When Your Adult Child Becomes Abusive


If your adult child or children were anyone else on this planet, would you allow them the leeway that you are giving to your abusive child or children?

Tough question to answer, isn’t it?  Part of that is because we have that “bond” with our child or children as a parent that supersedes any other relationship that we can have or have had in our lives.  Love is blind as they say so, we often blindfold ourselves to the three dimensional view of our child or children.  We can see glimpses of their flaws and faults but, that’s as much as our guilt will allow us to see.  It’s nearly impossible for us to be as fully objective about our own child or children as we may be able to be with other people.

The word “guilt” was used for good reason. As parents, not only does the love we have for them become overwhelming and blinding but, we tend to tie our own self-worth into our child or children.  The moment we dive deeply into being critical of our own flesh and blood that we brought into this world or even adopted from someone else’s womb, we tie ourselves to that child or children in a way that we cannot tie ourselves to anyone else on this planet.  A put-down of our child even from our own minds and whether we gave birth to them or not, is oftentimes, felt as a put-down upon ourselves as both parents as well as who we are in general as people.  If our child or children are not doing well in life or is somehow “flawed”, we can unconsciously or even consciously, figure that it’s our faults.  We can leap to the conclusion that somehow, we have failed as parents and therefore we are also flawed as people in one way or another.

Not everyone will completely blame themselves for their child’s failures in Life.  Some parents will be able to see that our children have made choices in friends or groups that they’ve chosen to hang around and blame them instead of ourselves.  However, somewhere, deep down inside of us, there’s still a feeling of somehow being imperfect as a parent because our child or children have made those choices whether we’ve discouraged it or outright forbidden it or not. On some level or another, we feel “guilt” in one capacity or another and can tear ourselves to shreds as both parents as well as people.

This then leads us back to the question of whether or not we would allow any other human being to treat us the way that we allow our adult children to treat us.

First of all, were someone else to be treating us with any level ranging from disrespect to outright abuse, we’d likely toss those people from our lives to some extent or another, for some time frame or another or, more likely, until there was at least a sincere apology from that person.  If it was a long-termed thing, we’d likely walk away and not look back.   With family, it’s not quite that easy.  We can even find ourselves being victims as adults to poor treatment from our own parents and siblings out of a feeling of obligation and duty.  However, having said that, we can also come to a point where we begin to distance ourselves either somewhat or totally from them and their abusive or manipulative ways.  Friends or others in our lives are even more likely to be walked away from under these circumstances.  Our children are not quite as easy to distance ourselves from because of the above and for other reasons.

There is likely few people that we put more of ourselves into than we do with our child or children.  Even as adults, we are still invested in many ways in our children’s lives and well-being.  After all, isn’t that our job?  At least, that’s what we may reason with ourselves but, the answer to that is a resounding “no” once our children become adults and, we don’t need to continue to allow them to use, abuse or treat us poorly once they have become adults.  Our “jobs” are done.  We gave birth to them, loved them, raised them, gave them what we could reasonably give them and we supported them in more than a roof over their heads.  There are exceptions of course in the parenting world to this but, we’re talking about the average parent here, not those who were abusive to their own children or neglectful in any way.

There are a few things to take into consideration in how parents can deal with their adult-abusive or even estranged child (a topic that not many sites will deal with).

Your influence over your adult child was watered down many years ago.

We all like to think that we still have some sort of power or control over our children’s lives once they are adults.  For some, this is true but, for the most part, our influences over our child, all of our teachings, morals and values that we feel we’ve instilled into them, was long ago watered down by the influences of many other people in our children’s lives as they grow.  We are no longer their sole source of influence.  Peers, bosses, teachers and society in general, also including technology as well as entertainment venues, have taken over the largest portion of what affects them or doesn’t affect them once they are adults and have been doing so for many years before this point.  Oftentimes, those sources are the biggest reasons for their actions, decisions or choices at this stage of their lives versus us, as parents.  We therefore, cannot continue to place blame upon ourselves for everything that our children decide to do or not do.  Those choices were influenced by many other sources and we are the least likely sources at this point in our children’s choices or lack of them so, we can halt the self-deprecating right there for their poor choices or in taking the blame for the way they treat us now.

Having given your child too much attention or in short, spoiling them.

A lot of parents from the 1980’s onwards are likely guilty of having given their child everything they could possibly give them including monetary things as well as attention, devotion, praise and love.  Parents of children from the 80’s onwards were also victims to a new way of thinking about parenting. Society was at a point where the theory was to reward children for almost everything that they did, including potty training.  They got stars, praise and even rewards or trophies for simply participating no matter how well they did or whether they did anything or not.  They simply had to show up more than half of the time in order to get a reward of some type or another.  Even education was play based and grades were given out according to effort, not necessarily, achievement.

