams. If you truly love them, be happy for them instead of thinking of your own needs.

      A lot of selfish parents on here that think they 'own' their children or are somewhat entitled and their children should forever be circling around them pandering to their needs.

      The meaning of unconditional love is that you do it without expecting anything in return. What's with this 'strings attached' kind of parental love. I have cared for you now I expect X and Y and Z. How self righteous and controlling.

      Your children in their hearts love you. They just do not feel the need to spend the rest of their lives showing it in various ways that are 'expected' in order for you to feel good.

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  10. I came from a family of 6. I was the only girl. Over the last 35 years, I loved having my father and mother in my life. I talked to them every other day. I visited them often, included them in every holiday and vacationed with them. Our memories together as a family was precious. They are both gone now, I miss them terribly. Now I am 62, I have put my life aside for my children who have lots of medical issues. They call wanting me to drop everything to aid them. I have and did. Now I am older and going downhill aging. My daugther said to me yesterday, "I have my own family now". Oh I was good enough through the years to aid and give over my time and life so she could be taken care of and I let my time go by to just go off and do for me. I thought that was loving our children as a mother. Now that I am aging and just went to them for help, they were detached and took the stand, oh well, I hope it works out for you. I loved, sheltered them for years after age 18, gave money for college and apartments, and supported one for 5 years. All I ask is that they watch out for me as I age, not do for me or give me anything. What hurt the most, was I went to them one time and they refused to offer any assistance. It scared me so much to think they would not help me out, it opened my eyes that I am truly alone as I age and have no one to lean on in times of emergencies as I raise a disabled child.
    Truly the family unit today is not what God designed. Today, people are not to be inconvenienced but to find everyway to make their life pleasureable without any interference. God created us to love and be loved and to be in relationships. I fear the generation today has missed the real reason we walk this earth. There was nothing more precious then loving my folks all through the years up unto the day they died. I was blessed beyond measure the joy they brought into my life and all of the memories we made together and I was richer for it. In the end all we have our the memories. I fear today, the young don't get it.

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    1. Both of my children live far away and are busy with their own lives. I am fighting depression because I feel like such an outsider. Especially from my daughter. We had such a close relationship as she grew up, but in the 10 years since she has married and had her family she has become distant, critical, and frankly, I feel like I walk on eggshells to win her approval. I limit my calls to once a week. And sometimes she doesn't return my call. I am not blaming her. I understand that she has her own life and I really can't expect to be a major part of it. I just want to know how to cope with these feelings I am having of being such an outsider in her life. It seems like that is always on my mind.

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    2. My children are young still but since they are both in school now I have been getting depressed too. My daughter is 14 and although she loves being home we are not as close but my son is younger and very snuggly. I gave up my career to be home and sometimes I wonder if I made the right choice. I now find myself a little lost. So, I have started going back to the gym and weight watchers so at least I can feel good about myself again. I know that I have to get my own life going in case my children exclude me from their lives when they get older which I already worry about.

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    3. I totally agree ... even though I lost my mom and dad by the age five...but nothing was more Important than my boys I, just like some of you.. find that our children's lives are more about positions and achieving...

      This rejection from my grown children is a grief just as painful as a death, except it never ends because my sons are very much alive and apparently happily living their lives.
      I just wish I could find a way to live again free from this heartache. I hate thinking that I will live the rest of my days in this dark and dreary prison that has become my secret life. I dread Mother's Day, I dread Christmas and every other day that families get together year after year after year. And my sons don't think anything of it. They are doing well, they are happy and busy with their families. They all see me is as being demanding and unreasonable just for asking them to remember me.
      I can't forget the beautiful innocent babies that I rocked to sleep, sang and read stories to. I can't forget staying up with them all night to comfort them when they were sick and still I was not too tiered to get up in the morning and serve their favoured breakfast. I can't forget the little boys who climbed into my lap, held onto my hand as if I was their whole world, and told me how much they loved me. I can't forget how happy my cooking and after school baking made them. Or can I forget the hiking trips, birthday parties with friends, bonfires, and Sunday meals watching Disney movies. But they are done with me; that makes me so sad. I know children grow up and venture out into their own lives and their mothers become less important. How can my sons forget all about me and put me so completely out of their lives this easily after all I was for them?

      I was a good mother and I taught them well...they are good men, husbands and father's it is only me that don't know how to tread or have no time for... not because of what I did or didn't do ...they were my life in their younger years....and I was their humane shield in all of my 17 years of abusive married life to their father. But I still find myself asking the same question every day... What did I do wrong?

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    4. You haven't done anything wrong I have two children the same, I put it down to I spoilt them too much and now I am paying the price I have made them selfish and uncaring I pampered to their every need , the sad thing is I can see how they are treating their own children and they are going to suffer the same way as me because they are spoiling their own children , I do feel sorry for you because I know the pain you are going through

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  11. There is something wrong with this generation. I understand my son is busy and barely call him. When I do call him he often doesn't call me back. When I do finally talk to him, he says he wants to spend more time with me. He has been saying this for two years. I tell him I understand he is busy because I do. But getting together once a month, he can't even do that?
    It really hurts!!

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    1. My son is the same way and to me it is just plain rude. He will call me and ask me to take him to the store and I will say sure. I enjoy seeing him when he allows it. I pick him up and then it turns out he really needs to go to the ER because of an infected dog bite or for his latest injury a Palsy in his hand. I took him to specialists and to have a splint made and once that was done no more calls. I feel used and sad. I have health issues and live alone and needed help and he wouldn't even answer the phone or call me back. He called a week later but that was to ask and borrow some money. I am afraid of growing old and being all alone with no one because my parents are both dead. I mean I don't need help often but when I do he can't be bothered and that is what hurts. This is not what I imagined happening to our once great mother and son relationship when he was growing up. I am even making my funeral arrangements because I can't trust him to even take care of that.

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  12. i am saddened to see how many people are in the same position and how self-centered an adult child with their own children can be. i remember the love my parents had for us and their own parents and how important they were to each generation. i took loving care of my mother for 30 years after my father died in his 60's. i loved her with all my heart and even moved with my family to be there for her after dad's death. but my sister didn't seem to really love her like that and lived thousands of miles away visiting once a year or less. some people don't have much heart even though they came from the same family.my mother would visit them in her old age and return from the plane in tears saying she felt no love from them while she was there...they didn't even drive her to the airport as they wanted to be in their hot tub...and she was elderly... i don't understand this but i know for years all the media plays to those who are young and"tells" them to only care about themselves and what they can get out of life for themselves. the values that society taught as a whole for those of us born in the 40's and earlier are not on display...so what can you expect from those brought up in the 60's and so on? we are lucky we even have a memory of what life should be like--too bad we can't all get together and be eachother's family. anyway, all we can do is be kind (like we would like someone be to us) to someone else who is hurting and neglected and needy... and maybe in doing this for someone else will give us the joy and peace we so desperately need in our own hearts. this we can do. if we could change the world we would! i wonder what they (the younger generation) will write someday when their youth is over.......

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  13. I cry as I read these posts. I have two daughters. Each live about 100 miles away, as did I from my mom for about ten years. I, along with my husband and children faithfully visited both our parents. It was a priority in our lives. My husband and I suffered a "semi" estrangement from one of our daughters. She made it clear that I had not measured up in the mothering department, and I did realize that I had made mistakes with "too much"mothering and unrealistic expectations. I apologized and have deeply agonized over my errors and faults. We were so close until the time she expressed her anger, and I found myself needing to weigh every word and walk on egg shells. The smallest thing I said, such as sharing a cute idea I had seen could leave her angry and accusing me of thinking her ideas were not good enough.Over this last year it seemed as though the relationship might be improving, but we are still held at arms length. Friends are clearly loved, admired and given time. Though it only takes two hours to come for a visit basically we see our children at one to two holidays a year and maybe one other time. We have tried hard to be helpful,tried to meet some true financial needs even tho we are now on a fixed income and it is a genuine sacrifice for us to do so.Three out of the last four years my husband has not even received a father's day card or a phone call on father's day. It has been agonizing for him. Along with a difficult adjustment to retirement, I see his personality change from a usual optomistic, happy personality to one who is more and more withdrawn and down. And I know so much of this is tied to this beloved eldest daughter who appears so content to have little contact with us. I am so sad for him as I feel that it is mostly my fault, but he gets punished, too. She also rarely contacts her sister and this creates a bad situation between them, as our other daughter seems to actually like us and feels defensive on our behalf. I worry that this is a lot on her shoulders as I think she feels she needs to "make up" to us for her sisters lack of feeling and time. It is really hard not to expect too much of our younger daughter as we are so heartbroken over the weak relationship we have with our firstborn. It is so confusing as she will occasionally say she saw this or that house we could buy and move into. I wonder why she would think we would be comfortable coming closer when there has been so little effort to include us in their lives? It is one thing to be loved, but something so much better to be liked. That is where I would want to be. THis is an unending grief.

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  14. I know this is easier said than done..but if you have lost a part of your life find a new. I have started to take zumba, country line dancing, hiking, and kayaking. I remember leaving work just to be excited to see my kids in the evening. Those days are over, Yet my life is not over. Look for something else to look forward too. Your kids have! If its a matter of wanting to be loved, depended on by small children... Than reach out to charities ! You know how many kids in this world never received an ounce of the love you gave your kids?!! So if you have more love to give, then give. God bless you and I wish you a life free of anger and resentment.

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    1. Krista These are brillant suggestions...I know that this is what I am going to do. I struggle like all of the mums who have posted on this page. I have been searching for something like for ages. I am glad to see that what you are experiencing is the same for me. I really thought it was just me. I have 4 daughters and constantly feel that they have a general lack of heart when it comes to parents. I have really worked hard on living my own life, infact I moved overseas to start anew. I regularly send messages, provide financially if needed, talk on skype, post on face book, let them live in my house etc to show how much I love them and to maintain contact. At times this has paid off, however of late the contact is very distant, strained and at times full of angst and intolerance. With one daughter who I was very close to, I feel like Im walking on egg shells as she will jump and attack if I say the wrong thing. As time has passed I have watched how insular and selfish they have become, contact is not really initiated by them, information is withheld (I sometime see this on fb) and if I try to address issues, I am berated and the distance becomes greater until I try to fix it. And boy does it hurt! I dont want to be the primary focus of their lives however I would love a relaxed, open and coommunicative relationship where we can share regularly whats happening in our lives. I am trying to create a relationship that I never had with my mum. I miss my girls very much but I have come to realise that I need to let go as this is really hurting me. It consumes my thoughts daily. I am fearful that if I stop contacting them, they wont contact me....What does one do? I have tried to show up as being the best mum I can be however I must admit this hasnt really worked....my kids punish when they disapprove and have little respect for what has been done for them. I am prepared to do anything to fix this....I dont like making my kids wrong but something is amiss here... any guidance would be most welcome. Is it simply just dropping expectations and accpeting what is?

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    2. Oh how well I know how it is to feel as if I am walking on egg shells with my daughter! Nearly everything I say to her she appears to be looking for a hidden agenda, and I was recently accused of deliberately saying things to upset her and then to just sit back and watch the sparks fly!
      I had one angry email after another, accusing me of this, and accusing me of that, and this has been going on for sometime now. I do not drive anymore,and I am expected to take 3 buses to visit her if I want to see my grandchildren.
      If I dare to say that I am slowing down now because of my age, I am told that I am always using that as an excuse! She can be so unkind at times that it breaks my heart. The adult children today are so different to the way we were when we were children in the forties and fifties.

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  15. As an adult daughter of parents who have basically disowned me over feeling unappreciated, I would ask you all to consider what you might be doing to keep your children away. Yes, some people are just inconsiderate. But, I stopped talking to my parents because they would insult me, complain about the world frequently, criticize my husband, and were generally unsupportive of my choices, even though I am a successful and happy adult. If you are calling all the time, driving by their homes, nagging, complaining or are overly negative...maybe your kids want to live more positively and cannot handle having you in their lives. Maybe not, but spend some time being introspective rather than consuming yourself with depression over your reality.

