“Honor thy father and thy mother,” -The Ten Commandments
How to handle your adult children’s disapproval is a tough area to discuss.
These relationships are almost always skewed but if I were to pick one reason for an adult child’s disapproval of their parent(s), I would use the word, expectations.
My written thoughts below are from my experiences; listening to my friends and acquaintances, reading and living through my own set of problems.
There is a multitude of reasons that adult children disapprove of a parent(s) actions.
Many adult children do not feel their parents are living up to “their expectations” and they become bitter. Bitter is a word I never use, and it is the first time in five years of writing I have put the word in a story. The word bitter means resentful, aggrieved, begrudging, spiteful, petulant with a chip on one’s shoulder. So, how does a parent handle an adult children’s disapproval?
On the other hand, there are situations where adult children are correct in voicing their disapproval, but respectfully.
The Worse Case Scenario
For starters, it takes two to tango. If your adult children have broken off contact with you and you have tried and tried and tried to rekindle the relationship with no success, my advice can be summed up in one word. Accept what you cannot change. Unfortunately, you have no choice when one or more adult children become so bitter, they no longer see the forest from the trees. This adult child does not know how to express anger, a common emotion. Sometimes, even though they are ‘our children,’ their actions are unforgivable. In rare cases they have turned the table on themselves, losing their parent(s).
A Major Decision
So, in the worst-case scenario, you are left with a major decision. I suggest you decide to live your life to its fullest. Let your adult children carry the burden of bitterness on their shoulders. Shame on them, not shame on you. Surround yourselves with loving friends, interesting acquaintances, family members you enjoy and activities that spark your interests. I will leave you with a fact: adult children who do not talk to their parents is epidemic in the United States.
Other Types of Adult Children’s Disapproval and What To Do
They don’t like the way you spend ‘your’ money. They don’t approve that you remarried. They don’t like your spouse or significant other. It upsets them that you are not at their beck and call to babysit. You should not have said this or done that. Perhaps they are jealous of your lifestyle. These situations and more create a major disruption in the relationship between parents and their immature and sometimes bitter, adult children. Everyone loses, especially innocent grandchildren.
There is a saving grace. The saving grace is communication. Most situations are solvable if parents and adult children… talk. So, my darlings, you are the parent. The best way to begin the conversation with these disapproving adult children is to say, “I want to listen to you.” And follow it with this: “I acknowledge we have a problem and I want to solve it together”.
When Your Are At Fault and What You Should Do
I know we have invested our time, money and emotions in our children. I also know many parents cannot let go and overstep their boundaries. They bud into their adult children’s lives. This is a no-no!
Darlings, you no longer have uninhibited boundaries with your child or children. I suggest you keep your comments to yourself. One gets a lot further with honey than vinegar.
Don’t pick on your daughter or sons-in-law. Don’t rearrange the furniture in the living room! Don’t tell them how to raise their children. When one of my daughters left for college, she gave me a framed poster (that I have in my memory drawer) that reads: “You gave me my roots, now my wings.”
Darlings, please don’t have faulty expectations of your adult children. Let your adult children live their lives by their set of rules.
I hope my musings have set a realistic tone. If you are abandoned by a child or children, you have no choice but to accept that you have no power to change them and go on with your life.
If you and your disapproving children communicate please make the time to engage with them in positive dialogue. Their feelings, right or wrong in your opinion, are really theirs, so do not become defensive, listen and respect their every word and find a solution while staying true to your feelings and opinions.
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