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What do you think of an adult daughter whose only excuse for not giving me a Christmas gift; BD gift; or Mother's day gift is "you're hard to buy for, I'll have to be creative"? She's going on 40 so you'd think by now she'd know what I like.
She has just texted to tell me about the expensive gifts her new husband had given her, but no mention of the ones I'd just given her and her son. I don't think this would bother me so much if it weren't for the fact that my BD will be in a few weeks; she sends a card, but it's always at least a week later.
In her other marriage money was the issue, but now that's not the case. I always felt sorry for her and the kids so I've always done way more than I should. It's hard to break the "care giver, enabler" mode, but I always forget the next Christmas or BD. I know someone is going to tell me I raised her this way and/or when giving a gift you should not expect one in return. You're all right, but non-the-less I'd still hurt.
By grossb954 from Lubbock, TX
I would spend/contribute to an individual in need, an animal rescue, your favorite charity or what strikes you. At birthday time after donation, send her a note that you donated to ------ in her name. If her son has no gratitude or shows any respect for you, I would do the same. Fill a Christmas stocking you fill with bits and pieces through the year for someone who has little, is alone, or needy. Put it on their doorstep in the night --anonymously. Believe me, you will get a beautiful warm feeling when you do a beautiful warm donation. That, sweet Mom, is priceless.
Stop sending her (and the grandchildren-when was the last time you got a thank-you from them?) gifts. Send a card (no money inside) but leave it at that. If she brings it up tell her the truth-it hurts when she forgets you on gift-giving occasions, and btw it also hurts that she consistently sends belated birthday greetings.
When she throws out that tired 'But it's the thought that counts!', counter with one word-"Precisely!" How do I know this? Raising an ungrateful child hurts. You didn't raise her to be that way but she is that way, and it hurts!
My daughter is 35, my son 30. Both of them did this to me. So when the shock of my "Precisely" hit them, they really tuned me out for a while. Which hurt even more but I figured that if all I was to them was a fount of gifts and money, then the heck with it. My son came around, the daughter still thinks I'm a monster. (Shrug. I'm over it. But it took a while.)
I used the money I would have used for them to take two Angels from the annual Salvation Army Angel Tree. (When my son finally came around I told him about the Angel Tree-he takes an Angel every year now, too.)
My son took over three years to get over the shock. We had a good long discussion about the issue-cleared up a lot of things he never talked to me about before including a lot of his behaviours after I divorced their father when he was 17.
I hope things work out for you and your daughter the way things have for me and my son. He tells me one of the reasons it was so easy to be that way towards me was because although I didn't raise him to be that, watching the way his father treated me (no gifts, no cards, no consideration, no respect) taught him to see me as something of a 'doormat' even though deep down inside he knew that was wrong. He watched my ex (and his family) treat me with disrespect, and when I continued to treat them with respect he thought I was stupid, frankly. While I didn't raise him that way, watching others did raise him that way.
So there might be something else going on with your daughter-she may have grown up seeing you walked all over as you treated others with respect that wasn't returned. There's not a lot you can do about it except to stop knocking yourself out for her, and hope one day she is ready to talk.
I'm praying for you. The most hurtful thing in parenting is thinking your kids don't care about you.
I have an adult child, grandchild, and another adult family member who have come to live with my husband and me. My adult child keeps her room (and grandchild's) like a disaster area. When everyone moved in I asked them to sign a social contract regarding cleaning, cooking etc.
It lasted for a while. I love having everyone here, we have a large home, but I also like having a neat, clean house without feeling like the Mess Sargent. My latest attempt was to buy wall storage units. Our house lacks closet space. But, I'm thinking there's more to it than that. How can I get an adult to be cleaner and neater?
By EasyLikeSunday from Philadelphia, PA
Maybe you can make a copy of that agreement they signed and enlarge it and tape it to the door of the room they enter that is so messy. Maybe that will remind them in a friendly way as to what they agreed to in order to stay there.
