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Old 02-12-2011, 03:51 PM
 
3 posts, read 4,533 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Canine*Castle View Post
For goodness sake, they have their own lives. My children call me occasionally as I do them. They are busy adults and I'm a busy adult. I raised them to be self-sufficient; they are. If my children were always around me or called me umpteen times a day, I'd wonder how I failed as a parent.
I find that comment off the wall. I would not come to you if I ever needed anything.
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:06 PM
 
Location: interior Alaska
4,475 posts, read 3,312,926 times
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To people who are upset their kids don't visit more: how do things go when your kids do visit?
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Old 02-12-2011, 06:20 PM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,723,738 times
Reputation: 32304
Default How much closeness? How much distance? What is healthy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Canine*Castle View Post
For goodness sake, they have their own lives. My children call me occasionally as I do them. They are busy adults and I'm a busy adult. I raised them to be self-sufficient; they are. If my children were always around me or called me umpteen times a day, I'd wonder how I failed as a parent.
I disagree with the previous poster that this comment is "off the wall". On the contrary, I find it very sensible and mature. There are many patterns of closeness versus independence in the relationships between parents and their adult children. I find Canine*Castle's pattern very healthy. Some parents, especially mothers, cannot "let go" of their children, which to me indicates that they have no life of their own. Too much enforced closeness can be smothering for those who wish to create an independent, self-directed life for themselves. Notice that there is mutual contact between Canine*Castle and the children; the contact is just not continuous.

Can this be partly generational? Before the internet and before cell phones (and when long-distance calling was expensive), if adult children did not live in the same city or town as their parents, joined-at-the-hip life styles were simply not possible. While visiting my sister a few years ago, I noticed that she was talking on the cell phone several times a day with her 23-year-old daughter who was a senior in college 800 miles away. I wondered to myself what in the world was wrong. But people told me later this is rather common nowadays. I think the opposite extreme - no contact at all or almost none - also indicates something is wrong. I guess it just depends on how much closeness the parties desire, and they are lucky if they all desire the same amount.
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Old 02-12-2011, 07:33 PM
 
285 posts, read 712,936 times
Reputation: 117
I'm sorry many of you are having these problems, my parents and I are very close. I speak to both my mom and dad EVERY day,. they don't mind, and I certainly don't. They even bought a second home to be close to where we live to spend as much time as they can to be near me and my children. my one son is there sleeping over tonight at grandma's/. Whats the attraction. They give us time. my son went to church with them, help my dad build something. They know that they will not always want their grandparents, but for now, they'll take it.

But a lot of previous posters may just need a paradigm shift. Like Dr. Phil would say, how is it working for you. If it isn't the only one you can change is your. If you want more from your children , go and get it, don't be looking what you are getting. that makes me sad

Luckily for us, this is the one area of my life that is going exceptionally well.
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Old 02-12-2011, 11:29 PM
 
Location: Coastal New Jersey
56,000 posts, read 54,493,040 times
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I speak with my mother at least once a week, visit her at least once a month (she's about an hour's drive away.) I have a brother who lives with her, so I know she has someone there to see that she's all right. I also have four other living siblings. Some of them contact her more frequently than others, but frankly, she wasn't the greatest mother when we were kids--very critical and thrived on putting her children down in front of others, in addition to staging these dramatic scenes to garner attention for herself, and some of my sibs have never gotten over that. There was a time when I didn't want to contact her too much myself. However, when I went through a divorce, I moved in for a time with her and my dad (now deceased) and they stepped up and helped me with my daughter while I worked and let me pay a less-than-market rate in rent so I could get it together with all the debts incurred from being married. I am grateful to her for those years, and as an adult was able to put aside the resentments of childhood.

My mother has a friend whose daughter wants to spend as little time with her as possible. When the woman does visit her daughter, all she does is criticize everything the daughter does and continues whining that the daughter doesn't call her enough instead of just enjoying the fact that she's now there. She questions the way her daughter decorates her house, criticizes her cooking, and isn't happy with the church the daughter and her husband attend. Why on earth would this daughter want to speak with her mother more frequently? Not saying that's the case for everyone whose kids are neglecting them, but despite listing all the wonderful things you've done for them financially in the past, how do you speak to them? Do you still treat them as you saw them as children, or do you see them and interact with them as the people they are now rather than just "your kids"? Do you give them the same respect in conversation that you would your friends or other acquaintances or are you constantly making judgments as to their lifestyles, their homes or their activities? Not questions to answer here, but questions to ask yourselves.
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:38 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in Texas
5,230 posts, read 11,668,506 times
Reputation: 2642
Quote:
Originally Posted by Escort Rider View Post
I disagree with the previous poster that this comment is "off the wall". On the contrary, I find it very sensible and mature. There are many patterns of closeness versus independence in the relationships between parents and their adult children. I find Canine*Castle's pattern very healthy. Some parents, especially mothers, cannot "let go" of their children, which to me indicates that they have no life of their own. Too much enforced closeness can be smothering for those who wish to create an independent, self-directed life for themselves. Notice that there is mutual contact between Canine*Castle and the children; the contact is just not continuous.

