Sex & Relationships

Are you pushing away your adult children?

(This article previously appeared on

Ask parents their biggest concerns about their relationships with their adult kids, and many will tell you: not enough time together, not enough regular communication, not feeling needed or wanted unless the kids NEED something and not understanding why they aren’t closer. Barring a child’s serious issues, like substance abuse or mental illness, parents often feel alienated or semi-estranged from the children they raised — and they don’t know why.

“It’s a silent epidemic,” says Joshua Coleman, psychologist, senior fellow at the Council on Contemporary Families and author of When Parents Hurt: Compassionate Strategies When You and Your Grown Child Don’t Get Along, “the result of several societal shifts in the past 50 years.” Such as? Parenting styles, for one. “Families underwent a fundamental shift in the 60s, when children became the axis around which the family turned,” says Coleman. “They were raised to be individuals who questioned authority. Their relationships often revolved around what made them feel good or bad, not necessarily how to negotiate them.” Parents whose entire being exists for their children often have unrealistic expectations of their adult children’s duty to them, he says.

Another major shift was the rise of divorce. “Divorce earlier in the child’s life (or even recently) can be extremely detrimental to the parent/child relationship if one spouse turns the child against the other,” says Coleman, “even adult children.”

Is There a Rift Between You?

Societal changes notwithstanding, you, dear Mom and Dad, may be doing things that also push the kids away — not deliberately, of course, but alienating nonetheless. If you notice your adult kids acting in any of the following ways, maybe it’s time for a reality check:

  • They rarely initiate a call to you, and if you call them, they take days to respond.
  • They’re difficult to make plans with — even though they seem to make time for friends.
  • They don’t tell you much about what’s going on in their lives. “Everything’s fine,” is the common answer.
  • They often leave in a huff when you make constructive comments — even though the feedback is totally in their best interest.
  • You were always there for them, but they aren’t always there for you. Your problems seem to embarrass or annoy them, and they blow you off.
  • They refer to you as “Mom the Martyr” or “Dad the Saint” — and neither is a compliment.

Assess Your Role and What You Can Do

If any of the above sound familiar, treat them as red flags that cannot be ignored. Your goal is a better relationship and, as the parent, you’re in the driver’s seat. These are the questions to ask yourself:

1. Do you call the kids so often (or email or text) that you might be considered a stalker? Maybe you call too at bad times (like when the kids are getting their kids ready for bed).

Solve it: If you want to be in touch effectively, ask your kids how they most like to be contacted — phone, email or text and when’s the best time to make contact. Then respect their wishes.

2. Are you keeping score of how often they make plans with you vs. others? Don’t go there, says Coleman. ”Some adult kids prefer being with their friends or their own spouse and kids, and it’s a matter of wiring, not bad parenting on your part,” he says.

Solve it: Plan short specific get-togethers (Sunday bagel brunch or Friday pizza night) so they will be motivated to come.

3. Are you a meddler? Maybe the kids don’t share info with you because you ask too many questions or give unsolicited advice.

Solve it: If your son tells you he’s applied for a new position at a new company, don’t start digging for dirt on the benefits, hours and responsibilities. Assume he will tell you if he gets it, and if you don’t hear after a month or so, simply ask if there’s any news yet. Don’t say, “Maybe you should call them to show how interested you are.”

4. Is your constructive feedback really criticism in disguise? Your son knows he’s overweight and it’s unhealthy. Your daughter is aware that she’s being taken advantage of at work. All kids want their parents’ approval, no matter what their age.

Solve it: Praise generously; appreciate sincerely. Comment on what a great parent your daughter is or how proud you are of your son’s commendation at work. Keep the negative “feedback” to yourself.

5. Do you feel validated solely by your role as a parent? Coleman suggests that parents whose entire being exists for their children often have unrealistic expectations of their adult children’s duty to them. “It’s particularly difficult for parents who expect their kids to fix emotional problems from their (the parent’s) childhood, by being a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board, a confidant,” he says. Kids generally don’t want that role.

Solve it: This is when you have to heal yourself. And work on developing your identity outside the role of parent and grandparent.

6. Do you always say “yes” even when you want to say “no?” Nobody likes a martyr, so if you’re always saying yes when you sometimes want to say no, think about this: It’s OK to say no to requests that you don’t want to, or can’t, do without great inconvenience to yourself. But you have to distinguish a real need for help and a kid who only calls when he or she wants something.