This was a time frame in which parents were also encouraged to praise our children to the hilt for even small endeavours in the home and, it was done by most.  Support, praise, rewards and more of the same.  No matter what children did or didn’t do in those times, they were rewarded for one thing or another.  Not only did that lead us to believe that our children could do no wrong but, it led them to feeling “entitled” to getting rewarded in one way or another no matter what they did or didn’t do.  It was that entitlement that turned a fairly good chunk of those children into little narcissists who believed that the sun rose and set on them no matter what they did or didn’t do.  That wasn’t just parental influence but, also that of society in general.  Even were children to be disciplined at home, they were rewarded for even poor attitudes and skills outside of the home. Parents couldn’t override an entire system and if they tried, the parents became “The Hated Ones” because the rest of society and its systems were telling these children that they were “entitled”.   We did them no favours as human beings because it made it tougher for these kids to grow up into a tough, dog-eat-dog world where they weren’t able to cope well because everything had been handed to them up until this point.  That wasn’t necessarily parent’s faults but rather societal experimentation that failed these children and turned them into narcissistic tending little monsters who eventually, would grow up into adults who felt entitled and angry when they didn’t get what they wanted anymore from Life or their parents.

The “experts” are still saying that parents should tell their children they are loved no matter how badly they’ve treated us or, even if they have walked away on us and are now estranged from us.

Not to put down the so-called “experts” but, how many parents have tried with their children, always telling them that they are loved, only to find themselves being either doormats or punching bags for their children?

Answer:  Lots!

Sadly, many parents of children from the ’80s onwards are now finding their either fully adult or nearly adult children, treating them like yesterday’s garbage and being tossed to the side while they’re still telling their child, “I love you” and continuing to do so no matter how badly they are treated by their children.

Far be it from me to tell parents to not tell their children that they are loved and wanted.  Every parent needs to let their children know that much but, when that child not only disrespects that parent but, treats them poorly, it’s time to give up on the loving words and time to get real with their adult children by letting them know that while they are still loved, their attitudes and abusive, using actions will not be tolerated.  Enough already with sending them messages of “I love you” and leaving it there while rolling with the punches.  These are no longer 10 year old children who can’t understand the meanings of their actions fully.  These are fully grown adults who must learn that for every action, there’s an equal or greater reaction.  That doesn’t mean withdrawing love for them however, it does mean that these adults don’t get to treat their parents poorly and still get the benefits that they would if they were treating their parents with respect and love too.  Poor actions get poor reactions.  Withdrawal of love for them is never a solution but, rewarding them by permitting poor treatment is not the answer.  They need a wake-up call for their sakes as well as the parent’s own well-being.

If you wouldn’t let others treat you this way and would walk away from them, why are you letting your child do this to you?  

As has been said throughout this piece in differing ways, rewarding poor behaviour is akin to a form of abuse from parents.  We are not doing them any good by rewarding our children for their poor treatment of us or by putting up with it and giving them more and more of ourselves.  Life doesn’t work that way so, why should we?

When a child is rewarded for poor behaviour, attitudes, actions, choices or decisions, it re-inforces that behaviour within them.  No, they won’t like being said “no” to nor, will they love the idea that they’re not getting their own way or what they want if we do start to stand up to them as adults and let them know that it’s not ok to treat us in a poor manner.  However, continuing to give them what they want, expect or feel entitled to getting, is only bolstering the idea that poor behaviour, temper tantrums, threats of withdrawal from our lives and whatever else they can throw at us to manipulate us into giving them what they want is simply training them to continue treating us as parents, wrongly, poorly and with disregard as well as disrespect.

Let me say something perfectly clear here.

Giving more of yourself and handing everything to someone who is treating us badly, let alone our children, is a recipe for becoming a “doormat” for others.  In short, we are laying ourselves down on the ground and letting people walk on and wipe their feet on us.  That’s not right.  We are people too and it doesn’t matter who they are to us.  

Sadly, sometimes, we have to let them go and hope that they will eventually come back otherwise, we risk our lives becoming infected with toxicity.  

