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I think that parenting, strictly speaking, ends when your child is an adult.

I'm not saying the relationship ends when junior turns 18. But I believe it changes and becomes something different, something other than a parent-child relationship. For me, this means that I respect my daughter as an adult and treat her as such.

Sometimes she might just want a mom hug, and of course I will give her that. Same as I'd give any friend a hug (assuming I have granted them access to my bubble of personal space). Hopefully, I have demonstrated to her that I'm someone she can always trust and confide in.

That said, I also believe that the most critical period of parenting occurs from birth to about 8 years old.  If you haven't been a good parent (consistent, loving, appropriate structure, etc.) in the early years, you shouldn't be shocked when your child is unpleasant to be around later on. (I guess I should give an immunity for a certain period of teendom, because we're all* unpleasant to be around for a certain period of our teens.)

*There could be exceptions but I haven't seen one.

 

 

41 Replies (last)

Everyone goes through some amount of awfulness as a teen. That's not what I'm talking about. That's actually a necessary part of growing up - to learn to separate from your parents and be an individual.  And a parent needs to understand this too.

Don't take your teen's rebellion personally - they love you - this is a necessary phase of development. Just help them minimize the risks they are inevitably going to take.

:)

Truth. It's the risk taking that sucks your guts out through your ears...

I think your theory is a good one, but it only works if there is an assumption that all parents want the best for their children & that all children will receive the love & care you speak of.

Unfortunately there are some who fall outside this spectrum & for them this is just something they had dreams about.

They are also the ones who unfortunately tend not to thrive quite so well in adulthood.

nomo, I have to agree with you.

If you don't establish authority and rules and expectations when they are a child, by the time they reach 10 or 11, and they start acting out, it's too late to crack down at that point. They are not going to listen to you then. I've seen so many parents give their child anything they want when they are small, and then wonder why they have teens who expect everything to be given to them.

And your parenting tactics do (or at least they should) change when they reach 12 or so. That was the hardest lesson I had to learn with my oldest. Until I stopped treating her as a little child and giving her some more autonomy, we fought like crazy. That was a tough tough time, and the biggest change had to come within me.

She's now 23, out on her own (mostly). She makes her own decisions and lives like an adult. I treat her as such. I don't give her advice on what she "ought" to do, or what she "should" be doing; she makes those decisions on her own. She knows we're there to help and support her when she needs it. At this point in her life, we don't parent her.

Original Post by amd_66:

I think your theory is a good one, but it only works if there is an assumption that all parents want the best for their children & that all children will receive the love & care you speak of.

Unfortunately there are some who fall outside this spectrum & for them this is just something they had dreams about.

They are also the ones who unfortunately tend not to thrive quite so well in adulthood.

You can overcome bad parents AmDee. We all can, and many many here have.

The first step is learning to love yourself like your mother and father should have. Replace them in your life with you.

(((AmDee))

 

You know, I was thinking about this the other day.  I was looking at my little (soon to be) four year olds and I was thinking about how neat it was going to be when I could just sit and have a glass of wine with them and engage as adults.  I will never (never ever) stop being Mom, but I'm desperately trying to raise my girls to become strong independent women.  

I want them to know I will always be there for them and always bail them out of a jam, but I want them to not want me to. 

I'm even going to take it a step further, I respect them as human beings even now.  I think I have a better chance of being respected if I show them what it means.  Certainly, they need my guidance and they need boundaries and they get this as well.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm not certain I have this all figured out yet.  I'm terrified of the teenage years.  Absolutely terrified.  But I want them to have what I never had...   choices.  

(Yes, I understand that everyone has choices...  but I'm referring to the perception of choices that won't result in guilt from us as a consequence).   Yes, if they're about to hit a brick wall, I will forever and always give them the heads up...   even after they turn 18, but at that point I have no intention of intervening (excluding extreme circumstances).

Original Post by kathygator:

I was going to post something similar in the other thread. Parenting evolves into an adult relationship on many levels. If you have laid a ground work of mutal trust, respect and dignity, they turn into your better than best friends.

Which, I believe, is what it should be.

This. Overwhelmingly this. I hang out with my family all ALL ALL the time. We're a group of 7+ adults who all respect and support each other. There's not so much lines anymore between parents/children.

I think that between 18 and your early twenties there's this no-man's land where even though you are an adult, you may still be living at home, etc. After about 22-24, you should be an adult in your own right and not in need of parenting any longer.