Solve it: If your child only gets in touch when he needs help, use a request as a teachable moment, by saying “I’m happy to do this (or I’m sorry I can’t right now). But I’d also love to spend fun time with you and the family because sometimes I feel like I only see you when you need something.” Coleman says it’s better to say no than feel resentful.

The Bottom Line

We are parents until the day we die. It’s our job to take the high road — even if we’re frustrated by a hypersensitive child or a drama queen — because we’re the ones who model and teach how a healthy relationship works. (Which means it’s also OK to set boundaries with difficult kids.)

None of us is perfect, but we can always check in with ourselves to ask: Is my relationship with my child as good as it can be — given any major differences we may have — and if not, what can I do to make it better?

By Sally Stich

 This article is reprinted with permission.  © 2016 All Rights Reserved.



179 responses to “Are you pushing away your adult children?

  1. If I showed my mom this, she’d take it the wrong way and I would never hear the end of it. I’ve tried to gently go into this conversation many times and it never goes to plan. I understand she comes from a strained background and has never had it easy, but she really only focuses on herself. I would love it if we could both grow together but it only seems like we’re growing apart each and every day. I’m so tired and I’m not sure if this relationship is worth the effort in the long run.

    1. I feel the exact same way about my father. This is the first comment after I read this too. He is VERY selfish. He gets mad over everything. Today it was because I didn’t call him twice yesterday. He wants me to but I’m 32 and have a life. He doesn’t because he wasn’t very nice to people before I was born and after. Can’t keep his mouth shut. I’m the only one in our family that talks to him. You think he would try and make this work better. It’s very frustrating.

  2. Having similar issues. I divorced my children’s verbally & emotionally abusive father. They all still talk to him, 2 still see him (he is in FL), I moved to ME 4 years ago. The kid in Florida does not talk to me at all. One moved to Texas, sees his dad regularly, has not visited me. One married & moved to Illinois. I went to her wedding, her dad had her put in a mental health facility to try and stop her marriage.Yet she likes his facebook posts and ignores mine.What am I doing wrong?

    1. I feel like we’re in similar boats. Mine seem to praise their dad who always messes up including stealing from them. Even stole from our oldest after she’d seen her bf murdered. I mean who does that. My second oldest only seems to want to talk when she needs something. I’ve asked twice this week about joining her in church on Sunday and got no response. Navigating parenthood with adult children is so thankless and frustrating. Best of luck.

    2. Only someone that actually knows you could tell you what you are doing wrong. Your post sounds like you are a saint and being treated unfairly, but there are always 2 sides to every story. You must have at least somewhat of an idea as to why your kids are avoiding you. Think about it and think about how you can change it. Kids can be very forgiving toward their parents. They know you love them but that you also make mistakes occasionally. Just own your mistakes and they will forgive/respect you

  3. My 22 year old calls me daily with drama. She is afraid of eating food, she’s afraid of everything. She refuses to work but goes out on weekends and get trashed. I have had instances where I ha e driven over 59 miles. To get her because she was drunk. This has happened a lot between 17-20. She is 22 yo now and calls me at 130 am because she’s sad or because she’s drunk. Tonight she called, plastered and I had had it. I started yelling. Im so angry and frustrated

  4. I feel like an alien. Im the adult child. My mom passed away when I was 25. She started to be very competitive with me when I became an adult, very defensive, like I was suddenly her ennemy. Then she became ill, but its like she didnt care about our relationship until the end. My father remarried I was happy for him, but the his wife started to treat me disrespectfully, my dad stood in her corner, saying im manipulative and a hater. I gave up. Im left with nothing and i keep ruminating nonstop.

    1. Hi Karen,
      My daughter and son are in a different area than I am and seem to favor the father and his side of the family. I hope your not a senior and alone in the state you moved to. That would be very difficult. Not that it isn’t for any age when adult children ghost one or the other parent and you don’t know any good reason why . Hopefully you have other family and friends to visit with.

  5. My adult kids are both ‘good ‘kids’. They love & respect their dad so much. They hardly give me eye contact. They do him. I talk they won’t look at me. he talks, they look at him. He can do no wrong. I try so hard. I am not over bearing, I don’t interfere. I did struggle with anger and stress bringing them up. Is it that ? Do they resent me for something? I feel rejected. I dedicated twenty years to them & feel if I did not contact them, I would never hear from them again. I feel I have failed.

    1. I feel you, as an adult child who wish I still had a supportive and loving mother, I can empathize. Maybe they dont know what they have because you’re being good and there for them. They think it’s just normal, but it’s not. It’s amaaazinggg!!! You’ve done nothing wrong. Also society gives more power to men, they have the good role. Be proud and don’t doubt yourself. You’re worth it!! Meet pple outside the family, expand perspectives. You are a human being with feelings, explore them. You exist!