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    1. As a mum I am very intropective... we came with no rule book on how to parent. Maybe you should take a look as well at why your parents want to nag, drive by, tell you about whats tough in their lives etc...maybe they miss you very much. Read all these posts, the underlying factor here is that we miss and love our our kids...One day, you will get to really "see "your mum and dad for who they really are. Believe me, I have had that experience. They are 2 people trying to cope with life and are most likely reaching out to the one person that is closet to them and they may not do as well as you would like. I look back at my own thoughts and feelings about my mum and dad, yes they werent the best or what I wanted them to be but hey they did the best they could.... I look at how mean I was...At one point I didnt talk to my mum for 3 years. I now cringe at my nastiness and meaness..she didnt deserve that....it was all about my expectations on how she should be as a mum. Now I am one, I get that it aint that easy. Have real look at who your mum and dad is and what they maybe trying to do....guaranteed they love you alot and really miss you...

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    2. Have you ever looked at yourself? What part did you play in this? Were you ever negative to your parents, etc.? The bottom line is that they are your parents, they cared for you when you small, and you owe it to them; to act like a decent human being. In addition, if you think they are negative too much, are they on any medication? Medication can have unpleasant side effects, and can change one's personality to some extent depending what the medication is. Also, I think for some children use the excuse that they didn't have good parents, as an excuse to justify to themselves to avoid helping their parents.

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  16. I think adult children today only care about themselves.When a parent tries to to talk they and express an opinion it is classified as putting down their choices.Adult children today will reap what they sow in the end,once their children have grown up and moved away then maybe they will know the pain of being abandoned.Your parents must miss you too much if they are calling you and driving by your house all the time.You sound really selfish and conceited.

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    1. The parents sound self righteous critical and bitter. Gee sounds like hanging out with you guys is a real blast!

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  17. As a mum to 4 children 29,24,11 and 9 I'm really struggling with the older son and daughter who have left home. My 24 year old daughter left home last December we were extremely close every day we would chat about our daily lives etc she promised when she left things wouldn't change she would be round all the time she lives 2miles away unfortunately this has not been the case she hardly ever pops in to see us may text me during the week but doesn't want to do anything together eg shopping etc I put this down to wanting to be independent and with her boyfriend and I'm now bottom of her list. This is making me so sad and extremely hard to cope with life without her. I can't talk to her as she gets annoyed and angry she is a very selfish person which doesn't help. I would be extremely grateful for any help suggestions or support with anyone who feels the same Karen

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  18. I'm still struggling with adult children not wanting to include me in their lives. However I have found ways to live through it. I will never believe it's ok for adult kids to abandon their Mothers. It's just plain wrong. But since I cannot change it, I do my best not to think about it, and I am learning to live with their choices without anger. I do think it's the hardest thing for Mothers to do. We are used to knowing what's going on all the time, and now we don't get to know. I think this is natural and we must acknowledge that. We also need to realize that we are not as important to our kids as we think we should be. It's ok, really. We raised them to leave home and be independent, and we did a good job. Keeping this in mind helps me to know I did my job well. Our kids love us, they truly do, and they always will. They just don't need us like we need them. It's a fact. It doesn't mean that's wrong. It's just the way it is. We still need them, but they do not need us. As a respect to us, yes they should include us and call us, help us now and then, and laugh with us. But to them, there is just not enough time. They are busy creating their own fun, friends, and enjoyment of their own lives. Let's face it, were not as fun to them as we used to be. Some things need to be understood. So have your own fun as much as you can, realize the sun does not rise and set in their lives with us! Our life always will. Being a Mother/Parent, we will always think of them morning and night. My best advise would be to not shame them, or ask more from them then they are able to give (for whatever reason). Be loving and kind and grateful no matter how much your heart misses them. Put no pressure on them. Accept what they can give. Try to understand that its just the way it is and learn to detach lovingly. There are ways to do this. Google it, and learn, it truly helps. Learn to live with the way things are, know that it's ok to miss them and want more, but you cannot change it, so let go and work on that. You'll be happier and so will they!

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  19. I am amazed at how many people are in the same boat as I am. I have a 28 year old daughter and 25 year old son. My husband and I were good parents. I don't have high expectations of my kids as far as communication goes. I would love a phone call once a week to let me know they are alive and well and to see them maybe once a month perhaps to share a meal. I try not to call them too much leaving them the space and time to build their new lives but I do miss them. I was conversing with my sister today. Her children are both under 10 and right now their mom is still the center of their world. Sometimes I miss that. My husband and I have tried to focus on each other and branch out to new hobbies and volunteering more at church. This does help however once in a while when you see someone who is spending time with a son or daughter the same age as yours, you wonder why some folks seem to get lucky and others don't? You begin to question again "What did I do wrong?". Truth is in this matter, I did nothing wrong and it takes a lot of work to keep reminding myself of that. Like most parents we did the best we could and in my opinion we did pretty good. Like some of the others have said, while it's not easy the best thing to do is too let go. i have had someone suggest that since my kids don't answer my texts or call back after I leave a voice mail that I shouldn't call them back so quickly when they text me or call me. This doesn't seem like it would be helpful. What do others think? I think if I were going to take any action, I'd prefer to not call at all as Chellemarie did and see what happens if I do nothing. Usually for mothers' day and fathers's day we have gone out to dinner as a family but it's my husband or I that initiates this for the other. I am thinking too of telling my kids that from now on I will not provide reminder service for birthdays or these other special days. Don't they have Outlook on their computers or calendars on the wall? Seems that they come to get a free meal but would forget about the day otherwise. I recently texted them to remind them of their dad's birthday as I was afraid if I didn't my husband would have been disappointed. It's hard to know the right thing to do. Any suggestions in that area?

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    1. I know exactly what you mean! I have reminded my adults kids in the past about things as well, and I have called and left messages and never heard back! I too have been dealing with the same attempts to get them to notice that, I am still alive on this planet! I will say this to you, I quit! lol I truly did. I quit reminding them of anything, even my own Birthday, to see what they wanted to do, and when! I thought I should at least be able to make some plans, however they didn't. So weird! Well, I went ahead and made plans for my Birthday, myself, with my sisters, and when my kids do call, or not, I will have to work around that! Another day will have to do! In other words, I started living my life without their input. Because really they don't want to be reminded, nor do they want you to even hint that they need to show up in your life. Don't call them, and if you must, don't call back to see if they got your message. They want their freedom from you, so give it. Every now and then my kids will say, I haven't heard from you in awhile, and I say, oh I know, I've just been busy, and I know you are too, so I let you call when you can! This is what they want. I don't, but I don't get anything my way, so why try? I am reminded that my kids are grown up and I have no authority over them anymore. My Mothering is over! I raised them well and they are succeeding in life. Their life! I am happy for that truly. Yes I will always believe that they should take the time to give me a call, or notice that I am breathing, but they won't. I can have these feelings, and no one can tell me any different. However I don't feel anger anymore! And it is hard when I see other Mothers enjoying their adult Children, and I can't. But that's not my choice, it's their's. I have found other ways to enjoy my life. I don't bring it up anymore either. I hear from them when "they" decide, and I am grateful for that. No longer do I think in terms of getting everybody together, for this event or that. I call and inspire other family members, friends, or plan an evert of my own, for my own time alone! I do not include my kids at all! This is how they want it! And so, I cannot change it! I don't have a husband, as you do, I live entirely alone, in a high rise with senior citizens. Many here have their kids visit on a reg. basis. I have had to learn to enjoy other peole here. I go to events put on by the organization here. I go to movies alone, however not too often. I go out to eat with a neighbor lady. I go shopping with my neighbor. I walk my dog around the building, and spend so many hours, watching TV and cooking. So, I am truly alone, and yet, I fill my day with things I like about me! The internet has been a life saver for me. Remember, I am not angry about it anymore! My advise to you, is that it's ok, to miss your kids. It's ok to feel bad that others interact with their Adult Children and you can't. It's ok to never agree that it's right for your kids to ignore you, but in order to be at peace about it, let go of trying so hard to make them hear you, and mind you. They never will! Not the way you want them too. Our kids are healthy, but selfish, and maybe for them they have to be. I had to let go, and I am still reading all the liturature I can on "letting go". It's painful too. I am reading from the AlAnon book and it's really helping me alot! I focus more on what I like than what they do not do! It's the only way for me to accept this! Good luck to you! Just let them go, and concentrate on you and your Husband and laughing and creating a world for you guys, not them! Remember this is what they want, not you. If you could have it your way, you would. Be there for them when they do need you, even a free meal. Enjoy what you can, and don't be angry! Don't be quick to change your plans for them, but create new plans when they do need you.......continued in next reply.....

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    2. Continued reply.......... A hard truth, is: We need them, and they don't need us! And that's ok. Other adult children who interact with their parents may be feeling like they have to, not like they want to. They may be feeling just like our kids, bothered, frustrated, and quilty if they don't. I think parents like us, did a better job raising our kids, because we don't want them to visit us, or call us out of guilt, and duty. We may hear from them less often, but it is out of Love. Don't be so quick to imagine that other Adult Children are so wonderful to visit their parents. They may be very dysfuntional, need money, or can't manage life without their parents every advice! Pat yourself on your back! You have done your job well! Now let them go"! Hugs to you!

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    3. thanks really good advise

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    4. Or those "kids" enjoy spending time with their parents. All people are different-some need to say and hear praise and declarations of love, and others feel it's assumed. Another thing is TYPICALLY (I emphasis typically, because nothing is 100%) daughters tend to stay closer with their families then sons do. I have a comfortable relationship with my in-laws, but they'll never be a replacement for my mom and dad and my first priority will always be to my family. I read all these parent comments and see all these statement about "this generation" and I feel bad because as a 26 year old woman, I am not this way. I appreciate all my parents have done for me and I spend time talking and visiting them because I enjoy it! I hope as my children grow older, they have this same desire to see me and include me in their lives as I do with my family.

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  20. In a nutshell, first I say "thank you" for the column and the great responses. I am a mother of a 37 year old. My husband (son's dad) of 28 years passed away 14 years ago. All of us were close but things changed after my husband's death.

    My son is friendly and kind when he wants something and cold and distant otherwise. I was a good mother. He was our only son.

    The one thing I learned about being a parent in a difficult situation is to try and push past it and help when asked but set boundaries.

    So many days in the past 12 years, he needed me. However, when recently, I fell on a staircase at his apartment, while visiting him, he was out of town. I asked him to come home because I thought I broke my ankle. He would not come home. He wasn't working, he was at a friend's wedding and couldn't change his ticket. I was left to fend for myself. Thank goodness it wasn't broken but it showed me how he could be.

    He tells me he is a sociopath. He was very close to his grandmother, she was a sociopath as well.

    It helps me to let go - even if it hurts.

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    1. I get that it is NOT fun to have a broken ankle and be on your own to get to a dr... but if you say your son was out of town and could not change his ticket - if he couldn't change it, then what was he supposed to do? Teleport back home to you? Seems unfair to hold that against him.

      And besides that, even if he COULD have changed his ticket, by the time he got home, you would have been seen by a dr. and have a cast on already, wouldn't you? ... seems to me that's the hardest part, and done with, so surely one can manage for a weekend alone after that. Why ask him to miss a wedding over it?

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  21. I feel so alone and wonder if I matter anymore. I have two beautiful daughters and four lovely grandchildren. At one time they seemed to want us around to visit. My husband was the handyman teaching our son-laws how to fix things around their homes always pitching in to help. I on the other hand spoiled every grandbaby and taught my daughter my favorite recipes from my own mom. Now here we are at the end of our days, we are not financially secure to do much of anything. I too am giving up calling just to hear their voice.