There’s no bigger health threat than having someone we love, treat us like dirt beneath their feet and making us feel like we don’t matter in this life.  That goes for our adult children.  We all need to feel wanted, loved, respected and treated fairly and well.  We deserve that from others especially, the very children that we lovingly raised to the adult level and oftentimes, sacrificed more than a good night’s sleep for.  Many parents can tell stories of having given up great careers, being able to travel or do things that they, themselves wanted to do for themselves that would have made them happy, in order to give everything to their child or children, leaving themselves unhappy, unfulfilled and only to be treated in an abusive, uncaring manner or worse, have that child or children walk out of their lives, without contact, care or concern for their parent(s) and their well-being.

More to the point, those children have become what one can consider a “toxin” to the parent, making them feel as though they’ve wasted those years of their lives on someone who cannot or more to the point, return that love, care or respect to their parents.  Not only that but, it wears on the parent’s psychological well-being and soon after, their physical health.  It’s a vicious cycle especially, when the parent continues to feel as though they simply need to do more, try harder, give more or plead with that child to keep their love or the adult child in their lives.  It’s akin to a dog or cat, chasing their own tails.  It’s a fruitless exercise in not only futility but in a form of an illness of one sort or another.  It won’t change your child and sometimes, the only way to make one person’s lives healthier, is for the parent to either distance themselves, limit their time or exposure to that child’s ill behaviour and treatment or, to completely walk away if the child doesn’t do it for themselves.

Yes, that all sounds counter-intuitive to what we feel or have been taught to think of as “proper parenting” but, this all leads back to the original question….

If this were anyone else in your life, would you continue to let that person abuse or mistreat you?

If your answer is “yes” then you, yourself need to find some counselling because you’re not valuing yourself as a person and instead, are valuing others above yourself.

If you answered “no” to this question then, why are you allowing and encouraging your adult child to continue to do it to you?

From my little corner of life, while this is a longer piece than I usually write, it’s an under said topic that needs addressing more and more fully.  We’ve turned out a couple of generations of children now, both adult and children who need to learn that you aren’t rewarded for treating others poorly.  There are consequences to their behaviours and reactions to their actions of equal or greater proportion.

Be well and let me know what you are dealing with in the comments, please.

Best wishes from one parent to another or to adult children who might be reading this and recognizing what may be happening in their own relationships with their parents.





I Wrote My Daughter An Apology But Is It Enough?

writing an email


I wrote an email  to my adult-daughter today.  It is sad that I cannot communicate with her in any other way after over 7 months of her estrangement from her father and I but, it was the only way that I can now communicate with her.  Even then, I am not sure that she will get it or read it but, again…there seems to be no other way as she will not pick up the phone when I call or respond to voicemail messages.

This is not the first “walk-off” that she’s pulled on us.  Actually, this is the third time and each time that she’s done this, it’s become harder and harder to hold back emotions and think rationally.  Part of me wants to scream, grab her by the shoulders and shake some sense into her while the other part keeps telling me that I must remain logical, rational and thinking versus being the angry, hurt, emotional wreck that I am.

All of this seems to have come about because of an extremely messed up man that she’s chosen to live with.  Her lifestyle is that of a teenager, living in a Frat house, smoking weed, living from paycheque to paycheque.  He has no drive nor ambition to get ahead in life or better their situation.  He talks a good game but, his actions are more telling.  There are none.  His motives are clear to see through as he has systematically worked on her mind to isolate her from everything and everyone who may threaten the safety of his control and relationship with her.  Gone are all of her friends and her family.  He barely works and when he does, it’s in a job that was created by his father who is now elderly and in his late, golden years.  This man sees his family when he does work because it’s a family business but, he has managed to get himself kicked out of his own family’s gatherings over not being able to smoke weed while in the company of family friends, in a dedicated smoking area.  Neither of them have family events that they will attend or can attend now.  Yet, they say weed is non-addictive.  Perhaps, that is so but, he has certainly proven that one can become dependent upon it.

Our daughter was raised quite differently than I was raised.  Having come from a family, riddled with alcoholism, I made a decision to never put her through the horrors of living with substance abuse and all that comes with it.  I got myself for counselling the moment I left the house and continued with therapy long after many of my family had died from alcohol related issues.  In short, I gave her everything that I couldn’t and didn’t get during my childhood and teenaged years of life.  She received love, support, praise, ego-boosting, self-esteem building and every advantage that we could afford to give to her so that she would have a great start in life.  It back-fired on us with the inclusion of a messed up, drug dependent jerk who worked on whatever he could to convince her that she belonged with him.