      1. Absolutely right! I think often the female parent is the receiver of negativity and it is easier for the child to blame or even bully the mum. Some wise and kind comments ! Thankyou ☺️

      2. I feel as though my mother is possessive over me. She says I don’t care about her and I should spend time with her over my spouse because she is my mother. She absolutely hates my spouse and family and swears they are racist even though only one odd situation happened when my daughter was born. She tells me I need to leave my spouse and threatens to call the police if we play phone tag because she believes he is physically and verbally abusive and thinks I am scared of him. I am lost on fixing.

    2. Dear Jackie. I really feel for you. I am in a similar situation. I left my ex-husband as he was controlling and he was difficult to live with. I too became stressed and angry at times because of the pressure he put upon me. In freeing myself I lost contact with my children. Nobody would ever cross him . Nothing he says or does is wrong.( It’s easier to side with the bully) It has made me feel sad and damaged my health from the constant self blame. I need to learn self love. You have not failed!

      1. Hi Carrie,
        Wow. Just like you and Jackie, I feel rejected as a mother but the father and an aunt ” the fathers sister” have my adult childrens full attention. One lives with my ex husband and one lives with his sister both in different states. I feel very sad when I see other familys so very close and I’m on the outside. It gets harder every birthday year. I feel like I’m running out of time because my health is also not wonderful. Hope you girls have family and friends to call and or visit

    3. I’m sorry. I feel the same way at times. Me and my kids father both messed up as parents. I’ve tried so hard to mend that but i feel like they could care less if they ever hear from me again. I try to give them space. I’ve learned to not overreact. But their dad can call and they’ll drive right by my house to go see him. He’s did them terribly and they still go back for more. Meanwhile I’m always supporting, praising, and looking out for them. Yet I’m the terrible one.

    4. It’s hard to grow up with an angry mother. They may have gotten into a habit of withdrawing to avoid conflict. Try apologizing for the years of anger and give them a hug. Ask for forgiveness. Be humble. They may get the courage to look at you in the eye. I hope so. Xx

    5. Hi Jackie, I am living with my oldest son and his wife and I feel like you a lot of the time. He is 40, his wife is 35; so much of the time it’s like I’m living with two teenagers. I say ‘hi’ to either of them at times and all I get is a grunt. They invite me to a movie then either ignore me or double-team me, like they get enjoyment from my uneasiness. I am nice and try to be engaging which seems to bring out the young child in them. Will there ever be a time where adulthood is shared by all?

  6. The toxicity in my family is the result of two of my siblings and one of their wives. Tensions have arisen over the past thirty years to the point that, though my brother and sister-in-law did attend our last gathering, they kept up the silent treatment with another of our brothers and my significant other. I find this intolerable but when I raise the issue with my two sisters, with whom I am close, and my father, they tell me to “just ignore them.” I feel this is only normalizing the behavior.

  7. My dad is verbally abusive & an alcoholic. My mom does nothing to help me, and sometimes initiates the verbal abuse. So if I don’t want to spend time with them, I won’t. I moved out a while ago and had blocked their numbers, but then they read an old diary of mine and emotionally blackmailed me into unblocking them b/c they were “worried”. My diary said that I had started dating someone a year ago (I’m 24). They met him and like him. But now they’re taking advantage of being unblocked

    1. They’re calling me for mundane things like if I wanted their leftover food or if I have done the car maintenance. I’ve been living alone for over a year and nothing has gone wrong, literally. I’m still enormously upset that they read my diary. And also, my dad doesn’t believe in the word sorry! Also, my bf ans I have been together only for a year but my parents are severely pressuring me for marriage. So I know rhat will be a topic of convo if I meet them. I do NOT want to speak to them.

      1. Hi, Vickie:
        Learning assertiveness skills & setting healthy boundaries with your parents can go a long way in improving things. A good therapist can help alot but there are also plenty of books on the subjects. However, if they are trying to run over & blackmail you that is NOT ok. Block them short term & let them do their worst. You’ll at least gain independence. Threat is their only power over you. People can only treat you the way you allow them to. Assertiveness is key in long run.Good luck

  8. My mother is pushing me and four other siblings away because of her husband. I was recently abandoned by my ex-husband going on 2 years. So I believe it’s understanding that I need my mom for emotional support and not only that she’s my best friend. I’ve been pushing myself busting my ass trying to support my kids because their piece of crap father doesn’t help. Hasn’t even seen my boys since. My mom’s husband constantly blames me for their fights. I don’t know why my mom agrees Is that right??