Also you mentioned cooking. Maybe you could make a chart Mon-Friday of what days it is a certain persons day to cook making sure you have the things on the chart available for them to easily reach it and prepare the meal. For instance Tues & Thurs that person's name is on the cook chart for the meal and have it say what the meal will be (for example spaghetti & salad) and post that weekly chart to both the fridge and the door of their living quarters and on those days do not cook a meal and if they do not cook it, they don't eat.
Pretty soon they will get the message of the reminder you are giving them that they have been slacking on in their promise given prior too. If they do get involved you could even let them suggest what meals they want to cook on their days. If your doing their laundry> same thing keep their dirty laundry in it's own bin and do not do it. Pretty soon all these hints will reach home to them. If the young child is old enough to participate, make them a chart with awards given as stickers etc. You could also take pictures of the messy room and post it to their door giving them yet another hint to start helping again.
I agree with Amuck (as usual) and would just close the door if I saw it open. I wouldn't try to "remake" an adult into something they're not. It's demeaning to tell adults how to behave even if they need to be told. I would, however, insist that the mess stay in their space, not in the common living area. If that happens to be the case I'd speak directly to them and let them know how it affects you. You don't mention having a problem with the rest of the agreement as regards to cooking, etc. With any concerns I'd vote for a direct conservation rather than leaving notes, etc. I certainly wouldn't go in their rooms and clean up. If it gets too upsetting you may have to let them know you've had guests as long as you can.
I had this challenge once with two older teenage children, and this is how I successfully handled it. I asked for an initial deposit (a significant sum they would not want to lose) if they wanted to stay, explaining I expected them to hold up to their responsibilities which they were not.
One child said he'd sleep in his van rather than submit to my blackmail. I said that that was OK with me. He could come in to eat, shower and answer the phone. Otherwise he was out in his van. After three days, he relented, and he never had to replace his deposit.
My daughter did have to replace her deposit once and once only. When they left, I gave them back their unused deposits. I did not want their money, just they keep their areas clean, period.
IF you are going to do this you need to be firm. If they want to live there, they have to respect the contract they signed.
What are some of the ways that you let your grown children feel loved, special and very much needed?
I give them hugs whenever I see them, walk with my arm around them & tell them how much I love them each time I send them an e-mail. I have 3 biologic children & a stepdaughter & each one has no doubt how strongly I feel about them. I think this is because I set the foundation when they were young!
I have a funny story: Long ago when my kids were much younger I asked each child in turn individually which child they thought I loved the most. My daughter (then 16) said "Cody, because he's the baby, the youngest" & Cody (then 8) said "Melissa because she's the only girl". I then asked my oldest, Michael (then 22) & he said "Me!" This just shows I didn't favor any one of them over another & I think that this is VERY important. In fact, I've learned from my mom. She is VERY careful that she ALWAYS gives my sister the same thing she gives me or something of similar value. She makes sure never to take sides & makes sure we know that she loves us both the same. It's so important to never favor one child or leave one child out!
I have a friend that has a mom who has always favored 2 of her 3 girls & this friend has always felt left out & unloved by her mother. She invited her mom to her newly purchased home & her mom couldn't make the time to come (but she will go to the other 2 girls houses) If her mom would just take her aside & tell her that she is special to her & loved this would heal her wounds. instead resentment has built up. This gal was our real estate agent when we sold our family house & she always remarked on how nice it was my mom didn't have favorites among her 2 children. But it's also my friends fault because she also should open communication & tell her mom how left out she feels. Communication is SO VERY IMPORTANT!
Also, stop by & see your kids whenever you can. Maybe take one at a time to lunch or take one child at a time garage-saleing son a Saturday. Call them once in a week or send them a quick e-mail that says "I'm thinking about you & I love you bunches!" You don't have to talk on the phone very long, just say "I was calling to say I love you!" Be supportive of their choices (even if you don't agree with them). You can say you'd do something differently, just let them fight their own battles & don't be nosey. Treat your grown children like you'd like to be treated!