Today’s letter was one of “apology”.  I apologized on her father’s and my behalf (with my husband’s blessings).  We explained why we gave her so much and how it likely caused her to have issues with facing “the real world”.  She was handed everything we could afford to give her materialistically was well as emotionally.  It was probable that she had to face the realities of the harshnesses of a “cold world” unprepared because no one else would see her as we did and, how hard we figured it must have been on her to have dealt with the stark differences she must have faced.  I also explained that we still love her and that we wanted her in our lives but, that she also must understand that we are people too and we have boundaries which we should have set up much more strongly a long time ago.  We did her no favours by sheltering her from harshnesses.

It’s likely that she will allow The Jerk to read this email and it’s extremely likely that both of them will twist and turn the sincerity of those words that were written into some seething plot to control her or whatever else the two of them can cook up while smoking up.  I have little doubt that our thoughts and words will have the opposite meaning than we meant by the time The Jerk and she finish discussing it all and, we’ll still be back at Square One and without her in our lives.

Frankly, this was one last desperate attempt at letting our daughter know that she is loved, wanted and that we’ve been working on trying to find a way to deal with her choices but, also let her know that she cannot expect that we will always be able to support her decisions or lack of them.  It was also a last ditch attempt at letting her know that we know we weren’t “perfect parents” by any means of the word but, we tried and where we think we may have failed and why.  Should this email fail to convince her that we are sincere and still love her, making her re-think her stances and choices…I am done.  There is nothing more for either of us to say or do after this and it will have to be faced that we no longer have a daughter as part of our lives.  As a matter of fact, she is our only child so, we will have to accept the idea that we have no children in our lives.  That is beyond all comprehension for me as we both wanted children but, were only blessed with the one.

So, as she sits in the tiny, cramped apartment that is falling down around their ears, smoking hundreds of dollars worth of weed every month, debt up past their earlobes, him barely working, credit rating so bad that they cannot even get a lease on another apartment, her sleeping on a couch because he’s eating and snoring all night after his smoking-up all day, I can only hope that something, somehow, somewhere, clicks into her mind and she wakes up to what her choices have brought her from and led her towards.  I can only hope that all of those years of raising her the best way that we knew how and with all of the love, time, effort and energy that we put into her and her future will be remembered.  I can only have faith that the love we have given her, shown her and instilled with her, are still there.  There is no other thing to hope for than the idea that she still has enough love for us to not allow a totally messed up individual throw away over 3 decades of her life and all that went with it.  If she allows that to happen…sadly….she is lost and there is no choice but to give up on trying with her.  There’s only so much blood that one can swallow and only so many tears one can shed before reality has to set in.  That reality is that she is “gone/lost”.

My 60th birthday will creep up in July of this year (2016) and it’s as likely that I won’t have her around to celebrate it with me as it that she won’t be around.  I’ve seen 3 therapists who have tried to give me helpful suggestions.  I’ve tried them all and more.  As one of them has wisely said, “don’t give up hope”.  I am all but out of hope and this was my last try at hanging onto it.

From my little corner of life, I am trying to hang onto hope but, be a realist as well.  I cannot allow myself to be taken down totally.  I fought far too hard to allow what I’ve worked so hard to gain within myself, healing the scars left behind in myself from my own childhood and trying to live a life that is fruit-filled and productive to let it all slip away to a jerk and weed.  I will not allow either to take that from me.  I know what I’ve done, how hard I fought and how far I came.  Equally, I know that I was and am a Good Parent.  They cannot take those thoughts from me but, I struggle in hanging onto “hope” now.



Are The Gen Xers Partially To Blame For The Millennial Generation’s Issues


Having finished listening to a whack of Ted Talk Youtube videos on “The Millennials” and why they are the way that they are, I’m exhausted.

In case you’re not familiar with the term “Millennials”, they are the generation of kids who were born from (some say) 1981 to 2000 or (in other cases) 1980 to the 1990’s.  It varies, depending upon where you get your information.  However, suffice to say, the “Gen Xer’s” or those born before 1960 and post WWII…are their parents and apparently, to blame for what bashing they have taken over their “ill actions” and “attitudes”.

Here comes the terms that Millennials hate the most, “entitled, lazy, narcissistic and self-centered”.   These are the labels that Millennials have been given in a widespread fashion or generality and Millennials hate them.

Only one question here, “who wouldn’t hate them?”