    1. I can relate. I’m certainly not perfect but my moms boyfriend was overheard (by me) saying. “Don’t pay attention to her, she’s a b@tch”. When confronted, he says maybe you are. I choose to never be around him again.

  9. some of the parents commenting here feel entitled to a wellness check from their adult children once a week. Why wouldn’t they be OK?that sense of entitlement says far more about the parents neediness than adult child living an independent life. parents don’t realize that every time adult child has to think about them, or listen to them or speak with them, the parent is taking up headspace. If the relationship wasn’t good – why retraumatize? Parents lack perspective on harm they’ve caused.

      1. Agreed Caroline. I checked in with my parents by phone once (later twice) a week for decades (plus occasional trips for home visits). I enjoyed it and they enjoyed it. I don’t regret it at all, and hope my adjults kids and I can have a similar connection.

      2. Caroline; she invited her father & I to her wedding; I stayed with her & her finance because she wanted me there ; she told me I was always her compass & I told her she didn’t have to move back to the USA; I argued with a guest of hers ;she told me to stay at a hotel ; I told her fiance he didn’t have to worry about me going to his wedding ;I didn’ t want to be a problem; my daughter sent a taxi to the hotel; l; I didn’t go to the wedding; I have such pain in my heart; she was angry ;

      3. Hey Caroline ( : my 30 yr old daughter is currently estranged from me and I don’t know why. I know I wasn’t a perfect single mom but I did the best I could. My parents weren’t perfect either but my communication and visits with them was always because I wanted to, never an obligation. And I don’t want my daughter to feel obligated. I really loved your reply and I’really feel both validated and genuinely happy for you and your family. Huggs!

      4. Caroline .. I’m Totally feel the same . Having my mom in my life regularly abs talking daily was a joy and blessing it an intrusive burden

      5. Your comment gave me hope that not all children are like the cruel selfish others commenting . We’ve given. our son unconditional love his entire life , always been there for him , emotionally and physically present , given him money for whatever he needs including college , trips on spring break & come to pick him up from college spur of the moment for dr appts or whenever he asked to see friends near home . My heart is broken as he seems to only text or call if he wants something. Thank you .

      6. Caroline, It looks like you missed the part where she said the relationship wasn’t good and it’s re traumatizing her. Adult children don’t owe their toxic parents a relationship. Especially if it retraumatizes them. Adult children who go no contact don’t do it out of spite or lack of love, they do it to further protect themselves from the toxicity of that parent. Children raised with love will never understand children raised in trauma. You got this Lynns.

      7. I think if you born if you are pisces you do not a Libra mother and can we father. This will affect you for the rest of your life
        It is about parents chose under what constellation their babies born so there are not be not conflicts

      8. Agreed Caroline! It’s called being considerate and respectful. I know my daughters have no problem “checking in” when they need money or something. The call is to see how they each other are doing…to let them know that they are in our thoughts…that we love them…parents have a sense of entitlement for wanting this?????

    1. I am a twice divorced mother of 4 wonderful adult children. Raising and watching each one blossom was a privilege. The option and opportunity to be a stay-at-home mom … I thank both my ex-husbands for. Wouldn’t trade it for the world. If I had only known that at 50 years old our marriage of 20 years would send me down a path I never could imagine. It’s too much to go into, but I experienced a life that I thought I needed to fullfil. I married at 19 and began a family…it was all I kne

      1. I have more to add to my story. My daughter and 3 sons had a mother who was a rock star. And all 4 would agree. BUT THEN WTF HAPPENED TO THE BEST KIND RESPECTFUL AND SUCCESSFUL INDIVIDUALS I BROUGHT INTO THIS WORLD AND SACRIFICED WITH PURE ENERGY AND JOY FOR? My daughter 33 years old has cut me from her life, it’s been 5 years. My 3rd child has chosen to have “no regrets” but for his sake and solitude. I truly feel abandoned and tossed to the wind. A parent who got lost.

      2. I have an issue with my daughter of 30 yrs old, I texted her and she didn’t respond for 36 hours, she wasn’t on vacation , why couldn’t she respond earlier? It only takes 10 seconds? Being a parent who sacrifice for your child is no longer worth anything anymore.