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  22. I am surprised to see how many people feel the same way. I keep reading about how different people have tried to let go of this. My husband and I live in the same town with our son (only child) who is in his late 20s. He is very busy. Recently, some health issues in our family changed. Consequently I felt that I would like to have some regular contact in the form of a phone call or short half-hour visit (his job is several blocks from our house) and told him so. I stressed to him that I did not want to impose a quota or expectation of when or what that contact should be. His reaction was one of surprise at the idea that I was expressing hurt feelings. Now it is my task to sit back and wait to see how or if he will decide to make this change. I too am baffled at the self-absorption of many 20 and 30 somethings but it is not emotionally healthy for me to carry my unmet expectations around. I was not the greatest young adult child myself, but I feel like going back to who I was at that age is a double-edged sword. It helps put things in perspective but it is also a good way for me to trap myself into thinking my feelings aren't valid and don't matter. That's bad medicine for me.

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  23. I am a father experiencing much of the same feelings I see expressed here. I have twins that are now in their early twenties, one boy and one girl. My daughter is off at college and my son is, well, lost after he was kicked out of the Air Force for using Marijuana. I have been slowly losing my children for over 20 years since my ex-wife "won" custody of them at age 1 when we divorced. I was given visitation every other week, but as they grew into their teenage years, they were often too busy to visit, and the visitations became fewer and farther between. I paid child support until they graduated High School, but when my obligation was over I stopped. Once the checks stopped, it was like a light switch turned off and they disappeared from my life. Their mother and grandparents on her side had been poisoning my relationship with my children for years. In many respects, I feel that my only purpose for being in their mother's s life was as a sperm donor and ATM. I'm doing fine, and I know they are living the lives that they want to live right now. Still, sometimes when I'm alone, I still think about what might have been. That is what brought me here to write this today. Perhaps telling my story will ease this pain. My daughter will do great in life. My son, I don't know. Sometimes I just wonder when the phone will ring and my ex-wife will tell me he is in jail or dead from alcohol or drugs. I don't like Facebook, but every now and then I will login and go to their pages. They never call me or write, but at least I can get a glimpse of what is happening in their lives. They don't mention me at all as a parent and have taken their mothers last name. It hurts, but that's their choice to make. I can at least take solace in the fact that I see photos of them smiling. They are happy. I guess that's all I should care about. I have had many years of gradual loss. One way I have learned to cope is by thinking about the thousands of generations that have lived before ours. All the way back in the time of the cave-man, the children would grow old enough to leave the cave and find their own cave and hunting grounds. Once the children were gone, they may never have been seen again, yet the cave man still needs to live his own life.

    I still can't help but wonder what the future holds. Their grandparents will die, and I'm pretty sure that I will outlive their mother because she is obese and I am healthy. What will they do when they have nothing left on that side of their family? It is good to feel love, but after the years of being spat upon, I wonder if I will be able to allow them back into my life.

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  24. RMM
    Thank you for this blog. I was really feeling sorry for myself.It really helped me out of the "poor me's"

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  25. I am in the same boat. Two daughters that married took on their husbands families. I feel like after their college and weddings were over it was all about, "all the things I don't like about you Mom and all the arguing we had to listen to from you and Dad messed me up". We may have argued but hubby and I were there supporting them every inch of the way. i guess I just accept it as if it will be more time for me/us. I also looked at others that have close ties with their kids and wondered what we/I did wrong. However, the many posts I am reading here shows it isn't about what we did wrong so many adult children are playing the blame game.

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  26. I am so grateful for these personal comments. My husband and I are in our late forties and have a 25 year old son who is married with two children. They live 500 miles away. He is our only child. We were always a close knit family; we made him the center of our world. Despite the fact we have always done everything in our power to make him and his family happy, it seems we can do nothing right. Our daughter-in-law is constantly finding fault with the little things we do; for example, referring to ourselves as mamaw and papaw too much when talking to our grandson. She smiles to our face but has a fit to him. Our son takes her side to keep the peace. She makes his life a living hell if she isn't happy. Sometimes I think we have been too generous and accomodating. We rarely call or text them anymore. He acts like he is always busy and she usually ignores us anyway. The only time we really have any lengthy conversations is when it pertains to gifts/money. As I write this, it's been five months since we have seen them with no hope of an invitation to visit. As a matter of fact, when my husband recently asked if we could visit them, our son was rude and nasty for reasons too lengthy to go into here. Suffice it to say, it was because of his wife.

    My husband is an engineer and has recently gone back to school for his advanced degree and is gone 3 nights a week. Because I have no other children, my life is a lonely one. I try to get involved in different stuff but it is so painful to see others living happy lives with their families. I have really started to withdraw and isolate myself.

    To complicate matters, for the first time in my entire life I am having issues with my parents. They have 7 grandchildren of their own but have NO respect for the boundaries of my grandchildren. I have such limited contact with my grandchildren, yet my parents think they are entitled to equal time and visits. They have made issue of the fact they aren't included in 100% of everything that we are with them. They have no respect for us. They have all their grandchildren in their everyday lives, but yet think they rank on our same level with ours. For example, at father gatherings my mom will put out pictures and start telling stories about our grandchildren before I can even get a word out. Its hard to explain in words, but it is devastating. Do any of you on here that are great grandparents have any advice on how to handle this situation? So far, I have not confronted my parents about it.

    I am finding myself consumed with the sadness and the loneliness. Thanks for the opportunity to finally get this off my chest.

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  27. I am a widower by my second marriage. My ex is an important part of my girls lives due to their effort not his. I have some health issues that affect being active in a lot of things. Money is always a reason for them to call or need me. They wont ask their father.
    Has anyone considered making some changes in their will because money is such an issue for them? We are to honor our parents. I honored mine.
    Any thoughts on this?

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  28. wow! did I ever need to read these thoughts today. I knew there must be others out there who were feeling the same way. I was suddenly widowed a year and a half ago after 42 yrs of marriage. Three adult kids two of whom are doing fine and one with mental illness. When my husband first died the family held so tightly together! I was so proud of the kids and felt so cared for. But now, they've moved on and I'm here on the farm recognizing that it's just going to be too much for me and I will probably have to look at selling it. I'm not quite ready to leave my home but since the usual dinners, holiday gatherings etc seem to have diminished to zero, there really is no reason to keep trying to hang in. Of course I had the idealized visions of staying together in some way as a family and continuing some of the traditions but, that was just my wishful thinking I guess. I was an only child so about what is left to me is to turn to friends to try and figure out what the "new normal" is supposed to look like. I agree with the others that this distancing seems punitive and lacking in mercy. But, it is what it is and I have to try to find other ways to live. I've gotten loads of food for thought here and am most grateful.

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    1. Reading these posts has been helpful. I try to be positive and upbeat regarding our situation but sometimes it is hard. I grew up in a dysfunctional family. My mother had MS and was completely disabled by the age of 40.There were 7 of us kids and we probably didn't grow up knowing what a normal homelife was. My parents divorced when I was 23 and my father moved to Florida with his new healthy wife. My children live 600 miles and 3000 miles away. There are four grandchildren whom we love and miss seeing. It is especially hard when we have friends whose kids and grandchildren live close by and they are able to be participants in their daily lives. We want to go to school events, athletic games, birthday parties etc. My husband and I are healthy and active but we both had "expectations" for this time in our lives. The occasional visits from kids seem to be fraught with angst as there is alot at stake to have a wonderful visit. We never complain, call excessively or otherwise interfere in their busy lives. I realize that we could be invaluable doing some sort of volunteer work with underprivileged children, I just must move forward. This has been a great site for venting. We all need to do that from time to time.

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    2. Thank you, thank you for sharing! My heart goes out to you and I wish you all the best on this journey to which you so rightly described as the "new normal!"
      Certainly our children do not intend to be hurtful, but I know their distance is utterly bewildering - and the pain of it all creates its own entity.
      I have many siblings and I'm grateful - however, blood may be thicker than water, but it's not thicker than friendship! Though we may be hurt and disappointed with our children, it's more important to focus on what we want to build rather than dwelling on that hurt and disappointment. AH!
      I just wrote a post that may be showing up below yours - I'm not quite sure how these things work. I should have replied to you first! Thanks again for sharing and truly, truly, all the best to you. I've bookmarked this and perhaps we'll meet here again. :) :Danielle

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  29. Not quite sure if this is a sporadic or ongoing conversation, but I found this when I Googled "coping with adult children who live far away when you hate to travel." I haven't read all the posts, but bells were ringing for me - lots of issues to sort out. I have a lot of regrets as a parent, but I think I tend to remember the things I regret as I try to sort out the mystery of not having more quality interaction with my three, two sons, 39 and 37 and daughter, 25. They're all different - and they're all wonderful souls - but we're definitely out-of-sync - and they're out-of-sync with each other which is very trying. I'm not a demanding parent, but hey, I can still let my 87-year-old mother push my buttons, so I understand the dance of love and annoyance. Though I have regrets, some deep regrets, I was a pretty good parent, my children were well cared for and given every advantage I could manage, including being encouraged to be thoughtful and compassionate human beings. So, they are who they are, I am who I am. I'm sure I have unconscious expectations that get in the way, but I try to shed light on them. I realized I was still expecting my kids to come to me, like my 6 siblings and I did and do with our parents. I don't have the family home base like my mom still does, but I want one. Trust me, home isn't always all about heart, place and proximity play a part! In the meantime I must prepare to travel to them and each situation presents its own challenges. It's easier for me to succumb to resentment and bitterness when I'm faced with having to do something I'd rather not do - and then that resentment and bitterness gives me permission to not do it. Hope that makes some sense.
    Oh my gosh, there is so much more. A message asking about the holidays, but stating that work is too busy to get away - after they just spent a week in Mexico. I don't need to be at the top of the list, but dang, I just want to be on the list.

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  30. If ppl want you in their life they make time for you end of story. In a nutshell not even on the list.

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  31. Man this is hard for me to figure out. I feel so badly for the parents who are so lonely and hope I don't make the same mistakes. My husband's parents just cannot understand why they are estranged from us though we've explained it so many times. They became very angry because they feel he is choosing our 4 children and I over them. Our children need their father more than my in laws do at this time. I ask my husband if he remembers his dad missing his sporting events or sisters recitals to spend time with his grandparents but husband says he remembers father in law being a great dad who he wanted to emulate. His grandparents came to his house for holidays and visits, but my in laws want us to always come to them even for Christmas morning. It isn't fair that my husband had a wonderful childhood but now his parents want him to shortchange his own kids. They blame me since husband wasn't raised that way, but he really was. As long as they continue to demand my husband choose a picnic with them over picking our son up from camp or that he leave our daughter on her 9th birthday to spend the day with them, they are doomed to be disappointed. So sad.

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  32. I am so glad to have found this article and I will be back to read all of these comments. I have three children; one daughter and two sons. My DD, 31 and my DS, 22, do their best to stay in touch with me. I see my DD, SIL and grandchildren often. My youngest son is away at college, yet still calls me "just to talk". It's not as often as I would like, but just the effort and knowing I can call him and he will be cordial, even if he says he needs to run, is comforting.