Well, as it turns out, a lot of the Millennials do portray tendencies towards narcissistic behaviours and attitudes.  They don’t like working jobs that they feel are “beneath them” as they “went to university and were FORCED to do so”.  They have respect but, for a lot of them, they respect themselves more than anyone else on this planet, including the Gen Xers/Baby Boomer parents who raised them, gave them love and care, housed and fed them and may still be doing so as well as sacrificed their own needs in order to send them off to college/universities all over the planet if they wanted to go.  We’re also the ones who bought them cars, cell phones and didn’t push them to get jobs flipping hamburgers or scrubbing down toilets to make any money that they could.  We did those types of jobs to help out our parents and they sucked.  Why make our precious children do that when we can grab another mortgage or work 2 jobs or go way beyond our retirement years to pay back the debt we got ourselves into for them so that they wouldn’t have to do those types of jobs?

Let’s not get too ahead by patting ourselves on the back just yet though.

Gen Xers/Baby Boomers ARE partially at fault for our children’s mental and emotional situations right now.  If we have narcissists on our hands who aren’t working and may be still living at home with us, it is our faults in a sense.  We raised them.  We taught them to be like this.  How can they help it?  It’s what we taught them to be.

Scratching your head yet?  Wondering where I am coming from?

First of all, we were the generation who decided that we weren’t going to be able to live “Leave It To Beaver” lives where June Cleaver stayed at home and cleaned house, cooked and served dinner in dresses, pearls and heels with a tiny, crisp white apron on.  We were the generation who had been part of a Women’s Liberation movement in one way or another and damn it….we were going to work too so that our generation could afford more than our parent’s generations could.  We were going to give our kids more than what we had and screw it…we were going to give our children a sense of self with esteem coming out their flipping little ears.

We read books on how to raise children.  Hell, we could have given birth to our own children if we’d wanted to through classes, books and instructional videos (albeit, VHS versions if we were lucky) on how to give birth.  We were determined to be THE best parents the world had ever seen from conception through until we ourselves, needed diapers in our old age.  Our children would never have to go without or hurt if we could help it.  The “Experts” all told us how to do this, right?

From Lamaze Class, back to work to raising a teenager who we scrimped and saved to send to college or university, we were parents and we did everything we could to make our kids happy and have a sense of self-esteem.  Gone were the days when people had to stay in marriages because the woman couldn’t afford to take their children and leave but, most of us stayed in our marriages because…we wanted a unified and balanced home life for our precious Millennial children….the next generation of well-adjusted, self-reliant, well educated, most privileged children we could possibly raise, even if it killed us doing so.

It was the Gen Xers/Baby Boomer generation who decided that giving children trophies, badges or some other reward for simply showing up or putting any effort into what they did was appropriate.  It was our generation who decided that “team participation was more important than winning” and gave them rewards for even being on a team of any kind.  Every kid made it into something, good, bad or indifferent.  Every child who tried, was recognized in a good way.  Every child’s self-esteem was boosted so that nothing was ever “wrong”.  At worst, it was a “good attempt but, try something else” type of stance.

Laws were changed so that youths were no longer punished as adults and that still stands in a lot of countries.  Schools adopted the “no touch or hands-off” approach and teachers were no longer even able to restrain an out of control child as that involved “touching”.  Principles called teachers into offices with parents there to crucify the teacher’s admonishment to little “Billy or Sue” because the teacher’s words “hurt their feelings and put them into a grave emotional state”.

“It’s unfair to our children,” we screamed at every turn of a corner and every chance we got to stand up for them while they played cruder versions of video games at home, on the couches (and we wonder why we have overweight issues with children now).

We sacrificed to buy them everything we could possibly afford to give them including cars, electronics, video games, and never pushed them.  Hell, we even pushed to have special help at school for them so that they wouldn’t feel left behind in any way.  If that wasn’t enough, our generation decided that every child should be pushed ahead a grade no matter what their grades so that they could be socially on par with the rest of their peer group and friends.

In short, it didn’t matter what the Millennials did or didn’t do, Mom and Dad as well as Society, were all behind them.  They couldn’t fail or do much “wrong”.

Is it any wonder that there’s an entire generation of kids, running around this world today who feel entitled to being handed everything?  Is it of any question that we have kids who feel that The Universe revolves or, should…around them and their wishes, needs and egos?  Furthermore, is it any real mystery why this generation had social issues where they’d back-stab one another if needed to get what they wanted?

These kids are now in their late teens/early 20’s through to their 30’s and we’re actually still bowing down to them because they demand it.  They’re unwilling to work jobs that are beneath their level of education and they blame us because we “forced them to go to university/college”.  They expect White Collar jobs because they trained for that, not blue collar work for the most part.  Those who are still able to get Blue Collar jobs are those who went into trades and they expect an extraordinary salary or they won’t work either.