My adult daughter lives 3 hours away, is a single mom and lives with her father. Her father and I divorced 19 years ago. She is 33 years old. We do not have a good relationship even though we speak regularly on the phone. Three weeks ago we had a disagreement and there has been no conversation since that day. We are also friends on Facebook.
What is bothering me is that she posted a photo of herself, her son, and her father with the caption, "What I am grateful for..." I saw that and felt hurt that she did not even mention me. I know that I am three hours away, but I am also in very bad health and cannot travel. I am still upset over seeing her post and I wondered why she could not have written a comment such as, " I am grateful for you too mom..." but she did not.
I feel like blocking her on FB. She never likes or comments on my posts anyway. I would like to know the best way to handle this. Please advise.
As a mom of adult children, I think it is up to the parent to make sure that the relationship with adult children stays congenial. If you want to make things worse, by all means, continue to feel hurt over her post, perhaps make a hurtful comment, and block her. If you wish to make up over the disagreement, give her a call and talk. Don't expect an apology for anything. Get over your hurt feelings and talk with your daughter. Refuse to be on the outs with her. Just forget about whatever it was that caused the disagreement. Phone with good news and happy comments. Avoid issues that led to the disagreement in the first place. Focus on what you have rather than what you don't have. Make no comment whatsoever about the FB post.
What wonderful advice from Louise!
I wish more people could read this as I feel sure there are many who could benefit from her suggestions on how to handle a situation like this.
Many years ago I had a similar "problem" and it certainly can make you "hurt" all over. I kept all the horrible emails for a while and then one day I decide to print them all and just hand them to her the next time we saw each other. I really thought this was a "good" idea and just wanted to see how she reacted as she would usually just act like everything was okay when we met.
Thank goodness I came to my senses and did not do this - I destroyed the letters and just worked on forgetting all the hurtful things that had been said or done. It was not easy but my health improved and our relationship improved - but - it took years before we became "friends" and now we are able to spend enjoyable times together.
It takes work and forgiveness but you will feel better and who knows - you may have a good relationship or maybe not but you will feel better for trying.
I need advice. I have raised my niece since she was 5 years old. She is the daughter of my heart. She is 32 years old, has two college degrees, and always has a job. She is in many ways a charming and delightful young woman, but she is in a very toxic relationship.
He is 30, but a very lazy man who has not worked in the 12 years they have been together. He doesn't help around the house, either. He is extremely controlling, and very mean. But she is very manipulative and an extreme drama queen. She will spend hours on the phone with me telling me how terrible he has been lately. She will reject any suggestion or advice, yet will demand suggestions, advice, and help. The next day she might tell me about something nice he did, and how good things have been lately.
If it wasn't for the fact that he is verbally abusive and treats her terribly right in front of me and others, I would doubt her word. She has lost friends who either decided that she was lying, or who got tired of it, or who said "I told you so" or "you must like it because you refuse to leave" and made her mad.
Well, after all these years, I have given her money, done many things to help, listened to her complain and cry for literally thousands of hours, and I find I am past my limit. I don't want to hear it anymore. She calls and instant messages me everyday, and he is the main topic. Some days it is hard for me to get anything done because she is monopolizing my time. If I tell her the truth, I am afraid of losing her. What do I do?
By Kiro from CA
I think I would try asking her to lunch, and telling her how much you love her and value the time you spend together, BUT that she is wearing you out. Tell her you have every faith in her ability to handle her relationship herself. Remind her that you have offered advice, which she chose not to follow, and that you just don't have any more (advice) to offer. Tell her you cannot spend all day on the telephone, and that you will only be available for calls from 5 to 5:30 pm (or whatever time you decide), unless it is a true emergency. Tell her you would like to meet for lunch (or coffee, or whatever) each week--or whatever time interval works for you.
She might be angry for a short while, but stand your ground. Remind her that you are not cutting her off, just limiting how much you have to listen to. Tell her it hurts you when she is hurting, (appeal to her selfish side) and you can't bear to hear it all the time.