    However, my middle child (son)is married and has no interest in communication with either myself or his father it seems. He quotes "I'm just busy", however, they have no children (yet are in the adoption process) and his job is not one that demands on-call hours. They only live about 45 minutes away. They have just bought a home but he is not one for the yard, or construction, so I don't think that is occupying his time. He is one for computers and video games instead. His wife is very, ummm..lets say "in charge". Admittedly 5 years ago we had a rough start because she immediately wanted him to cut off contact with me. We have continually been supportive of them and helped with their honeymoon, generous Christmas and birthday gifts, helped toward the cost of adoption and just recently helped pay for a Carribean vacation for the two. NOW, because my husband read through her mother's FB (which we were "friends" of)that she couldn't wait to meet the new grandchildren. He asked me about the progress and I called and left yet another voicemail to my son begging him to call and let us know how things were going, and even told him that if he was mad at me to please tell me (since he was not answering my voicemails or texts). I finally talked to him and he said he wasn't mad, and that we would get together soon. The next day, I got a scathing, cold and calculated email from his wife (with him "cc'd on the email)that told me SHE was disconnecting social media contact with me because I needed to know my "boundaries". My son however did not end his FB connection with us. I replied that the message was loud and clear and we didn't mean to offend by asking questions. In the last two weeks we have not heard nor had any reply from our son. He posts on FB but nothing to us or related to anything other than the norm (technical stuff). His Dad works away for weeks at a time and he knows he's home for a few days and still has not made an effort to see him. I am a complete emptynester that spends most of my time alone and he is aware that I have no one on a day to day basis. They don't seem to care. His wife sent an update to both of us to tell us that they were almost completely approved for the first steps of adoption. I'm sure their church friends know more than we do about our potential grandchildren.

    My husband says to let them go. As a mom, that's hard to do. I grieve over the lost communication. I have no idea how we got here, and was not aware that my son seems to care so little until the last few months. My mom died at 60. I am now 55. I surely hope he figures out that I will not be here forever and doesn't waste the years.

    Any advice of how to deal with this?

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  33. A daughter's perspective... I know this won't apply to everyone, but just in case anyone out there recognizes themselves in this, here goes.

    How to alienate your adult child and make them feel like crap...

    I lived at home until I got married. I didn't give my parents any trouble - I got top grades, didn't do drugs or drink, got a professional degree at university as they wanted, worked the whole way through as they expected me to also. I have no problem with that.

    My mother had extremely high expectations for all of her kids - one of which was that we ought to marry doctors or lawyers. Sorry, I didn't meet and fall in love with a doctor or lawyer. I married a guy that my mother was opposed to because a) his family didn't have enough money and b) HE didn't make the money that a doctor or lawyer did. (I had a friend who dated a doctor... my mother used to ask me why I couldn't "get" a doctor too?)

    After the wedding, things were ok for a while after that, and even improved as she didn't have anything to critique - once we were married, she wouldn't criticize my choice in husband because she doesn't believe in divorce. Anyhow, we built ourselves a custom brand new house, landscaped to her satisfaction, drove decent cars etc. We had them over for dinner often, and I'd cook up gourmet meals since I enjoyed entertaining and visiting with them now that there wasn't any criticism.

    During family gatherings, I was always one of the first to arrive and last to leave, would trade shifts at work to make sure I could attend etc. I never missed a birthday or holiday.

    After 5 years of marriage (and being together 10 years), we started a family. My mother's reaction to my being pregnant, was "Oh... ... ... that's nice..." no excitement whatsoever. Then baby is born and she's happy - but not once says anything nice about my parenting... there is only criticism. I get pregnant again with my second - same reaction "Oh... ... ... that's nice...". Same thing again... nothing nice to say about me or my parenting... only criticism. She is now upset because I am "coddling" my kids by leaving earlier (no more staying until midnight now that I have 2 toddlers)... on major holidays, she grills me about what time I arrive at my in-laws, and what time I leave, so she can compare to make sure I spend at least as much time with her. I am always careful to make sure I spend at least as much time with my parents as my in-laws. Yet still, she accuses me of spending "all my time with my in-laws" and accuses me of "not wanting to spend time with" my own family. What the hell? No matter how much I try to explain that this isn't the case, she won't believe me.

    I used to call my mother every day... every 2 days at most and we'd be on the phone for a good hour most of the time. 90% of the time I'd be talking to her, she'd talk about herself. At least half the time, if I'd try to tell her something about me, she'd soon interrupt and change the topic back to herself, or my siblings.

    Since my younger sister had a child, and is a single parent, my mother has asked me not to ask her to babysit since she is too busy. She babysits my nephew all the time, even though my sister swears at her, treats her horribly, has hit her etc. Me? no time for me. I've asked her twice in the last year to babysit, and it takes her days to decide if she'll do it... all the while trying to convince me that surely I have other options and don't need her to babysit.

    to be continued...

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  34. Part 2...

    Since I've had kids, I now stay home with them, and work weekends when my husband is off work. My husband and I barely have time to keep our own house in order, keep on top of cooking etc, let alone have people over for dinner all the time the way we used to before kids. This is used against me. If I'd married a doctor or lawyer as I was told to, then I wouldn't have to work weekends, would be able to have them over for dinner more, help my parents more etc. (For the record, my parents are not elderly - they are in top health, VERY well-off, and retired now)

    Also for the record, I do not ask my parents for money - we can afford our life just fine - we have no debt, and are well on our way to having a good nest egg some day for retirement. But you know what? At this time in my life when my kids are so small, it would be nice to have even a tiny bit of help, without being endlessly guilted over it if I dare to ask. So I don't ask. They don't owe me anything. But still... I get pangs of hurt every time my friends talk about their parents babysitting for them. I'm the only one I know who has parents who live in the same city (5 minutes away!!) that want nothing to do with babysitting.

    My parents never invite us over for dinner since I've had kids. It's like they blame me for little kids making my life so hectic right now - I suppose they would have been happier if I'd stayed childless so I'd be free to be at their beck and call forever... I'd still be able to have them over for dinner all the time... still be able to stay late at family gatherings all the time...

    Why can't they understand that my kids being this little is only temporary... in another 5 years, my kids will be older, they'll be able to handle late nights better... they'll be more independent so I'll have time to cook big dinners again and invite them over all the time.

    I even invited them to go on vacation with us, thinking it might be good for use to spend time together that way. They declined.

    Also for the record, my kids aren't brats - anyone who's met them says how well behaved they are, so surely I'm doing something right.

    Anyhow, I finally couldn't take the criticism anymore, so I stopped calling my mother. She was rarely the one to pick up the phone and call anyhow, so it's no surprise that she doesn't call me either.

    Pretty much everything I do is wrong... not good enough... hurts her... I can do no right (well, unless I'm childless and able to have them over for dinner all the time... THAT is good... building a new house is good... making lots of money is good... but nothing else counts it seems... )

    Sorry this was so long... but please make sure you aren't making your kids feel like crap... please make sure you aren't criticizing their every move, with never a nice thing to say. That might explain why some adult children stop calling eventually.

    For me, I've cried too much over this as it is... it has to stop sometime, and I don't seem to be able to fix it... been trying for years... so I gave up... just gave up... very sad over it, but what can I do... just try not to think about it...

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    1. It is sad to see that in many instances both sides of this issue involve individuals who are deeply heart broken because there IS still so much love burning in hearts for one another. For those who fit this description, namely, both sides still have deep love for one another, it's time to hold a family meeting. Sit around the table. Hold hands and begin with prayer, beseeching the Lord to help you come to a meeting of the minds. Then give each person a chance to talk. Do as the Indians used to do when they had a "pow wow", sitting in a circle around the campfire. They passed a pipe all around the circle. Only the one holding the pipe could speak. When he/she was finished the pipe was passed to person next to him/her. Get it all out, the hurts, the expectations, the hopes, and most of all the assurances that love has not died on each side. Sometimes people assume things that aren't really there, and these assumptions take on a life all their own. You know what they say about ASS-U-ME, when we assume things we, "make an ASS out of U and ME. Don't be quick to jump the gun and assume being told, "we're too busy this week." as "we don't care about you and don't want to see you." Aging parents who get hurt at the slightest "put off" become their own worse enemies, letting their imaginations take them off in all kinds of negative terrority. Then they begin building a brick wall themselves, the first line of bricks being, "if they're so busy, I won't bother them any more." Adult children who are in the throes of working to pay the mortgage, caring for several children, keeping track of what their own kids are up to in this crazy world, can make a month seem like a week. They're not even aware you're not calling. They're just grateful that your lack of calls means you're ok and not in any dire need. All of this may not apply to everyone posting comments here. This is directed to "sad daughter" whom it is obvious dealy loves her parents and is turning herself inside out trying to balance life in such a way as to have time for everyone who loves and needs her presence. The others who describe adult children who don't fit the profile of "sad daughter" still need to request a family meeting.

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  35. They don't care. After all the pain and sacrifice and work and time and money they move on because it is convenient for them..... just when we could have been friends and all the hard work could have made for an easy, happy relationship. They are all about themselves and don't think to lift a finger for anyone else, unless maybe a friend but a parent? Of course not! One parent abandoned them. I stayed and fought out a life for them. Now they have a relationship with the neglectful parent, not me. When I asked "Why?" I am told that the one who neglected "never did anything wrong." Right! They never did ANYTHING!!! Of course the one who parented is going to be the one who made the mistakes!!!!! This is so painful and I have tried to take my life over it.

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  36. Same for me. Years and years of hoping for contact with my 47 year old daughter. If I try (walking on eggshells so as not to be offensive -which is so easy with her) she tells me I'm demanding and have "expectations".

    It's true. I did expect to have a continuing, loving relationship with her. God forbid that I should have a problem and try to share with her! Like others on here, I am making my own funeral arrangements, so she doesn't have to do ANYTHING. Maybe we should all buy stock in Memorial do-your-own-death clean-up businesses!

    Instead I just get a rare quick facebook message, and when I respond, often there's no reply. Not that she's angry, it's just that something more interesting came up so she dropped the text!

    It's really hard not to dislike her. Although I love her to the deepest of my heart, it's hard not to see her as a selfish, uncaring daughter. Because she is. And I wish I could forget about her instead of feeling so sad about the loss.

    It helps to read that other people have the same sadness. It's not something wrong that I did. It's this generation. They're not the same as us. We weren't like this to our parents. And who knows, maybe the next bunch will be even more uncaring, and our children will have to choose euthanasia, rather than having expectations of love.

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    1. I am having sort of the same type of problem with my daughter who is 28. Its as though we keep bumping heads over and over again. Although I try to act innocent (instead of just being myself) she feels I am overbearing, disrespectful and unsupportive. Yet, I am always around for her.

      Because we are from different eras, today's children think totally different. It is sad but true. Sometimes I feel my daughter just doesn't understand me. I see her doing all kinds of crazy thing. Bringing strange men, that she meets on the internet, in her home to spend nights. She talks to me about them. When I say that I don't approve, she gets insulted and angry. She tells me she is grown and has to make her own life and I should not comment.

      Well, maybe I should comment to the morgue owner, when somebody finally kills her or when she winds up in the hospital and wants me to come see her???

      I wish I could just forget about her and let her do whatever she wants. But, I only try to advise her on many things she does that she could get hurt. She doesn't care. I also feel that I don't like her, although I love her as my daughter.

      Today, young adults don't respect God, much less their parents. I gave up my career to raise my daughter, while her dad was busy gallavanting. That is my problem she said to me. It is sad. And, yes, the next generation is in big trouble. Where is their love and compassion? Where is their understanding and wisdom? Where is their kindness? It is so sad!

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    2. I also have a daughter who is 47 and we had even estranged for many years due to her drinking an addiction to opiates. She finally for clean and sober 8 years ago and we reconnected. I sent her to a technical school for 3 years and she graduated and worked in a high paying job. I was thrilled. Then, for some reason, she threw it all away & went back to drinking. I am heartbroken. She refuses counseling, AA, or anything else. She is back to being her self centered, ungrateful, and distant. She gave up on religion that once helped her in the 12 step program. Her future is bleak. She never wanted to be bothered with a husband or children or even living with a roommate as it required compromising. It is very sad and I know she will have a very lonely and tough time in her older years. It would have been nice for us to be friends and help each other out as we get along well when she is working and healthy. I do all the suggested things such as new hobbies, volunteer, exercise, etc. I did learn to let go of expectations years ago and it helped, but now I have to start all over and it is much harder at my age. I also get very envious of those who have their adult children nearby and have a close relationship. It is a very lonely way to live for both my husband and I. We don't want hobbies, we want family.