I've never stopped wanting my mother to be a real mom.

I've never stopped wanting my father to be a real dad.

I need parents at this point in my life more than I need friends.  Actually, my problem is that my mother behaves too much like a friend and cares very little whether I have any respect for her or not.  I think it's important for people to be able to respect their parents and for parents to strive to behave in a respectable manner for the sake of their kids.

I guess for parents who did it right up until 18, you're right.  For my and other crappy parents, we'll always be waiting for them to pick up the ball and act like they care.

Original Post by lostpumpkins:

I've never stopped wanting my mother to be a real mom.

I've never stopped wanting my father to be a real dad.

I need parents at this point in my life more than I need friends.  Actually, my problem is that my mother behaves too much like a friend and cares very little whether I have any respect for her or not.  I think it's important for people to be able to respect their parents and for parents to strive to behave in a respectable manner for the sake of their kids.

I guess for parents who did it right up until 18, you're right.  For my and other crappy parents, we'll always be waiting for them to pick up the ball and act like they care.


Yeah.   I'm still waiting too...   they're both diseased, so I guess I'll be waiting a loooong time.    ;)

I don't know, maybe I'm totally humoring myself, but in some respects I believe I've learned from their mistakes.   I certainly know what not to do.   I worry about overcompensating in the extreme opposite direction, but I do think in a lot of ways my crappy parents made me a better mother. 

Original Post by lbh:

Original Post by kathygator:

I was going to post something similar in the other thread. Parenting evolves into an adult relationship on many levels. If you have laid a ground work of mutal trust, respect and dignity, they turn into your better than best friends.

Which, I believe, is what it should be.

This. Overwhelmingly this. I hang out with my family all ALL ALL the time. We're a group of 7+ adults who all respect and support each other. There's not so much lines anymore between parents/children.

I think that between 18 and your early twenties there's this no-man's land where even though you are an adult, you may still be living at home, etc. After about 22-24, you should be an adult in your own right and not in need of parenting any longer.

Indeed. Even if you are still living at home, you can transition into a relationship with adult boundaries, fair trade practices and laughs. :)

Original Post by meta15:

Original Post by lostpumpkins:

I've never stopped wanting my mother to be a real mom.

I've never stopped wanting my father to be a real dad.

I need parents at this point in my life more than I need friends.  Actually, my problem is that my mother behaves too much like a friend and cares very little whether I have any respect for her or not.  I think it's important for people to be able to respect their parents and for parents to strive to behave in a respectable manner for the sake of their kids.

I guess for parents who did it right up until 18, you're right.  For my and other crappy parents, we'll always be waiting for them to pick up the ball and act like they care.


Yeah.   I'm still waiting too...   they're both diseased, so I guess I'll be waiting a loooong time.    ;)

I don't know, maybe I'm totally humoring myself, but in some respects I believe I've learned from their mistakes.   I certainly know what not to do.   I worry about overcompensating in the extreme opposite direction, but I do think in a lot of ways my crappy parents made me a better mother. 

If it's any consolation: that's precisely how we raised our kids. I always felt I had a cheat sheet of What Not to Do.

Forrest Gumped them into some fine young men. ;)

Might as well stop waiting and start working on replacing their love for you with your own. They will eventually get it, far too late for it to matter, but by then you will have no further need of them.

Original Post by lostpumpkins:

I've never stopped wanting my mother to be a real mom.

I've never stopped wanting my father to be a real dad.

I need parents at this point in my life more than I need friends.  Actually, my problem is that my mother behaves too much like a friend and cares very little whether I have any respect for her or not.  I think it's important for people to be able to respect their parents and for parents to strive to behave in a respectable manner for the sake of their kids.

I guess for parents who did it right up until 18, you're right.  For my and other crappy parents, we'll always be waiting for them to pick up the ball and act like they care.

The bolded: Me too.

Original Post by kathygator:

Original Post by amd_66:

I think your theory is a good one, but it only works if there is an assumption that all parents want the best for their children & that all children will receive the love & care you speak of.

Unfortunately there are some who fall outside this spectrum & for them this is just something they had dreams about.

They are also the ones who unfortunately tend not to thrive quite so well in adulthood.

You can overcome bad parents AmDee. We all can, and many many here have.

The first step is learning to love yourself like your mother and father should have. Replace them in your life with you.

(((AmDee))

 

You're right :( it's such hard work though :)

Yes, Kathy.. that did help. ;)

My mom passed a year ago this week, so of you see me chiming in with mommy issues a ton recently, it's just that.