THEN, you have to follow-through. Use caller ID or your answering machine to screen calls, and only answer her calls during your specified time. Be sure to tell her it is OK to leave a message, and you can call her back. (Again, unless it is an emergency, only call her during the designated time.)
Ignore texts, and if you are using other forms of instant messaging, set the default sign on to make it look like you are not on. (For example, on AIM, you become "invisible"; on FB, you can just turn the chat feature off.)
Keep reaching out to her; but set those limits and stick to them. She is an adult, employed, and intelligent; now it's time for her to put on her big girl panties and deal with her life.
I am under a lot of stress at my house right now. I have a son-in-law, his girlfriend and their 7 month old baby living here. They refuse to take any of my suggestions to heart in caring for the baby. It is driving me nuts and I am at my wits end. Any ideas on how to de-stress my life while they are here?
Liz from FL
I agree with everyone else, you need to keep your comments about the baby to yourself. I know it's hard because you care so much. So, every time you see something you don't agree with and you are tempted to tell them what to do, turn it into a game in your head and try to think of something kind to say. It can be about anything; a butterfly you saw outside the window or how much you appreciate the way they help you in the kitchen, etc.
The other alternative is to leave the room. Go to your room and read or get some fresh air outside or take up a new hobby so you'll have a project to work on. You need to DO something every time you are tempted to correct them. I hope this helps. I ache for you. Your frustration is normal, and as Dr. Laura says, "I can't fix normal!" Good luck and God bless you! -Lee in FL
Is it a parent's responsibility to tell their married sons or daughters about their finances or an insurance policy (will be paid out at the end of the year) that has paid out? Any suggestions or advice?
By Dorothy from SA
I don't think there is any "should" to this question. I know about my sons' finances because I do their taxes. I tell them some of the details about mine, mainly to illustrate what they might want to do, or to suggest saving strategies. However, my sons are still in their twenties and just beginning to set up RRSPs, get into home ownership, and so on. I don't think you have to tell them about this policy if you don't want to. If you are worried that they might hit you up for a loan or something, don't tell them.
On the other hand, my 81 year old mother gambles a lot, and I would like to know more about her finances than I do, just to be sure she is not making herself destitute. I am an only child, and she is a widow.
Every situation is different.
I have a very loving relationship with my adult son. However there are times when he distances himself from me for no apparent reason. He doesn't answer my calls or texts even after I've tried him several times. This makes my heart heavy. He lives in another state so the tendency to worry about him is always there. He is a responsible young man, but at the same time I find it irresponsible for him to not answer when I call. Can anyone help me to cut the apron strings even though it makes me sad.
Always remember that you will soon hear if there is anything wrong. No news is good news.
I rarely initiate contact with my adult daughters, waiting for them to call first, which they do when they have time and feel like chatting. Their work is more demanding than mine, because of our different stages in life.
Your son is likely to be very preoccupied with his work, rather than wanting to reject you.
I do not call my children unless there is an emergency. I can remember my 7th grade teacher telling us that she never questions her children and they talk her ears off. Well, I live my life like that too and believe me it works. If the child thinks you are not interested they will talk and talk and talk. Learn to be a great listener and not so much a talker. He will come around when he is ready. Besides, he will want to know why mom is not bugging him any longer.
I've so been there-done that! My 32yo is horrible about keeping in contact, and to be honest it does hurt. I am managing (sort-of:) by telling myself no news is good news, and he's busy with his rather demanding career.
I try not to email too often, once a week, and I keep it very light - 'Hi Son, just a quick note to say I'm fine and all's well here. Hope it's the same there.' Sometimes he replies (BONUS!!) and he does say he's terrible for not being better about keeping in touch but his job keeps him going and going and going...
I have friends in the city where he lives and they do keep me updated - I know if anything happened to him they would let me know straightaway and that's something of a comfort.
It's hardest at the holidays when he leaves it too late to send a greeting, but I did get a nice Mother's Day greeting this year!
I am not your son, so not sure why he distances himself. But there are times when I distance myself from my Mum. Not because I do not love her. But sometimes to protect her.