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  37. Its so helpful to read all these posts at a time when i feel i am being excluded from my adult daughters life, She lives thousands of miles away and has our dear grandson and is pregnant with the second. She is so strict on times we can contact and she is always tired etc and it is always me making the effort to try and bond with our grandson. She made so many promises when she moved away about staying in touch but it has all come to nothing,. The only time i am guaranteed to hear is when she emails some link of stuff she likes in the hope that i will get it for her and usually i do. but i am realising you cant buy love. We wer such good friends but i feel that has all gone. I spend so much time crying about this and i realise i must start to put my own needs first. I have a disabled son whom i am carer for and she knows this yet never asks how we all are. I cant believe this wonderful little girl has grownup into such a selfish adult who allows her husband to put his family before us. So sad

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  38. The problem is that parents do not let their adult children grow up and move on. Be happy that your child is independent. As a parent, you are required to raise a healthy, independent human being. It is dysfunctional to be emotionally dependent on your adult children. Plain and simple.

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    1. I love my children very much. I don't feel that I am being dysfunctional when I would like some attention from my adult children. I certainly wish that I could feel the way you do. I do agree that a parents job is to raise a healthy, independent human being. But, sometimes life doesn't go that way. Especially, when there is an abusive relationship.

      I feel, that if you can't look forward to your adult children calling or visiting sometimes and keeping in contact with their parents, then why have them in the first place? What's the point? Then one should just have their own life and later for kids.

      "Honor your mother and father, that your days may be long." Gee! I wonder where that quote came from?!

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    2. Amen on the avoiding emotional codependency. "Leave and cleave" is from the Bible too. That's what I hope for my sons.

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  39. Having read all of your responses, I can empathize with your views. However as a daughter of a 57 year old woman, I find her expectations impossible. I call at least once or twice a week and usually spend time with her once a week. I am trying to find balance as my mother is very dependent on others to fill her emotional needs. I am so sorry to hear that you all think that your children are selfish, and uncaring, I don't believe its true. I love my mother very much, but I need to have my own seperate life away from her as well. What is better a child who doesn't call enough that you can talk to, or a mother that keeps score of the hours spent with the child?

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  40. OMG... the keeping score part I can totally relate to - it puts such pressure on each visit and completely ruins any pleasure in it when you know she is watching the clock. Did I stay long enough? Will she be hurt (again) because my reason for having to go wasn't good enough for her? I feel like I'm being judged the entire time and I can't just relax and be me. And same as you, I love my mom so much... if I didn't love her so much it wouldn't hurt so badly that there is this rift between us... it's horrible to have this... just horrible... I want us to be happy... to be able to enjoy an adult friendship with each other in addition to our mother-daughter relationship, but I fear it will never happen.

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  41. WOW!

    Motive to have children:
    -To enrich your life through the experiences of raising and molding another human being.

    As a parent YOU made the conscious choice to bring a human being into the world and you tended to your responsibility of raising them to adulthood, be proud.

    The fully grown adult offspring OWES you NOTHING. When deciding to have a baby did you think "Yeah, I want to have children so they can take care of me when I'm old" as if they are some insurance policy. If that is why you had children, you missed the entire point. The child did not have a choice in being created, therefore they cannot owe you anything they didn't agree upon. You should be content in knowing that you raised a fully functional adult and be happy they flew out of the nest without crashing.

    A fruitful properous relationship between families should be earned and cultivated, not taken for granted as some obligation.
    I can't believe the entitlement of all the depressed mothers in here.
    Moreso, I can't believe the amount of mother's who are enabling this type of thought to perpetuate by chiming in with their percieved offenses of their children's lack of attention.

    I am married and live in a state other than where my parents live. I see my parents maybe 3-4 times a year in person, but rarely ever speak on the phone. We have a great relationship. We are just content knowing that they are leading a happy life. If either one is in need we would be there for each other. You are responsible for your OWN happiness, quit using your children's ability to focus their attention on you as a litmus test of whether they care about you. We live in a fast paced demanding world today, moreso than ever before, be happy and content you raised your children well and take on the next stage of your life with pride.

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    1. Adam, you are a male. I don't need to say anymore.

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  42. Adam, you hit the nail on the head. Well said!

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  43. Adam. Human beings, and perhaps especially women who have borne children, are biologically wired to function optimally with secure primary relationships. When those relationships break down for whatever reason, the result is anguish. There may also be a biological survival mechanism in play which predisposes older women to seek to maintain proximity with their adult children and their grandchildren. Extended isolation is rarely beneficial and computers, texting and lighting fast technology is a poor substitute for compassionate human contact. Kind reciprocity is the heart of the matter and is what makes humanity!

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    1. I'd love to see Adam carry a child for nine months, deliver it and then he should post again. There is nothing like the bonding of a mother and child. That child is loved unconditionally.
      It's the right of every human to feel and be loved. We need to get back into the family tradition. I would NEVER do the shit to my mom that some of these adult kids do to their parents. My mother passed away when I was 38. She left 8 children who adored her and as many grandchildren. Even after 25 year since her passing, I still cry many Times. She was an incredible mom. And for those who post..."well you know in their heart these kids love you." It's nice to hear it sometime. AND it's nice to be acknowledged...validated. I sure agree with the anonymous post. You can't substiture a text or email from hearg a real voice. It's cold and impersonal. My thoughts. If you have time to email or text, you have time to pick up the phone.

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  44. Trouble is, while I believe most people want "compassionate human contact" and "secure primary relationships", one has to be sure one is not poisoning those relationships by being overly demanding, critical etc.

    No-one, young or old, wants to be constantly belittled and criticized, subjected to the silent disapproval tactic, guilt-tripped etc. Would YOU seek out someone's company if they made you feel like nothing you did was every good enough?

    Why not lower your expectations, be happy with what you DO get from the relationship, look for the GOOD in the relationship, and maybe, just maybe, your children will be more drawn to you as a result.

    Being a woman is no excuse for guilt tripping children for not doing enough. My mother-in-law is a woman, obviously, and she is the most sweet woman, and we adore her, and love to visit with her.

    Hell, I'm a woman, and a mother myself - but I do not guilt trip those around me constantly if they do not do exactly as I wish in regards to our relationship.

    My own mother is critical, constantly guilt trips, etc., so we avoid her. What else are we to do? She is a grown woman and should know better, yet treats us as if we are 5 years old, or as if the very fact that she brought us into the world makes us her property for life. And yes, the insurance policy analogy fits well in this case - I honestly do think that one of the main reasons my mother had children was because "that's the way you make sure you'll be taken care of in old age".

    That's certainly not the reason why I had children... if they move away some day to seek a better life for themselves and their families, more power to them. We'll keep in touch as best we can and that'll be that. No reason to guilt them over it.

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  45. My mother guilt-tripped my siblings and me - still does - we call her on it - and everybody's still been staying in touch and going home for decades. I've never guilt-tripped my kids and nada. This isn't about the consequences of bad relationships and hard feelings. And it's not about parents who are too needy. This is about grief - the grief of losing adult children - and seeing the relationship/s continue to wane for no explicable reason. If they no longer have a place or need for me in their lives beyond the obligatory, than so be it; how they spend their time and with whom is certainly up to them. I just have to decide if I'm willing to settle for the obligatory - and more importantly, how I will cope with settling for that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. lol. Yeah you can speculate....wait till you actually live it and see if you can remain so cheery. Good Luck.

      Delete
  46. I think some parents have difficulty letting go of their children - they are used to telling their children what to do and how to do it - when the child grows up, they assume the child will still obey their every directive.

    But life isn't supposed to be that way - children are supposed to grow into independent thinking adults. Yes, still having a loving relationship with their parents, but the parents NEED to change their treatment of their child to reflect the fact that the child is now an adult.

    And everyone needs to keep in mind that there are varying degrees of guilt trips... some parents may only mildly guilt trip - easy for children to shrug off and still maintain a good relationship with their parents. But for others, the frequency and intensity of parental criticism and guilt trips is intolerable for the adult child... the adult child simply can't take it anymore and needs to protect their OWN mental health from deteriorating as a result of their parent's treatment of them. So in that way, it IS about some parents being too needy, but also too critical, and expressing whatever grief they have about their children leaving the nest in inappropriate and damaging ways.

    Most adult children love their parents and will do everything within reason to maintain a good, loving relationship with them - a relationship that goes well beyond the obligatory. But for this to happen, the parents also must make sure that they are not sabotaging the relationship with their own actions... it's not always the fault of the adult children when the relationship sours.

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  47. I am divorced. I am 66 years old. My daughter who is 28 now, blames me for every failure in her life. She blames me for the divorce from her father, even though I divorced him because he used to beat the crap out of me all of the time. I could not stay in that abusive relationship. And, then, he never gave me a dime for child support. I was homeless with my daughter for two years. I don't understand how she thinks. She adores him and visits him and talks about her daddy. She can't understand my pain. He owes me $37,000.00 in back payments of child support. He pays $25.00 a month. I took him to court and that is all they make him pay, even though my daughter is now 28 years old. $25 doesn't even pay the finance charges, so the amount keeps going up. He is now 76 years old. It takes all I can do not to hate him. I will never get what he owes me, for all of the heartache and pain I am still suffering. My daughter still throws it up in my face that I was the one who divorced her dad. I cry a lot because I just can't seem to shake my anger toward him and I feel so alone. I feel with the money he owes me, I could've been in a better position in this life. I could've been a better parent. $25.00 a month is a joke.

    ReplyDelete
  48. Be happy with what you have. It could always be worse. We live in a country of relative safety (yes, horrible things can still happen here, but there are still far worse places safety-wise), odds are you are healthy compared to many others (for most of us, whatever is wrong with us can always be trumped by far worse things), we don't need to worry about starving to death, we have a roof over our heads that keeps us comfortable all year (maybe not perfect, but good enough) and we have SOMEONE in our life who cares about us.

    Wallowing in self-pity will only bring more unhappiness. Depending on someone else's actions for happiness will almost always leave you sad and disappointed in some way, so don't do that!

    Focus on what is positive, spend your energy on enjoying life's little pleasures that you DO have, spend you energy on bringing happiness to others with no thought of benefiting yourself, and you will feel much happier.

    Focusing on what you don't have is a sure road to misery... so stop it!!!

    (This is meant with the best of intentions... not slamming anyone, merely trying to help.)

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  49. I just needed to comment, though I never post on the internet, I just couldn’t let this go. This is to the inconsiderate woman that felt the need to boast about her great relationship with her children (daughter) on a sight of woman that needed support. My adult son does exactly what all these other parents are talking about. He has time for every one but me. Without getting into my situation the woman that felt the need to brag is very wrong. Both my children were brought up with the concept of family. I still talk with my brothers regularly for hours at a time. I was extremely close to my mother, which was a widow. I seen her every day and spoke with 3 to 4 times a day when she was not with me. I lived out of state for about 4 years and when my mother became older I moved back to my home town so I could be nearby for her. Don’t tell anyone of us that maybe if we were close with our parents it would be different. My mother was apart of my life and my children’s life on a daily basis. I worshipped the ground my mother walked on and my children witnessed that on a daily basis. Still my son and daughter-in-law are intentionally nasty and hurtful. I am also left out and made to feel unwelcomed. You are blessed to have a daughter and a son – in – law that is not a selfish passive aggressive control freak. My daughter and I talked daily and she tells me how it ache her heart to see how unkindly I am treated. They always have time for her family, BS about too busy. I agree with the woman would said ENOUGH we make too many excuses for this generation. The Bible tells us to honor our Mother’s and Father’s not honor our Son’s and daughters. Not that we should not show them honor and respect, but we are the parent and worked our butts off to give them a good life. Why in the heck do you think they are where they are in life? We deserved and have earned the fruit of our labor!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  50. It was taking with the best of intentions!!! Well said and thank you for sharing

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  51. This is a follow up to my post of Oct 19. Here we are after the new year and things have gone from bad to worse. We have no idea what we have done but we have officially been cut off "until if/when the hurts have healed". We have done nothing to them except give and give. We have always been mindful of their needs, wants and desires. We sent gifts for Christmas, tried to call and text. We still haven't heard from them, not even our son. However, my parents visited them and my mother posted pictures of them with our kids and grandkids on her facebook page. I can not begin to tell you the depth and breadth of our pain. Our granddaughter's first birthday is later this month. We are hoping for reconciliation by then. We haven't seen our kids and grandkids since last May. I can't bear the thought of letting go. Our son is our only child.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand your pain. Every holiday is spent with her parents. They send us pictures of her parents with the granddaughters and I delete them.

