Does anyone have ideas about how to help grown sons with families of their own to be responsive to holidays, birthdays, and communication in general? I am single and I do most of the calling, traveling, and visiting. I would like to have them increase their efforts without nagging or complaining on my part.
While you should certainly not be the only one doing the communicating; it seems you may have forgotten what home life was (is) like with kids in the home! Weeks fly by me; and I'll realize I have not talked to/written to/seen family! I can't say where the time goes, it just does. Might have to do with work, housework, outside obligations, kids' activities and my chauffering duties, walking the dog..... I'm willing to bet you have more free time than your son.
Some people are just not phone people....if I waited for my brothers or dad to call me, I would never talk to them. It isn't that they don't think about me, or love me, they just don't make the calls. I don't worry about it--it is what it is. If I want to talk, I pick up the phone.
As for writing...........well, I don't; don't know many who still do. Do you have email? If not, you need to get it and meet him halfway. I'd be willing to bet he would answer SHORT emails frequently!
And what is it that you are communicating? Are your calls/letters long laments about your pains, aging, ill-mannered friends' kids, etc.? Keep it positive!!!!
As for visits....do you remember what it is like to schedule a trip around a family's schedule; and to travel with kids? Are the guest facilities in your home comfortable? I don't enjoy trips to my inlaws as I end up in a too small bed with my husband till I snore--then I am on the floor. The kids are on the floor from the get-go; in the living room, so I have to go to bed early whether I am ready or not.
I am not (in any way) saying you're wrong in what you want. What I am saying is that I can think of no good way to change the behavior of an adult. It is what it is. If you accept that it is basically has nothing to do with you--not lack of thinking of you, not lack of affection, etc.--it is just his life flying by him at full speed; maybe you can relax a bit. Go ahead and do the calling and the writing and the bulk of the travelling.... You can spend your time growing angry or bitter and lamenting; or you can refocus your energies.
If finances are an issue for you; ask for phone cards for your birthday. Most libraries offer internet for free for emailing (hotmail has free accounts). Try emailing or writing his wife, or his kids. If travel is too expensive for you (remember that it is at least twice as much so for him); ask for bus or plane tickts or a gas card (gift card) for your birthday or holidays. If you're not direct, he won't know. He can't read your mind. If you're angry and acting coldly, he won't know why. Let it go and take charge of your own communication needs! You'll be happier in the long run!
We had this problem with my brother. I bought a calendar and filled in all the important dates (birthdays, holidays, etc.) for a whole year and gave it to him. Here and there on different days I would put "Call mom!" or something like that. It worked pretty well and he appreciated it.
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