Worse than anything, these kids have egos the size of a city block or bigger.  With heads stuck in cell phones and computers, on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and every other conceivable social media, they complain about the world and their lives.  They have zero respect for the most part for anyone else and boy are they opinionated!  They know it all.  We can’t tell them a thing.  As a matter of fact, the only thing they want us to tell them is that it’s ok to still stay living with us, well into their 30’s or more and what time dinner will be on the table for them so that they can get out with other Millennials who are doing the same things.

I digress though.  They are spoiled.  That’s the bottom line here.  We taught them to respect themselves more than anything or anyone else on this planet, including us.  We gave them everything and every benefit of the doubt and now, they feel entitled to everything or they will find something or someone else to blame for their lack of ability to deal with Life.  The sad thing is, they are right.  We ARE to blame.  We created little narcissistic monsters for the most part and it’s not easy to get them out of this state of thinking and being.

They are now adults or, at least, most of them are at this point in time.  They are old enough to understand a lot more than what we believe they should comprehend.  They are still our children…even if they are adults.  We still have the ability to teach them that we and Society aren’t always going to serve them everything on a silver platter or give them a trophy for getting up in the morning.  They are going to have to pick themselves up, dust their asses off and get moving in Life.  No…it’s not easy.  No…it’s not what they have been used to but, damn it…the world has changed and so must they change to suit it, not the other way around.

As a Gen Xer/Baby Boomer parent with an estranged Millennial-Adult-Child who blames everything and everyone, including her father and I for all of the woes in her life no matter what choices she’s made or not made, I have seen the damage that’s been done and I have taken a stance in changing that by no longer tolerating abuse nor in handing everything to her.  Her temper tantrums no longer work on us.  Her blame no longer works on us.  We may not see her or hear from her but, it’s much like taking someone from a cushy sofa and throwing them outside the door, into the world and saying, “someone’s got to teach you that you can’t keep on living this way!”  The soft approach hasn’t worked.  She’s a much stronger narcissistic, entitled, monster than we thought and it’s partially our fault.

Fix what we created if we can..at least….that’s the way that I’m seeing things from my little corner of life.

What are your thoughts on this matter?  Comment!  I’m listening.



Teaching Your Child To Respect You…Even When Grown Up


It’s unavoidable given that my grown daughter has nothing to do with me, to see parents and children with loving gestures towards one another and not say to myself, “you wait…one day, all that you’re doing for your child is going to backfire and that child will leave you by the wayside.”  Of course, that’s not true for most parents.  However, for a handful of us, we are in that situation in spite of our best efforts.

I’ll be the first to admit that not only was I doing back-flips for my daughter as she grew up, sacrificing a lot of things for her but, I was afraid of upsetting her by not giving into whatever she wanted and needed or I thought she might need to be happy. Oftentimes, she didn’t have to ask as I was already doing it for her.  I hated seeing her upset and crying or in discomfort of any kind.  Part of that came from my own childhood where not only was I abused, vowing to never treat my child the way that I was treated but, also from being trained to keep people “happy” to hold onto their approval or stop World War III from breaking out.  It was a survival mechanism that I had subconsciously learned and carried forward into raising my daughter and I did keep her happy and growing up well in every conceivable way.  As a matter of fact, my home became “The Haven” for her friends when they had problems with their own families.  I was there for all of them because I didn’t want to see anyone feeling pain of any kind having known what it was like to be in horrid discomfort throughout my own childhood.

Had I known then, what I know now, I would have done things a lot differently because there’s such a thing as doing too much for others and it backfires on you.

While most parents will agree with the idea that we love our children so much, we’d give our lives for them to have theirs, it’s not healthy for us to give up who we are as people nor our lives (meaning lifestyles) completely for them or anyone else for that matter.  Nor, need we “please them” in every conceivable way in order to be loved.  Fact of the matter is, they can easily dump us after taking from us while we’re pleasing them because they feel entitled or owed whatever they can take or get from us.  After all, we’ve trained them into thinking and behaving that way.  We’ve done them and ourselves no favours.

If I could go back in time and re-do things, there are a number of things that I would do differently, knowing what I know now.