      Delete
    2. Don't delete the pictures until after posting comments such as, "So happy to see that you had a wonderful holiday. I cannot believe how [granddaughter's names} are growing into such beauties, I see so much of you in them at that age." Every time you see/receive messages, photo's etc. react AS AN UNATTACHED casual friend or neighbor. It will be difficult and you will be dying inside, but DO NOT convey SUFFERING!

      Secondly, don't you have any imagination anymore? Have you never heard, "fight fire with fire". You have to get imaginative and come up with some ideas to convey to your indifferent progeny that YOU ARE NOT SUFFERING due to their apathy. Load up on some photos of yourself and spouse, if you have one, depicting AN ENJOYABLE LIFE. Do this even if it has to be "staged". If you belong to a church, you have the perfect setting. Little children attend church. If your church offers "social" gatherings, attend these WITH A CAMERA IN HAND. Get as many photo's as possible taken with CHILDREN! Make sure the smiles on your face(s) reach ear to ear, be radiant, beaming, as if these "borrowed" children ARE your grandchildren. If church is not possible, surely there are children in the neighborhood or call a school and ask to read a story to kindergarten children. Many schools welcome elderly with open arms for the children who don't have grandparents. Wherever you go, take the camera and record as many HAPPY moments as possible. THEN POST ONLINE OR MAIL. Should your adult children question who the children are in the photos, be as vague as possible. Don't offer more than what they tell you when you ask questions.

      Thirdly, stop sending ALL gifts!!! You are trying to "buy" them. This is a self defeating strategy which sends the message, "the more we ignore them, the more they're trying to buy our attention."Stopping gifts and other forms of desperate attempts sends,"they don't care anymore that we've completely cut them off." Now the shoe is on the other foot!

      These measures are tough and risky. However, you've already been cut off and abandoned. Can't get anymore relegated or sent off to a deserted island than where you already find yourself. At least, after employing some of these strategies you'll know if there is still a spark of love left in those seemingly cold and indifferent hearts. Should you find that there is not a scintilla of warmth, IT IS TIME TO COMPLETELY SEVER THE ATTACHMENTS and move on and away from the source of the pain. Many, many people have had to do it, many FORCED to move on and forge a new life because children have DIED!
      Not easy, not fun but you can't allow it to break you. The sun will still rise tomorrow and the moon will still brighten the darkest night. Even without children, the world is still an awesomely beautiful place with much to offer those who just use the resources available along with a heaping dose of imagination!

      Delete
    3. "A daughter is your daughter for the rest of your life, a son is a son till he takes a wife."

      Too many daughters-in-law are encouraged by their mothers to favor them and give a cold shoulder to the grooms mom. This is a sad predicament many mothers of the groom find themselves. It leaves the grooms mother in a place of having to feel competitive for the attention of her own son.

      Sometimes, not always, having a heart to heart with the bride's mother can be helpful. Many groom's moms attempt to establish a warm relationship with the bride, when it can sometimes be more helpful to establish a warm relationship with her mother.

      Many future problems begin with the planning of the wedding. It's a good idea for mothers of the groom to seek help via books, wedding planners, online, etc. because the "power play" often begins at this stage and how it is handle will spill over into the marriage and infinity beyond.

      Warning to mothers of the groom: Allowing yourself to be herded to the side lines while wedding plans are made is a sure bet you'll find yourself on the side lines forever after. Beware pushy mothers of the bride. It's also a sure bet their husband's mother has written comments like the many we find here.

      Delete
  52. Anonymous
    My daughter and i survived so many abuses and tragedies and I have been in the front row for every accomplishment and set back she has gone through. I was he number one fan and provider. When she had her 2 children i was always available to watch them. After her and her boys father broke up i took her into my home and supported her. How has she thanked me? When i told her to move out because i was sick of her pot smoking, her always hateful and mean attitude, she told me too never contact her again!!!!! That was 2 months ago. She told her eoutrageous lies.that i tried to kill her, that i treated her like dirt, that i demanded she not Katy around all day screaming at me. And he believes her and now i can't see my grandson!!!! S She says i ore here an x apology!!! She has really done it this time!!! I am tempted to tell her if she doesn't contact me and apologize to me on July 4th, i am rewriting my will taking her off and leaving everything to my grandsons. Do you think that will work ??? Also, she has too come to me, I'm done running after her begging for her love. Thank you.

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    Replies
    1. Although my circumstances are quite different, I can sure related when you say you are "done running after her begging for her love". That is exactly how it has felt for my husband and I ever since our son married his wife. No matter what we do, we are rejected. At first, he expressed his understanding and fustration about how ridiculous she was being. Now he seems to have just succombed to her control. I wish I had answers for you, I don't. But just know that others are out here... you are not alone.

      Delete
    2. I am so sorry for the hardships you have suffered. Your words speak loud and clear that you are a good mother. I can see that in almost every comment posted here, which makes it all the more difficult to understand why adult children's hearts go so cold when they leave the nest. Maybe they are afraid of what the future holds. They equate aging with becoming sick and needy and they don't want to be the ones to fulfill those needs. So they think they'd better start distancing themselves now so that it won't appear that they "dumped" their parents when they became unable to care for themselves. As to your daughter, she sounds like someone who has never grown up and I'm sorry to say, she also sounds like a "spoiled brat". Is it possible you indulged her every whim while she was growing up? Children that are so used to being over indulged without ever hearing the word, NO! often grow up to expect it to go on forever and when it doesn't the temper tantrums of childhood turn into threats of abandonment in later life. Sounds like your daughter is using the grandchildren as leverage to get what she wants from you now. Now that she is older, you cannot indulge her as you did when she was younger. You don't want her smoking pot because it is bad for her and a bad influence on the grand children, but she's not about to hear your NO!'s now at this stage of her life. Only mean and abusive people use emotions to control and minipulate others. Don't stand for it! Because if you do you will be tap dancing around your daughter just to keep her in your life for the rest of your life. And, you won't be doing her any favors, because it will have become such an ingrained pattern with her, she will do the same to the next unfortunate person who tries to have a relationship with her. Also, it's quite likely that you'll adjust without her and may even find that life is a lot more peaceful and enjoyable without her. Wouldn't that be a shock to her!!!

      Delete
  53. Our much loved children are now the 'me, myself and I generation' Like no other before and we need to think hard about how we are all going to fair as we get older without them.
    They honesty feel don't they should have to care, after all it takes effort!
    Lets make 2013 our year spend any spare money & time you can on you, so their is nothing left behind to pass on and lets have some fun. It is time for us to love ourselves.

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  54. Adam, I really loved your post-- and what you said about "your full grown adult offspring owes you nothing". Your whole response was very comforting to me (and also what other posters wrote about guilt trips from parents). It's ideal for families to love and care for each other. But, if there is something hurtful, imbalanced, or toxic about any relationship, then I feel it's OK to detach. Sometimes being "busy" is simply the only way out.

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  55. When my sons married, our relationship disappeared. The girls wanted nothing to do with us.

    One of my sons is a doctor and the other a lawyer. I spent every cent i made sending them to a private school so they would n't have to struggle and suffer financially like we did. Then they married social climbing wives who looked down on us and judged us for being relatively poor!

    Could go into the cruelty and abuse of the past 5 years but, suffice to say, now they have "cut us off".

    We have worked hard to build independant lives, but now I am so disgusted I want to adopt and adult child who may fill the void. And why not? When I was a young adult I longed for a family and loving parents. I'm praying to God for someone who wants a mother and father and loving granddparents for their children.

    There are plenty of people out there in th opposite situation. The parents have many children with favoured offspring and have no time for the "spare wheels" and grandchildren.

    Anything is possible - I'm praying for it.

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  56. My husband and I talk about this very thing. We have tried connecting more with neices and nephews but it just hasn't filled the void in our lives. They have parents and have no need of more. We have a lot of love to give but our only son and his family don't want us in their lives right now. Feeling all alone and abandoned. Finding it impossible to connect to life.

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  57. There is only one Being who can satisfy the longings of the human heart, GOD! Turn to God. Pour out your heart to God and tell Him about your emotional pain. This is something one has to do every day if expecting to see a change or healing of emotions.

    Also, this phenomenon that is observed in American culture is not the norm in many other cultures. For instance, in Japan, aged parents are almost revered and cared for until they die. As Western influences creep into these other cultures this may change, but for now many Japanese children are still very respectful and loving toward aging parents. The many posted comments here are testimonials that testify that something is wrong in American culture and beg the question, why are American children growing into adults who abandon their parents? Until society is willing to stop being in denial and admit something is wrong, and if we are also willing to admit selfishness and abandonment are forms of emotional abuse toward loving parents, therefore wrong, nothing will change and this phenomenon will probably get a lot worse before it ever gets better.

    In my experience, begging, whining and crying will not have an impact on adult children who just don't care. As one poster said, "my daughter said, get mom a crying towel". Don't make idols out of people, not even your own children. You can't MAKE them give you love and attention if their own hearts aren't bringing them to do so. The kindest thing one can do for one's self is to let them go.

    "If you love someone let them go, if they come back to they're yours forever, if not, it was never meant to be."

    "There is only one Being who can, satisfy the last aching abyss of the human heart and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Why our Lord is apparently so severe regarding every human relationship is because he knows that every human relationship not based on loyalty to Himself will end in disaster.” Leslie Vernick

    It's quite possible the question that begs the answer is answered in the above quote. Namely, unattentive adult children don't have a relationship with God. An answer American society will not accept and that's the problem. Denial!

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  58. I really feel for the widowed elderly mother who calls her daughter several times a day. Her mother is alone without her spouse. She must be very lonely. When people are alone all the time and have no one to talk to, they listen too much to their own thoughts. For the elderly, these thoughts can turn to worries about impending DEATH! No one wants or should die all alone. Especially MOM's who have devoted an entire life to their children. I'm sure when this elderly widow was the same age as her daughter, she too was into a busy young adulthood: trying to build careers and relationships, starting families, reveling in her independence. It was her day, her moment. How did she respond when she was in the middle of all this and her children called in need numerous times every day? Could it just be a wee bit possible we adult children need to reflect back and take a good hard look at the sacrifices our parents made for us when they were exactly in the same place we find ourselves today.

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  59. I also have the same situation where my two children act as if I am already dead. Make sure you let your ungrateful children know that when you die you plan to leave all your assets to the person who has been nicest to you, and if there is no one who fits this description, then you will be leaving everything to the "Save the Whales Foundation".

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  60. Have you ever been invited to a party you didn't want to go to, and told the host you couldn't make it because you were busy that date? When children tell you they are busy, they don't want to see you. If they did want to see you, you would be part of what they are busy with.

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    Replies
    1. Yes, if I wasn't busy! :-)

      SoCalMom

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  61. More salt on the wounds. Just found out my parents have been invited to our granddaughters birthday party and we haven't even been told about it. Only communication we have received is a hateful email scolding us for sending birthday and Christmas presents to them. I give up!