If I am not feeling well, stressed, tired or just plain cranky, I don't want Mum to see / hear me like this.
My Mum lives in another state of Australia & when I needed medical help, I thought it kinder not to tell her her too much, because of her age & the distance. She grew so worried you crossed the country anyhow.
Maybe there is nothing wrong with your son, other than he is a considerate, caring man, who doesn't have adult children to fret & worry over. I guess, only a parent can worry like a parent.
A parent I am sure has an intuition too, is there a part of your sons life he is coming to terms with, some part he feels you won't understand or condone?
Remind your son you love him & if you feel you can love him unconditionally remind him of that too. Say, darling I miss you, tell me everything.
All the very best for you both.
Nancy Reagan when she was having a problem with her daughter got some really good advice from her mother. She said: "Children come and children go but your husband will always be there."
It's hard to remember that when our hearts are aching to see or hear from them, or you don't have your husband anymore. Know that you are not alone.
Hi - you are in a difficult position (that many of us are now in or have been at one point) so any advice will only be from experience and may not fit your particular situation.
When one of my sons moved away years ago it was very difficult to adjust from seeing him everyday to almost no communication! I know I "bugged" him (calls and letters) but he told me one day that it would take him time to adjust also and he needed more "free" time. I learned to "bug" him less and he has adjusted (not as much as I would like!).
Another son married and communication was almost lost completely but after several years (of not bugging) he has adjusted also. Sometimes just time is needed??
Another son went in the Air Force, married, settled down in California and I hear from him about 2 - 4 times per year...
All I am saying is that children generally do their own "thing" and mothers sometimes just have to be the one to adjust to their schedule.
Try to slack off on calls especially as calls from "Mom" can sometimes be embarrassing and will be ignored (sometimes more & more!).
Please try not to make him feel guilty about not taking your calls or answering your emails as that may tend to drive him away even more.
I'm needing help to find a support group or someone to talk to that is going thru the same thing that I am going thru at this time. I just lost my daughter (29) in April. She had just given birth a week earlier to a girl, and she left behind, 2 other girls ages 5 and 11 and a husband that is struggling.
I need someone to talk to/or write to that may be going thru something similar or who has gone thru it. I'm in desperate need.
Please anything that you can share with me would be deeply appreciated.
Thanks again readers.
By Teresa C. from VA
I found a few other grief organizations that are recommended by the New England Organ Bank:
Alive Alone: www.alivealone.org; an organization which benefits bereaved parents whose only child or all children are deceased.
Bereaved Parents of the USA: www.bereavedparentsusa.org; an organization that offers support, compassion, and hope to bereaved parents, grandparents, and siblings.
One Bright Star: www.onebrightstart.org; offering resources and support for families who have experienced the death of a child.
For your grandchildren:
The Douggy Center for Grieving Children: www.dougy.org; 866-775-5683
an organization which provides loving support in a safe place where children, teens, and young adults and their families grieving a death can share their experiences as they move through the healing process. They have a National Center for Grieving Children and Families, too.
"When a Parent Dies" advice from Hospice: http://www.hosp html/parent.html
"Helping Children Cope with Grief and Loss": http://www.nasp ety/griefwar.pdf
Mister Rogers Websitewww.misterrogers.org See booklet, Grieving for Children, for ages 4-10.
My heart goes out to you and your family. I hope you know a lot of people are thinking about you all. :)
How can I show my daughter I support her? She just graduated from high school and I have been offering suggestions and giving her advice about her career because she is undecided what she wants to do at this point, go to college or work.
I am only trying to help, but she says I am too negative and not supportive. I am not trying to be negative just trying to give her a little advice about the pros and cons of her choices. Can you experienced mothers help with suggestions as I do not want to be a hindrance to her, I just want to help her. Any advice would be appreciated.
Onesummer I have been there and I advice you to do what I did. Just give up and let her decide. That's all you can do and really it will make her a better person. That way if she makes a mistake it was her chosen and she can't blame anyone but herself and if she picks right then she will be very happy. If she wants to talk just be there for her and listen. If she ask for your opinion give it, if not then just listen. I know it is hard but we have to let them learn on their own.