  1. Give your child responsibilities.  No matter what else everyone needs to learn that life has responsibilities and being a child makes no difference.  Of course, what responsibilities a child has changes with age and abilities but, there’s always something children can do that gives them the idea that life is not a free ride.  Even a toddler can be taught to put their toys into a bin and made a game in doing it.  A school aged child should be expected to get homework done and perhaps, help with taking out the garbage or clearing the salt and pepper off the table or, setting the table.  Older children can help prepare dinner in some way or vacuum the living room once a week.  As the child grows old enough, doing their own laundry or preparing a meal while you set the table and clear it off can be done.  Making their own beds even if it isn’t done to your standards but they’ve put the effort into trying is another.  There’s a list as long as our arms that can be given to a child but, they need to learn responsibility for not just themselves but for the good of everyone around them and being part of a family.
  2. Don’t hand your child everything.  Let them either make-do without some things or find a way to get it or do it for themselves.  Having everything done for you and handed to you is a sure fire way for children to get the idea that they are somehow entitled to everything being handed to them.  Handing them everything sets up two sets of thought processes in them.  Firstly, they feel that sense of ease where everything they want simply lands in their laps.  Last time I checked, none of us are Santa Clause 365 days a year and, it’s not healthy to get everything we want.  We all know life doesn’t have a magic lamp of wishes or a fairy godmother that grants all of our wishes. Why should children come to think of life in those terms.  We’re doing them no favours because in the real world we all know it doesn’t operate that way.  Secondly, it sets up a lazy attitude where they come to expect that they needn’t expend any energy but will get what they want so, put their energy into themselves.  A child who has no real need to expend any energy while being handed everything on a silver platter constantly, becomes “me centered”.  They can come to believe that the world owes them everything and the only thing that they need to focus on is…themselves.
  3. Put up boundaries that they cannot cross with you and others.  If a child isn’t given boundaries with you, they will expect that the sky is the limit.  They will treat you as you have trained them to treat you.  In other words, let them know that it’s not ok to disrespect you and your home or rules.  Some things can be bent from time to time but, consistency is key here.  Figure out where you end and they begin and let them know that you have definite rules and personal boundaries that neither you nor they can cross.  For instance, your child expects dinner on the table by a certain time so that they can jump up and go out with their friends.  If that isn’t your time for dinner or you’re busy with other things, they have 2 choices.  They can either help to get dinner started (if old enough and capable enough) or, they can wait.  One way or the other, dinner is part of their day with you (if that’s what you’ve set up and can do it) so, there’s no getting out of that because they want to get out with friends.  Let them know that you have a life too and expectations of them or from them and you’re only human.  You are not their maid, cook butler and chief bottle washer.  If they are impertinent with you, there’s always their rooms and no friends for that night and perhaps, a few more.  Again, there are so many scenarios that can come up, you’ll have to decide where your own personal boundaries lay but, set some.
  4. Treat you with respect! Did I say that loud enough?  I’ll repeat it again to be sure.  Your child needs to learn to treat you, your authority and others with respect.  Don’t let your child talk back to you in a disrespectful manner.  If you do, they will keep right on doing it and have even less respect for you as time goes on.  Remember that if you wouldn’t allow others to treat you with disrespect, why should your child have that ability? Why would you accept that type of treatment from them if you wouldn’t allow it from the majority of people around you in your life?  Once they get into that habit, they are learning that it’s ok to treat you that way.  You are teaching them how to do it and it will continue or get worse.  Stand up for yourself and place a firm disallowance on that type of behaviour with your child from early on.  If they’re already older, it’s harder to break but, even if it means that they’re not going to see you or speak to you, it’s never too late to stand up and let them know that it’s not ok to continue treating you that way.  Older children will balk and perhaps, pull at the guilt strings or perhaps, walk away but the alternative of letting them continue to treat you with disrespect is a sad one.  Don’t allow it.  Stand up for yourself.  People in general respect people who respect themselves.
  5. Don’t put up with an obnoxious/disrespectful friend, girlfriend or boyfriend/significant other to your child.  If you’ve set up the above scenarios, there shouldn’t be much of a problem with talking to your child about your feelings towards allowing someone around you or into your home who disrespects you or your family.  That child should need one simple reminder that you won’t permit that type of treatment from anyone.  If you haven’t done the above and they bring home a rude, obnoxious jerk who makes your skin crawl, try talking it out with them first and letting them know how you feel and why in a respectful way as one adult to another.  If that doesn’t make them see what that person is doing wrong and how they are making you feel then, you have other alternatives to consider.  One of those is that your child respects that person more than they respect you and your feelings.  At that point, you have every right to refuse to have that person around you and not permitted back into your home.  Let your child know that you love them and you want them around you but, not their significant other…at least, until/unless they can learn to respect you and gain some social manners.  In spite of what the “experts” say about this (most will tell you to “put up with it and hope that the child sees it for themselves) you have every right to not accept that type of behaviour from anyone both within yourself or your home nor, do you need to be exposed to that type of treatment.  Putting up with someone else’s poor treatment of you in the hopes that your child will see what that person is doing or not doing, is a recipe for disaster down the road.  Often they will not see it and you’re going to get walked on by either this person or both of them.
  6. Be the “Squeaky Wheel”.  A lot of parents will cater to and put up with a tremendous amount of garbage from their children and not say a word about how it makes them feel or, they will say it once then, give up saying anything.  This rarely gets any action from your child.  If you have a wish, need or want from your child (within reason, of course), speak up and don’t stop letting them know what you want/expect from them  in a kind and gentle but firm way.  Don’t give up on your needs being filled because you’re being drowned out by them.  Keep on letting them know that it’s what you want from them no matter how many times you have to do it.  Eventually, the squeaky wheel gets the oil….even if only to stop the “noise”.