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  62. A hateful email about your sending gifts???! There is something really toxic going on here. Had they asked you not to send gifts? Could your parents help bridge the communications gap and help clear the air? If not, please do consider family therapy. Ideally, it would include your kids --maybe brought in with the spirit of "I want to understand what's going on and what I can do to make things better between us." If they agree to participate in that way, great! If not, maybe working through your own hurt and pain in therapy might lead to greater peace and understanding of the situation on your part. It might also be useful to think back and pinpoint when things changed: has your relationship with your adult child always been difficult? If not, when did it begin to change? Are there any incidents that could have been the trigger for the toxic situation today? How has your relationship been historically with your child's spouse? There are so many factors that could be a part of this. Sorting them out with the help of a therapist -- whether or not your child agrees to participate -- can help.

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    Replies
    1. Our troubles are caused by our daughter in law. My son has been married to her almost four years and they have two kids. We have never been anything but good to them, never interferring in their lives. As a matter of fact, they live over 500 miles away from us. Before they cut us off, we only saw them 3 or 4 times a year. Our relationship with our son has always been close; but his wife has made his life a living hell to the point he has succumbed and given into her. You would not believe how ridiculous and far fetched her accusations are against us - they don't even make sense. We have grieved and cried so much that our hearts can't take anymore. We have decided to just stop banging our heads against the wall and turn it all over to God. He is the only one that can repair the damage that has been done. Thanks for the advice about counselling; it really is something my husband and I should do.

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  63. I have a horrible case of flu and a disabled husband who is not able to do things for me at this time. Our 2 daughters 28 & 30 gripe and belly ache if they help us. Any help is very little, maybe running a few errands. Today was the limit. I have barely ate in 3 days due to being ill and can't eat stuff on hand due to allergies. I just needed someone to run in the store for applesauce and soup. We kept her kid all weekend while they travelled yet I am the devil for asking for a return. I ended up with a can of chile and chicken noodle instead of rice. No applesauce, and got chewed out.

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  64. Hi. Like others I'm glad that there is somebody else who feels like me. I must say that my son hasn't yet done some of the sad things mentioned above, but, give him time.. He left home as soon as he got a university place and has been gone for nearly 2 years now. I have found it quite hard to adapt to living alone ( I hadn't told him this as I didn't want to worry him) His university is near to where I live and on the same site as where I work but he doesn't come and see me at work often unless he feels guilty and he doesn't come home often. He is my only child and its only been us living at home since he was about 3yrs old. I've had it out ''with him and told him how it hurts me. He is so 'sorry' but, .....you guessed it so 'busy' I've cried and shouted and ignored him, left him to his own devices and all the silly things you do to get through the hurt. I'm unwell at the moment and he hasn't come home to see me. It seems that drop calls or texts are the same as real concern nowadays. I read all the stuff about boys being different and I suppose they are, but, I just wish it didn't hurt so much. Sometimes its easier to ignore his drop calls as I know that if I speak to him i'll get upset and I don't want him to see me as some emotionally draining mother although he probably thinks I am anyway. I don't know I just didn't think it would be like this. He is very loving when I see him and I do know he loves me but I do think he is going to be one of those kids just forget that we are human individuals with feelings and not just 'Mum' Thanks for letting me have a moan ,

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  65. My son is 21 and myself and moved out 6 months ago...i split from his father when he was 6.He never had a lot of contact after that...My new partner raised him and his biological father never paid to help out but came back on the scene when my son turned 18....My son keeps in contact with him now and not us...After all we have done for him..Its very sad and soul destroying..I question why we have kids at all, after spending our life and money on them to be literally dumped..

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  66. I am an adult child. My husband and I spend varying amounts of time with my parents and our in-laws.

    A lot of you need to be more realistic! If you are doing any of the following, I would not want to be around you either!:

    guilt trips- You never call me! Parents, that is because every time we do we have to listen to a litany of guilt trips that make us not want to call again until next year!

    Treating your adult son like a chore boy- The roof's leaking I need you to fix it! Oh, and the TV remote won't work... Parents, adult children are busy working all week, running around helping their kids with everything, and doing chores at their own houses. They do not want to come over and do chores for you each week!

    It's my evil daughter-in-law's fault!- Parents, get real with yourselves here. It's easier to hate your DIL than admit that you have a poor relationship with your son. If you don't respect your DIL she will not include you or want to spend time with you. Wives are generally the ones who keep family ties. I know of zero husbands who send out family cards or pictures or who plan the holidays! If you want to keep ties with your son's family respect his wife.

    Histerics- If you break out crying or hang up on the phone adult children don't want to deal with that. Who wants to spend what little free time they have calling someone to listen to them cry and/or get angry about various perceived hurts? We can't talk to you while you're doing that so in our opinion we may as not be calling to listen to it.

    Unrealistic Pre-Existing Expectations with adult children & especially Grandchildren!- So, for years you dreamed of your future grandchildren coming to spend the week. You planned to see them twice every week & attend all their events! Then they were born and their parents wouldn't let you. It's you who created these expectations, your adult child & their spouse were not aware of them & certainly never agreed. Accept that and move on! The grandparents' role is based on what the grand children's parents are okay with.

    Criticism- You do not have free reign to share any negative comment that comes into your head about your adult child! All people hate receiving criticism & will seek to avoid those who give it!


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  67. To all of you who bitch about your parents...let's see what happenes when you get to be their age. So many incompassionate non caring children. Maybe these kids need to marry from other countries then they would see what is expected of them in a family. AND it is mainly this generation of over 30 year olds who thinks the world owes them and they owe nothing back. Many parents do a way lot more than is expected of them. I am ashamed of what's been happening to the parents by their children. One day you'll be wondering why you didn't spend more time with your parents...I GUARANTEE it. It will be too late.

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  68. I've read the post and the numerous comments. From parents and adult children here.
    I found this post searching for support because I too have been experiencing similar feelings. It seems that the life situations may be different in our cases, children in their 20's 30's or 40's....but the feelings in us the parents are all very similar. Basically, it's a feeling of emotional abandonment. Of feeling unappreciated. Regardless. The feeling is there. I am sure all, if not most, of us parents love our children very much and did the best we could with what we knew at the time of their upbringing. And, yes, the world is a different place now. Affection, compassion, attention, appreciation....these are and always will remain the same. They come from the heart. My parents were very hard people to relate to and I didn't feel much love from them. Even so, I have done my best to honor them while keeping a distance because of the toxicity. I know this is not the case with my own adult children. When I have mentioned how I feel, it is not heard nor understood. And it hurts. We all have our family histories, dramas and stories. Most families are dysfunctional. We live in a dysfunctional society, so...I'm beginning to realize that it's in my best interest to let go, release, not be too available and enjoy my life as best I can. I certainly do not want to be taken care of by any of my children when I grow old and need care. I haven't found the best solution yet....I pray.

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  69. Happy Valentine's Day to my son, daughter-in-law and precious grandbabies. Another holiday without you. Hoping and praying it will be the last. I refuse to accept that it's always going to be this way. I love you all dearly and miss you more than you will ever know.

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  71. I read this post and felt bad for some of you and ashamed of some of you, it seems many have completely unrealistic expectations of their children.

    For some background I'm a working 28 year old male only-child who with pretty much no family other than an ill mother that I live with and care dearly about (and yes, I'm straight). Since I am the only living family member I feel obligated to stay, and I love my mom more than I have loved anyone in the world. She is a great person and a great parent and someone I love being around, but living with her and her constant criticism (almost never constructive) has given me massive anxiety problems that has left me with zero social life and severe depression. These exist because of unrealistic expectations she has of me as a person that I will never be able to meet.

    Anything I get excited or happy about is immediately shot down with anger and frustration. My passions and interest are dismissed and I am still treated like a 10 year old. All of her intentions are good, but they lead to me feeling even worse as a person and I fear this is what is going on with many of you.

    Yes, this is also a generation gap and it's not all young people's fault, if anything I put more blame on the older generations lack of acceptance of our different attitudes and lifestyles which frankly is unpleasant to be around, so we choose not to or to limit our exposure when possible. The fact I got 5 years of shit just for being honest and saying I was an Atheist is proof of this.

    There is also the fact that often the generations have nothing in common which leads to mindless arguments about everything under the sun. Some personal examples are the guilt trips about the fact I never want to get married or have children (yes again, I'm straight but I see marriage as pointless and useless in 2013), that I will not attend church under any circumstances and that I have "too few interests" which I understood to mean the things I enjoyed she found stupid or immature.

    Some advice I could give to you struggling from someone who has a rather good relationship with their mom who drives them absolutely insane would be to stop being so self-absorbed and try to relate to them. I read multiple posts about religious and family nonsense, but not one of you trying to trying to do something that your child enjoys with them. I often try to engage my mom in subjects I am deeply interested in like science, futurology, theology, political science, math, UFC/MMA, gaming, statistics, etc to absolutely NO avail. In fact she will usually say I'm "crazy" because of my intelligence and the things I choose to be passionate about.

    Part 2 Up Next:

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  72. Part 2:

    This is the first time I've EVER said many of these things in any sort of forum be it private or public and it's difficult because I have always tried to do what's right for the amazing woman that raised me. I feel conflicted though because I've lost my early adulthood due to the situation I was in (my dad passed away when I was 19 and my mom was diagnosed with Lupus and Emphysema shortly thereafter).

    The biggest piece of advice I can give to the parents is to realize that your kids most likely just want to make you happy, and they feel they never can so it's easier to just not be around you instead of constantly feeling like shit. Some of you should also adjust your communication methods and expectations. I haven't talked to my best friend on the phone in 2 months and I haven't seen him in 3, yet he's still like my brother whenever I see him. Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and texting have changed the way anyone my age communicates and it has left us with little tolerance for obtrusive phone calls (total cell phone minutes used last month: 8). I personally consider phone calls to be almost painful to make when texting exists.

    Another piece of advice is to find out what they enjoy, learn about it and try to relate to them with it. If they enjoy Call of Duty on PS3, buy a PS3 and play them online! Why is it whenever I suggest this to a parent they give me a look of insanity? Young people don't spend their time like they used to and while it's completely reasonable for us to accommodate your interests on occasion, why are we ALWAYS scoffed at when we want to do something we enjoy?

    TL;DR: I love my mom, but she drives me nuts. Half of you are unrealistic and controlling and the other half just have kids who are assholes.

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  73. I am a 42 year old daughter from India

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  74. Great post Tony....sometimes it is not the kids. I am constantly reaching out to my parents but they never reach out to me...they ASSUME I'm busy but never ask my brother or I over for dinner. When they do reach out to me or my brother it is for a favor or to fix something that deters us from spending time with them. If we do get invited to a dinner or event it is with a whole bunch of people and we never get to spend time with my parents. I finally convinced my parents to have a family golf day which now is getting canceled because my parents had something come up. So cut your kids some slack...maybe they are reaching out to you but it gets overlooked.

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    1. I would give anything to have dinner with my son and his family..... Heck, I would be happy with a text or a phone call.

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  75. My husband and I both work 5 days a week and spend our evenings waist deep in cooking, homework, and then baths and bedtime for the kids, and a walk for the dog. Our Saturdays our filled to the brim with shopping, cleaning, doctor's appointments, vet appointments, errands, the occasional play date, yard work and we try to squeeze in Saturday night church.

    Sunday is the only "quiet" day we have. And I say "quiet" because life isn't ever really quite with twin 6 year old boys and boisterous 8 year old girl. I just want to spend a laid back day with my kids, enjoy an afternoon nap with my husband, and eat something out of a crock pot for dinner.

    I do my best to call both my mother and my mother in law every week, but sometimes it ends up being every other week. Once a month we give up that precious Sunday to the grandparents and invite them all over. Both grandma's privately complain to me that they would like more "individual time" with their grandchildren. And the grandpa's never fail to loudly exclaim "Oh, you guys got so big. That's because it's been waaaaaay too long since I've seen you." My Mom complains that I do not set aside enough "mother-daughter" time and my mother-in-law constantly reminds me that she could use her sons help at her house (she's got 3 sons mind you and the other 2 are single). I cannot help but laugh a little to myself because we barely have time for our marriage. I rarely have time for myself, and my husband is lucky to escape to the golf course or to a guy's night out once or twice a year. All of our free time is spent trying to have full and meaningful relationships with our children and each other. And trust me, it's precious small amounts of free time. And I refuse to give any more of it to others at the expense of my own relationship with my children or husband.