I'm keeping my eye on the ball though. Threads like this remind me where my focus and energy needs to be directed. Can't keep looking backwards.

Geez, I'm actually dangerously close to becoming mentally, emotionally and physically healthy. Whatever will I do with myself?! ;)

Oh, and please still know me when my girls become teenagers. I'm going to need advice. This goes for all of you!!

I like how you phrased it Nomo.  I've always maintained I'm not raising a 3 or a 6 or a 16 year old, I'm working towards raising adults.  So I shouldn't parent to where they are or I might stall out.  I should parent to where they need to get.

Of course, I also run my house like a corporation, where I have voting shares but everyone sits on the board...  I'm probably not a real good example.

Recent quote from my dad (after a discussion about adulthood):  "We'll stop telling you to brush your teeth and put on a sweater long after you move to Arizona and lose all your teeth."  :p

In all serious though, I find that the changing relationship with my parents as I've moved into adulthood has been a positive thing overall.  I can still ask them for help about things, but I'm not dependent on them for their approval of what I do and how I live my life.  For me, it was a gradual change as I moved through my teenage years, then college, then finding a career.  Right now, I'm 22 and live on my own on the opposite side of the US from my parents.  I find that the distance has strengthened our relationship, if anything.  There's less tension.  We can talk as friends.

Original Post by cptbunny:

Original Post by lostpumpkins:

I've never stopped wanting my mother to be a real mom.

I've never stopped wanting my father to be a real dad.

I need parents at this point in my life more than I need friends.  Actually, my problem is that my mother behaves too much like a friend and cares very little whether I have any respect for her or not.  I think it's important for people to be able to respect their parents and for parents to strive to behave in a respectable manner for the sake of their kids.

I guess for parents who did it right up until 18, you're right.  For my and other crappy parents, we'll always be waiting for them to pick up the ball and act like they care.

The bolded: Me too.

I had to grieve for that. It was a momentous break through for me when I finally broke down and had a conversation with my dead father and told him how much I had wanted him to be a real father, to be a dad to me. After I had cried myself out, a peace that I can't describe came over me. It then that I could finally accept that he truly was unable to parent anyone, that he was more broken than I had been and that he died without ever overcoming anything. It was then that I could let my own hurt go.

It doesn't completely take away my desire for a real father, but it no longer holds power over me.

Post 25 from this thread is where I wrote about how I grieved for a father. It helped to re-read these words.

Not so unconventional at all. I fully agree with you. The foundations are put down first, then you build up and out from there. K, that sounds more like building a house, but kinda the same thing, no? Without a solid foundation, the frame will kilter and the house will eventually fail in someway. I have an 9.5 and 11 yr old. I've worked hard for them to have a solid base. Their frames have come along nicely. Not finished yet. They're only just starting some decorative work in. Still working in some load bearing walls. I'll show them how to put everything in, and how it all works. Once they're adults, they will run their household their way. Foundation errors can be fixed, but are costly. Measure twice, cut once, right?
Original Post by cptbunny:

Original Post by lostpumpkins:

I've never stopped wanting my mother to be a real mom.

I've never stopped wanting my father to be a real dad.

I need parents at this point in my life more than I need friends.  Actually, my problem is that my mother behaves too much like a friend and cares very little whether I have any respect for her or not.  I think it's important for people to be able to respect their parents and for parents to strive to behave in a respectable manner for the sake of their kids.

I guess for parents who did it right up until 18, you're right.  For my and other crappy parents, we'll always be waiting for them to pick up the ball and act like they care.

The bolded: Me too.

Actually, me too kinda.

I am lucky to have a wonderful mom, so that helped.

I've known for a  long time that my dad was/is emotionally and spiritually sick, and that he had given me what he was capable of giving. I know he loves me to the extent that such a sick soul can love someone.

I had buried a lot of anger towards him underneath comfort food and fat. Had to feel all that anger. And then accept him exactly as he is - not the dad I always wanted. And that's OK. You can't always get what you want... I actually have a lot more compassion for him now that I accept him, because I realize that he didn't set out to become a rotten dad intentionally, but had been damaged probably by his own upbringing.

So the only way my desire for a good dad manifests now is that when I see a dad being a good dad, it's like my eyes and ears want to take every bit of that in, and just admire it.  Kind of like, See? It does exist! And I just feel really happy for those kids. 

 

41 Replies (last)
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