As I watch young parents doing cart wheels for their children, sacrificing their own needs and wants, their time and energy, I can’t help feeling that at least a few of these children are going to go down the same path that my own daughter has taken because I did the same things.  Again, not every child who was catered to, hand, foot and tail will turn out this way but, there’s a good chance that they could.  Do you really want to take that chance?

If your child is still growing up and young, start slowly implementing some of the things that have been mentioned above until they get used to “the new rules”.  If your child has already grown up and is treating you like you’re their dishrag or doormat…it’s time to stop it now and start to let them know by talking it out that it’s not acceptable from here on out.  If they don’t understand that or they walk out on you, well you can go on doing the same things and getting hurt more and more or…you can decide that they’ve made choices that don’t include respecting you as a person.  Do you really want them in your life if that’s the way that they will continue treating you?

I’m not a counsellor of any type so take what I’ve had to say here as personal experience and opinion only and make up your own mind as to how to best handle it with your child/children.

From my little corner of life anyway…you deserve a respectful, loving, reciprocative relationship with your child of any age.  If they can’t do that much, doing more for them won’t net you anything different or better.  Take it from one who has been there.

Give me your opinions in the comments section.  Let’s talk parent to parent.


If You Want To Whine….

I’m going to date myself here in what I’m going to say but that’s ok.  I wear a badge of honour for my years.

Back in the 1950’s and early 1960’s, there seemed to be a line that every parent gave.  Perhaps, it was written into a Dr. Spock book somewhere but, most parents back then, didn’t put up with their child’s whining especially, in stores and would swiftly swat us when we acted up.

If you want to whine…I’ll give you something to whine about,” they’d say, ushering us out of the store or over to the side where we couldn’t bother anyone else.


Yesterday, I was in a mall shoe store, trying on shoes with the help of a friendly clerk.  The store was crowded and there was barely room to try on shoes or get past other customers.  As I bent down to try on a pair, a child ran up the aisle, knocking over boxes of shoes, swiping down displays and carrying on like a lunatic.  He was no small child who didn’t know any better.  He appeared to be around the age of 8 or so, possibly even older.

No one did a thing.  His mother and grandmother went on blissfully looking at shoes while this kid ran wild through the store, continuing to wreak havoc with not only store merchandise but, making it impossible for other shoppers to try on shoes or even look.

One brave sales clerk, dared to try to stop this little creature from his reign of terror by taking a box out of his hands, telling him it was rude and asking where his parents were.  The little monster ran to his mother, whining and screeching out whining noises that sounded like something from a horror movie.  The mother did nothing and the child returned to his antics.

At that point, another store clerk attempted a similar tactic and met with the same results. Most other shoppers at this point had stopped to stare at this Child Gone Bad in either amazement, disgust or both.

It was at that exact moment that my own parent’s words came flooding back as though they were standing right there and were it not for being put up on assault charges, I would have smacked the child upside the back of the head then, proceeded to repeat the same gesture and words with his mother and grandmother.

“If your child insists on being such a pain in the behind and, you’re not going to do anything about him…you may as well feel it like everyone else in the store is feeling it!”

Of course, I couldn’t and I didn’t but, I can tell you that it was mighty tempting.

From my little corner of life, what you put up with from your child at home is your business but, if that child is annoying the pants off of everyone else around you, either do something or expect some sort of consequence.

I would have loved to have seen that family kicked out of the store at that point but, I’m sure, like me, other customers left instead.

Sadly, I have come to truly appreciate that line that was given out so freely back in the 50’s and 60’s.  I wish more parents would learn it…or, perhaps…a t-shirt with the saying imprinted on it would serve a purpose?