| Are You Having Difficult
Relationships With Your Adult Children?
As we age we like to
keep our independence. We have raised our families, held down
responsible jobs, and performed very well in other areas of our lives.
Yet suddenly, as we
age, our adult children may no longer believe that we are capable of
making the correct decisions. Sometimes we feel our opinions are no
Moreover, many of us
are given responsibility for raising grand-children, but no say in the
manner in which they are being raised.
Family issues grow
difficult — just around the time when they should be growing more
comfortable and comforting.
It’s a common
situation. A holiday or other event brings the family together, and
there is a high expectation of joy and good times. That’s just
the time when many families go into turmoil. Someone says something
that is misinterpreted, and the battle begins.
squabbles often lead to years of heartbreak for all concerned.
Make sure before you
get angry with your child that you have your facts correct. Ask another
family member for their impression of the argument — not to take
sides, but to gauge whether your perception is correct. You may
avoid years of hurt.
The arrival of
grandchildren is usually a joyous occasion, but sometimes adult
children expect their parents to be full-time, built-in babysitters,
especially when adult children move back home following divorce or
You are a parent,
but not to your grandchild. Your child may resent any input you have
about raising his/her child or protest if you discipline the
grandchildren. This leaves the grandparents with all of the
responsibility, but none of the authority.
You may also be
asked to parent a grandchild but not wish to take on that role. Your
child may view you as a babysitter and not respect that your time is
You will need to set
reasonable limits before embarking on this role change, and have your
adult children understand and respect those boundaries and limits
— even if they do not like them.
You may be on a
fixed income and your adult child comes to you with his hand out. You
love your child, but don't want to risk your own security.
many parents give in to the demands of their adult children out of a
sense of guilt, or an unwarranted sense of obligation. This
doesn’t preclude us from helping our children if we choose. But
there is a difference between acting by choice and acting out of guilt.
How you reach and
communicate your decision can make the difference between a healthy
relationship or hurt relationship with your adult child.