    Bottom line...while some of your sons and daughters might just be neglectful, I bet others really are just exhausted and truly busy. Don't complain to them. Go the positive route and offer to babysit while they attempt to remove the layer of child filth that coats their home. Or offer to cook dinner and bring it to them on a Sunday. Buy your evil daughter-in-law a pedicure and watch your grand kids while she goes to the spa (boy is that win-win or what?). Surprise your daughter or son with some starbucks and ask them to sit out on the porch with you for just 15 minutes (because trust me, that's about all they have) and enjoy every one of those 15 minutes. I would be so ecstatic if instead of complaining that I do not have time for her, my Mom tried to create small little special moments for the two of us.

    Basically, it would be great if parents would try to understand. I know that you think that "you were different," but we all have selective memory. And if your kids don't want to be a part of your life, find somebody who does and be happy. Life is too short to wallow in self-pity, anger, and spite.

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    1. I am a parent who's only son and family have estranged themselves from my husband and I for reasons that are utterly ridiculous. For example, our DIL is angry because we call ourselves mamaw and papaw too much. So your attitude and the time you set aside for your parents seems very reasonable and honestly like heaven to me :)

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  76. Really feeling the loss today. My life is so empty. Trying to hold on and to trust God; emotions just overwhelming me today. I miss my family.

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  77. I can really feel your sadness and hurt. Missing your family is understandable. But making as much of an effort as possible to build a life for yourself -- including your religious faith, church activities, friends, hobbies, volunteer work and doing what pleases you, whether its exercise or prayer or spending time with caring people of all ages -- can make such a difference. Some people get a lot of satisfaction from volunteer work -- like cuddling babies at area hospitals or with rescue animals -- where so much of your love and kindness can be channeled to those who need it so much. It's a strange quirk of human nature -- but sometimes when you need a person or persons less, that's when they want to be with you!

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  78. Wow,
    Lots of angry mothers on here. Coming from the other side of this, at what point is it not ok to dump all of your baggage on your children. My mother counts down to the hour how many hours have been spent with her in any particular time period. She is going through a rough time and me and my 2 siblings were there 3x/week at the beginning. But at what point is it ok to let your mother deal with her own issues and live your own life?
    Not all kids are bad, we sometime need space to heal ourselves, and unreasonable expectations that set us up to fail everytime just fosteres resentment.

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    1. Angry? I think you need to re-read the comments. Hurt, lonely, abandoned, disappointed, bewildered, sad, depressed.... not angry.

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    2. As a young mother of 3, the wife a supportive and loving husband, and the daughter of 2 if the most pushy, unthankful, controlling parents in the world, I say SHAME ON YOU!!! I probably saw my own grandparents 3 times a year. I would have liked to get to know them better but according to my hypocritical parents, "There just was never enough time, or enough money!" My particularly favorite one was, "It's either their way or no way." I am sure to get over to my parents house a minimum of once a week. Still it is never enough. My husband has to take care of his mother as she is confined to a wheel chair. Why is it that, this is seen as a cop out and unfair? The hell that was raised because I didn't come over one week... completely unfair. No matter how much I call, or how much I visit, it will never be enough. Heaven forbid I should have a weekend to myself or with my husband. NO NO NO!!! Have you people forgotten how difficult it is to raise children and maintain a marriage?!?! After a back breaking, spirit crushing week the last thing I want to do is go over to a house were some one is going to nag about how much they don't see me or what I'm not doing right or how horrible my husband is for not being more readily available. SELFISH?!?! Did you forget how draining your little darlings were when they were little? How you longed for a vacation or a night out with the girls so you could just gather your thoughts a bit. TRY BEING MORE SUPPORTIVE and less demanding. Then maybe your kids will flock to you instead of run from you and believe that you are the most manipulative person they've ever met!















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    3. You have no right to shame me. I have not seen my son and his family for almost a year. And frankly, your judgemental comments are misplaced. The estrangement in my family is not of my making or choosing, it is because of a selfish narcissitic daughter in law who has bit by bit separated our son from us and his entire family and from all his friends he had before they met. The only people he is allowed to be around are friends they made after they met. I have never, and will never, manipulate or try to control them. Take your hurtful comments to another forum. Shaming people who are hurting is totally uncalled for and out of bounds. P.S. If you are as busy as you claim to be, why are you wasting precious moments seeking out this forum and taking the time to comment?

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    4. I could not have said it better myself. THe younger generation is thankless and unGodly. They will have to answer to God some day. In the meantime it hurts those of us who realize how wrong it is and if we love them we know they are going to be in pain over it someday and that hurts us too.

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  80. I understand the complaints that many here have and they are valid. Frequently the wife's family will be on the receiving end of attention. I've noticed that in my own family. You have to remember those adult kids that live more than 200 miles have limited vacation time and money is a common concern for young families. If the kids never come around and seem to have sufficient funds to travel later on and DON'T, then don't hesitate to remove them from your estate plan (just make sure it's airtight as all kids now think they own their parents assets). Our children are all smart, educated and busy with careers away from us. They do call about once a month and visit at the holidays, or when they need something. That's okay for now. What really bothers me is they have been taught, but don't use money wisely and don't seem to be interested in accumulating assets. If they doesn't change in the next 10-12 years our estate will go to a very needy charity.

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  81. Get over it parents! Your kids moved away, got married and are starting their own families! You need to start a new life of your own. My husband and I moved away from our families because they were overbearing and constantly getting on our backs to see them and spend time with them...but really who wants to spend time with a nag? Be happy that you raised your kids to be successful and independent- be happy they aren't coming to you for money, etc.
    things could be alot worse!

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    1. I hope someday you have kids and they move away, get married and start their own families -- without you. Then you may understand.

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    2. you get over it. what goes around comes around

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    3. so true. these parents should get their
      own lives

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  82. WOMEN: Not everything is your daughter in law's fault...more often than not, it is us telling your sons they should call more often and them not wanting to have anything to do with you! Clearly he can see what kind of women you are if you are disrespecting/being rude to his wife, he CHOSE us after all, he got STUCK with you!

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    1. Maybe not always... but in my case, it is!!!!

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  83. Just wanted to share some hope with you other hurting parents on here. We finally got a response to a text message we sent to our son this week. It was brief but it was a start. We continue to pray for total restoration for our family and all of yours. Don't give up hope!

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  84. I am a 45 year old mother of 3 grown daughters and three grandchildren.I became a widow at age 35 and my world was turned upside down! I had been married since I was 14 just shy of 21 years of marriage when my husband was killed in a car accident.I had a very hard time with the loss,but knew that I had to go on for my daughters.I have always been a very attentive & loving mother, but as my children have gotten older they exclude me in their lives.I barely see my oldest daughter & her children and they only live about 5 minutes away.If I do get to see the grandchildren every once in awhile she brings them to the house and they speak of how much they miss their Nina.It breaks my heart, because it is so senseless to keep them away. She does not want me to come to her home at all. when I would go to her home and knock on the door she would not answer, and I quit trying.She doesn't call me on mothers day, my birthday and does not come for holidays.My middle daughter is distant,but she will wish me happy mothers day & birthday & will come for holidays, but doesn't stay long.She does special things for her friends just because, but there is never a just because for me at all.My youngest daughter and I were close until she met the dad of her son 6 years ago. He abused her and she cried to me, and I helped her through it, but she got back with him, and I became the bad guy. She has been very mean & nasty toward me since this ordeal, and we have not been close since, even though she is no longer with this guy.I have not been told I love you by my children in years.I have always been there for my children and loved them unconditionally, but it seems that I must have done something wrong. I do not feel needed or wanted as a mother. Heart broken!

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    1. I can so relate to the pain and agony I hear in your words. I too am in my forties, but with one son, a DIL and two grandchildren. My DIL has been very sweet and soft spoken to our face but behind our backs has driven a wedge in between us and our son. He finally gave in to her last year and cut us off. Our oldedst grandchild is three years old and our son has never once referred to us as mamaw/papaw or grandma/grandpa to our grandchildren. It isn't like we have had some big blow up that has caused the distance in the relationship, it's just the DIL's little gripes and complaints. No matter how much we go out of our way to be good to her, she twists things around and finds fault. So I know what you mean when you say you never get the "just because" stuff, especially when the obvious times of endearment like birthdays and mother's day are ignored. Funny thing is we sent our son and his wife a large sum of money a couple of years ago and signed the card "Just Because - Love Mom & Dad".

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  85. There is always two sides to a coin. There are good adult children and bad adult children, but there are also good parents and bad parents. Every situation is different. I feel mutual respect in a parent/child relationship makes the difference.

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  86. To those who have said "your job as an adult parent is done" are WRONG. It is never done. Once a parent always a parent. Respect is all we ask for. If we give respect, we only ask for respect back.

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  87. Wow. There are a number of you that I would love to adopt me. Please know that there are two sides to this. My dad died suddenly. Mom remarried, and despite every supportive comment I could make to her, she has been nothing but terrible to me for the past four years. I want a mom like some of you sound.

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    1. Wow that was so sweet. Brought a smile to my face that just hasn't been there much lately. I am sorry for your loss of your dad and your mom. Hang in there and don't give up on her. You both need each other. I would give anything to have a child with a heart like yours.

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  88. My husband has been deteriorating for 7 yrs and I have been caregiving alone. I am now 65. I never wanted "help" from my three children; all I wanted was encouragement and some sign of concern for us both. My daughter lives 20 minutes away in an affluent area, yet she visits her father maybe three times a year and expects us to come to her house (which is now very difficult with his Parkinsons/vascular dementia with gait and balance weakness. My children do not visit long enough to see what is happening. Is this love?

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  89. My adult children do not want to do any holidays as a family with me. They ruin every holiday for me now by making excuses why we cannot join together. I was a single mom and after all the years I sacrificed for them I only found out recently that they hated holidays because of going back and forth with their dad and me. My 30 year old son completely disconnected contatct two weeks ago and I have no idea where he is. I hope he is alive. My heart is heavy. I pray God has him in his arms safe and will relieve me of this pain because it is more then I can bare.

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  90. I am a widower with an only child. He was his dad's best friend. He lives 2000 miles away. But, I'm techy. And so is he. He's a software developer. I spend my days deploying servers and building database-driven websites. The result? We text daily, from morning to night. We Skype for phone chats, with web cam. I understand what he's talking about with code issues or work issues. He's trying to start a business. I have run three businesses that helped businesses start up and grow, market themselves, or turnaround. We have lots in common to talk about and we talk in the same manner -- texting, IMng, forums, Skype, Google groups. He's 24. I am 60.

    That's the secret folks. Your children are people, too. We share things in common which brings us together. Think how you can do that and time with your young adults will occur naturally. A friend of mine started doing rock climbing. Both of her young one's rock climb. Now they meet all over the U.S. for rock climbing adventures. See? It works!

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  91. You are missing the point... we do have shared interests with our son. But our DIL has given him an ultimatum, her or his family.

    And gloating about your wonderful relationship with your son was not only unthoughtful but cruel

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  92. I think the posts about writing adult kids out of your will are the most ridiculous. My IL make references to me being after their money. I make more money than they ever have or will because I have a better work ethic. Also, I do not assume anyone will give me money when they die. I have my own finances.

    If you truly believe that your adult children are going to be upset that they weren't in your will then you know you did something wrong raising them!

    I love my parents & when the day comes that they pass away finances are the last thing that will be on my mind!

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  93. Above poster is not "gloating" they are giving very good advice.

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