Can this be partly generational? Before the internet and before cell phones (and when long-distance calling was expensive), if adult children did not live in the same city or town as their parents, joined-at-the-hip life styles were simply not possible. While visiting my sister a few years ago, I noticed that she was talking on the cell phone several times a day with her 23-year-old daughter who was a senior in college 800 miles away. I wondered to myself what in the world was wrong. But people told me later this is rather common nowadays. I think the opposite extreme - no contact at all or almost none - also indicates something is wrong. I guess it just depends on how much closeness the parties desire, and they are lucky if they all desire the same amount.
Well said and much better than I ever could have stated it!
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Old 02-13-2011, 06:46 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in Texas
5,230 posts, read 11,668,506 times
Reputation: 2642
Quote:
Originally Posted by dontblameus View Post
I find that comment off the wall. I would not come to you if I ever needed anything.
To me, it's sensible. I guess maybe one reason is because I see how so many parents enable their children. I do not and my children wouldn't accept such if I were that way. There are extremes, I know, but I feel our relationship is right smack dab in the middle, just where it should be. Of course, that's just my opinion. We have a very healthy relationship with no smothering involved. I love them dearly and they know it.

What would they need? If they need support, they know I'm a phone call away.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:32 AM
 
12,677 posts, read 14,059,781 times
Reputation: 34728
Quote:
Originally Posted by Canine*Castle View Post
For goodness sake, they have their own lives. My children call me occasionally as I do them. They are busy adults and I'm a busy adult. I raised them to be self-sufficient; they are. If my children were always around me or called me umpteen times a day, I'd wonder how I failed as a parent.
Amen!!!!

I do wonder if sometimes this my-kids-never-call "problem" isn't due to the fact that some parents haven't made any lives for themselves other than being parents.

My mother called me ritually same day same time when I was an adult, and she had nothing to say.

When she put my father on the phone he was clearly doing his duty, said hi and got off the phone. When he had some real reason for contact, he made contact. When I visited them he and I had a congenial time, and he usually had a few things that had happened or that he was interested in since the last time we had visited that he would talk about. The thing was that he had an active social life and took an interest in various things, the fact that they didn't especially interest me was not important because I was hearing real news and about his emotional involvement in life. There was a real person with a real life there.

These same visits when it came to my mother were as tortured and pointless as her telephone calls. She had no life except golf and going from house to house to gossip with other women. She was interested in nothing, she was bored and always fretting over appointments, shopping, errand, etc....which I came to see as a kind of negative way of filling up the vacuum that was her life.

She was totally stuck in being my parent, which is to say, stuck in the past. Despite telling her about my job, friends, etc. in those horrible ritual phone calls.....she had no real interest in my "news." I came to the conclusion that because I had moved away after college, and, thus, she had no on-site (so to speak) involvement in what I was doing - it really didn't matter to her, and it certainly didn't stick with her. It was just information about me, but it wasn't about she-and-I, parent-and-child.

Thus, when I visited she related to me, my likes, dislikes, plans, etc. as if I were still in high school or college....my attempts to talk about the one, two, three decades that passed since then were always met with glazed eyes and polite attention that quickly melted into obvious uncomprehending boredom.

Probably one of the most shocking contacts I had with her as an adult was when I was forty-five. I had a nice paying job as a minor administrator, with a big, stable institution, a good pension plan, insurance, etc....all those things that marked "a good job" to her. On one visit when my father was not in the house, out of the blue she said, "I don't know why you don't do what John Smith (my high school principal) said you should do." I was totally gobsmacked by this out-of-nowhere remark, and said, "What!!!?" Which was an expression of my amazement and confusion, but she took it as interest. And she responded, "Get a good job in the Libary of Congress."

I had been sixteen when he suggested this, I was now forty-five.

He had suggested a career as a librarian, I think, because I was a very bookish high school student. However, I had never taken so much as a single course that would have equipped me to be a libarian at the county dog pound, much less the Library of Congress.
I realized in that instant, standing in her kitchen in Florida, that for the last thirty years this woman had kept herself a stranger from me and my life. And that was her own red wagon, not one I had given her.

After that visit I used to unplug the phone every Sunday, which was her ritual call day, and I stopped dutifully answering each and every letter, and I stopped spending each major holiday at their house and part of every vacation.