My daughter called to tell me she has left her husband of 19 years. She did not mention divorce, but tells me she will not go back. They have a 16 year old son who has mental problems and has been in and out of hospitals for several years. The toll it's taken on the both of them has broken up the marriage and I'm heartbroken.
In the 19 years they have been married, I can probably count on one hand how many times they have been alone to work on their relationship. I haven't been able to help much because I live 400 miles away. They have not been able to go anywhere as a family because of their son. They also have a 10 year old son and can't leave the two boys together, so my daughter and her husband can spend time alone. The 16 year old is verbally and physically abuse to his parents and to my 10 year grandson. Now my daughter tells me that she and her husband have grown apart and never spend anytime together.
Both of my kids were verbally abused by their father and my daughter is is no condition mentally or financially to take the 10 year old with her and I'm worried sick for him. To make matters worse, I'm close to my son-in-law and I'm worried about him too because it's been hard on him too.
The 16 year old threatens my daughter more so than his father. My daughter says she can no longer live this way. For years, the father worked long hours and my daughter has taken more than she can handle. The father seems to be able to handle the 16 year old without having a mental breakdown, but my daughter can't. I'm worried about her taking her own life because she feels so guilty about leaving her kids. She says she won't, but now she in in a hotel room alone and I'm worried sick. Any of my frugal friends that can comfort me I will sure be glad to hear from you. I don't have a friend that truly understands.
By Betty from Lubbock, TX
Please don't "own" this. Your daughter and husband are adults. If they ask for your help-offer what you can but don't blame yourself. I assume the older mentally ill child is receiving some sort of therapy, special ed or out-patient care-your daughter should seek some resources from these sources.
If the younger child or your daughter is at risk of injury from the ill boy, they need to get out. A 16 year old is essentially an adult and can cause serious physical, not to mention emotional damage.
As for the marriage, a couple who ants to save their marriage will take steps to do so. Not all marriages are salvageable, especially one that has been dysfunctional for a very long time, but if your family wanted to try, they would/could have done so. "No time" is an excuse.
Please don't be co-dependent in this situation. Offer support if you can and care to, but don't let it destroy you.
My step-daughter is 32. She does not live with me and my wife and does not have a job or partner. She calls my wife 10-15 times a day and always ends the conversation by saying 'I love you' to my wife. Is this normal?
My adult daughter has been going in a downhill spiral for a long time now. She has been in a loveless marriage for at least ten years. She has been in and out of alcohol treatment for at least that long. She has had several jobs and has been let go from the last three due to her alcoholism. I am so disappointed in how her life has turned out.
She has three children ages 15, 13, and 10. She is not really concerned about them. She recently filed for divorce and lost her job. She is not financially able to take care of herself so I don't know what she is going to do. She has had numerous affairs during her marriage and her husband has remained married to her. The last time I talked to her, I told her how disappointed I was with her lack of caring about her children and the life she is living.
She hasn't talked to me in three weeks. I don't think I should call her and apologize, but I feel so bad because she is my daughter and I love her. She was married in 1995 so she would have been married 20 years in June. She went to counseling several times and of course, they said we were toxic to her. She has told people that we were abusive, but we raised two other children and they turned out just fine.
She is our oldest and when she was at home, we walked on eggshells because it seemed she was always angry or upset about something. My other two kids were easy going and happy go lucky, but she was always different. My husband and I have always had a good marriage and showed that openly to our children. She is just not a very loving person and I don't know why. I love her and miss her, but don't know what to do. Please help.
By Jackie K
I could use a bit of help. My son is 35. He is spending Christmas with his wife's family which is only right, we take turn. He is demanding that I hand over the Christmas gifts for the children as they are not allowed to open them before. We wanted to have a small Christmas party for them so they can open the presents with us, and then give them something small to open of Christmas day. He is a very argumentative person and can become very abusive mentally, towards me.
By mother christmas