And I have known other people who have had similar experiences with one or both parents. I have sat and listened to the woman I am seeing talk with her mother and father. And it is very similar: her father talks about what he's doing and asks about what has happened with this and that in her life since they last spoke. But when she talks with her mother it is agony. This woman only sees her daughter as the mother of her grandchidren, but other than that she doesn't seem to care that as these grandkids are in their twenties her daughter has a life that is not exclusively devoted to being the mother of her grandchildren.

Yes, some kids grow up and grow away from their parents, and that can certainly be hurtful. But, by Harry, there are some parents that need to grow up themselves and stop sucking on the nipple of parenthood as their raison d'etre.
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Old 02-13-2011, 09:55 AM
 
Location: Los Angeles area
14,018 posts, read 17,723,738 times
Reputation: 32304
Quote:
Originally Posted by kevxu View Post
I do wonder if sometimes this my-kids-never-call "problem" isn't due to the fact that some parents haven't made any lives for themselves other than being parents.

My mother called me ritually same day same time when I was an adult, and she had nothing to say.

When she put my father on the phone he was clearly doing his duty, said hi and got off the phone. When he had some real reason for contact, he made contact. When I visited them he and I had a congenial time, and he usually had a few things that had happened or that he was interested in since the last time we had visited that he would talk about. The thing was that he had an active social life and took an interest in various things, the fact that they didn't especially interest me was not important because I was hearing real news and about his emotional involvement in life. There was a real person with a real life there.

These same visits when it came to my mother were as tortured and pointless as her telephone calls. She had no life except golf and going from house to house to gossip with other women. She was interested in nothing, she was bored and always fretting over appointments, shopping, errand, etc....which I came to see as a kind of negative way of filling up the vacuum that was her life.

She was totally stuck in being my parent, which is to say, stuck in the past. Despite telling her about my job, friends, etc. in those horrible ritual phone calls.....she had no real interest in my "news." I came to the conclusion that because I had moved away after college, and, thus, she had no on-site (so to speak) involvement in what I was doing - it really didn't matter to her, and it certainly didn't stick with her. It was just information about me, but it wasn't about she-and-I, parent-and-child.

Thus, when I visited she related to me, my likes, dislikes, plans, etc. as if I were still in high school or college....my attempts to talk about the one, two, three decades that passed since then were always met with glazed eyes and polite attention that quickly melted into obvious uncomprehending boredom.

Probably one of the most shocking contacts I had with her as an adult was when I was forty-five. I had a nice paying job as a minor administrator, with a big, stable institution, a good pension plan, insurance, etc....all those things that marked "a good job" to her. On one visit when my father was not in the house, out of the blue she said, "I don't know why you don't do what John Smith (my high school principal) said you should do." I was totally gobsmacked by this out-of-nowhere remark, and said, "What!!!?" Which was an expression of my amazement and confusion, but she took it as interest. And she responded, "Get a good job in the Libary of Congress." I had been sixteen when he suggested this, I was now forty-five.

He had suggested a career as a librarian, I think, because I was a very bookish high school student. However, I had never taken so much as a single course that would have equipped me to be a libarian at the county dog pound, much less the Library of Congress.
I realized in that instant, standing in her kitchen in Florida, that for the last thirty years this woman had kept herself a stranger from me and my life. And that was her own red wagon, not one I had given her.

After that visit I used to unplug the phone every Sunday, which was her ritual call day, and I stopped dutifully answering each and every letter, and I stopped spending each major holiday at their house and part of every vacation.

And I have known other people who have had similar experiences with one or both parents. I have sat and listened to the woman I am seeing talk with her mother and father. And it is very similar: her father talks about what he's doing and asks about what has happened with this and that in her life since they last spoke. But when she talks with her mother it is agony. This woman only sees her daughter as the mother of her grandchidren, but other than that she doesn't seem to care that as these grandkids are in their twenties her daughter has a life that is not exclusively devoted to being the mother of her grandchildren.

Yes, some kids grow up and grow away from their parents, and that can certainly be hurtful. But, by Harry, there are some parents that need to grow up themselves and stop sucking on the nipple of parenthood as their raison d'etre.
I have been reading posts on City-Data for almost a year now, but this has got to be among the best two or three posts ever. This is what I have been trying to get at in my own posts on this thead, but the well-expressed specifics given by Kevxu just hit the nail squarely on the head!
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:48 AM
 
48,516 posts, read 83,880,155 times
Reputation: 18049
Really i thni ti more a case by case basis. My family has always been close when jusdged by modern times. My wifes is even closer. Its ot just a matter fo callig to keep i touch but actaully thinks like continuing to have family dinners and with our deceased aprnets sunday dinners. Mnay in my view complain of not having family suport but rarely actaully do whatit takes to be a family of that type. Mnay are much like kids visiting older people i that they don't have anything in common and just continue it thru adulthood.Often they then see it when they themselves lose the dependance of their children. Much of the disfunstional familt unit is a result od what that they taught their own children.
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