      3. Rene Bailie hello,
        The more I read the more I think the culture we’re in at this time period seems to breed nothing but contempt from certain adult children particularly against the mothers and especially if the two parents are divorced. Its so sad when one finds themselves in this quandary. I hope it works out better for you in the future. I have talked to other women personally that say the same things as on these posts

      4. Hi Rene,
        I understand how you feel. What has worked for me, is for me to get in touch with myself. I was a country farm girl who had it so much worse than my own kids, to the points of being beat physically and verbally by my parents. I worked hard in a way they never did. I now remember who I am, where I am , and where I am going. If they are going to take their narcissistic dad’s words about me, then they aren’t worthy of me. And that is part of my self care. I deserve to be treated better.

      1. Amen is right! I find it so unbelievably naïve when people say, “but it’s your mother, yada yada yada”) Uh, hello,..they are “mothers” that beat, starve, drown, torture, allow their kids to be raped and ultimately kill them.
        Of course that’s the extreme, but there’s also a huge gray area in between mother of the year and the worst of the worst. Not all “mothers”(or fathers) are created equal.
        Many of us grew up with narcissistic parents that were not so nice to us.

    2. Check on your parents. As they age, they get sick and scared. Stop thinking bout yourself but if you have been the absolute perfect child your whole life go on your way. Congrats.

      Family is very important, except for you it seems…but know this, you too will feel abandoned by your future children, and
      A light will go off in ur head…then it will b 2 late to love your parents back. Regrets forever for you.

      1. You seem like you don’t believe it or can conceive that some parents are horrid and there comes a time when as an adult child you have to say no! I’m not accepting this abuse anymore. Not every family or parent is great. I know from experience that you can’t sacrifice yourself for the sake of someone else, no matter who they are and an abusive or manipulative person doesn’t change because their actions are detrimental to someone else. These people think only of themselves so why can’t we do that

    3. Wow, what an ungrateful child you turned out to be. So many adults would love to have parents that cared about them past the day they were kicked out at 18.
      You were graced by God with a parent who loves you and wishes to remain in contact with you because THAT is what parents do with the children they love.
      You must must have missed out on Sunday School, Church or any one of many ways to learn the Ten Commandments as #5 is Honour thy Father and thy Mother. You have epically failed!

    4. I think your words say a lot about your character. So many adults would love to have parents that cared about them past the day they were kicked out at 18.
      You were graced by God with a parent who loves you and wishes to remain in contact with you because THAT is what parents do with the children they love.
      You must must have missed out on Sunday School, Church or any one of many ways to learn the Ten Commandments as #5 is Honour thy Father and thy Mother. You have epically failed!

      1. You are NOT getting it. You LACK perspective. She had a bad relationship because her parent was BAD to HER. Some of us are abused or treated horribly and try our best. We must MOVE ON in order to heal. I don’t want to check in on mom everyday who found me to be a burden and when I DO check in on her she reminds me. She calls me names. She says bad things to me for not being whatever in her mind is what SHE WANTS OR NEEDS. But we are all our own person, who WE need to be on our very own.

  10. My situation is pretty unique. My ex is married to my daughters-in-law’s mother. My son and his wife were teens when the parents started dating. They live close to each other (like 2 minutes apart) and I live 25 minutes away (It may as well be across the country). My daughters-in-law has a “very” close knit family. They are literally together daily. I have become an outside observer of my son’s life. I can’t compete. I feel like I should just give up!

    1. I cant compete with my daughter-in-laws family either. They see them all the time and rarely make time for me. It’s devastating but I try not to say anything about it as I dont want to push them away. I don’t think they realize they are hurting me It’s worse now that I have a granddaughter because I’d like to be in her life more but what can you do? Suffer in silence and try to heal. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad.

      1. I’m so sorry Lisa that you feel hurt by your son. It’s tough on the person who feels alienated by adult children. I hope they realize that soon. Maybe you should say something in a loving way so that you guys can come to an agreement making time for you as well. I think they need to at least know that this is causing anguish and you would like to see more of them

    2. Bethany- my situation almost exactly. I raised my son as a single mother after his father left us for another woman and her family. I built a loving, stable home for us and we were very close- up until he married.
      My daughter-in-law and I were close at first but as soon as she quit work and didn’t need me to keep my grandchildren, she has no use for me now. They bought land with her parents and built next door to them . I’m an outside observer now. So hurtful.

      1. I’m so sorry. I can relate. My daughter & her fiance live literally one block away. But I see them far less than her fiance’s family who live 2 hrs away

    3. That is so sad, being an outside observer is not easy. I have 4 sons and get on well with them and their wives, except one. I am an outsider in his family, we have not had conflict, in fact gotten on very well, until he married and chose his wife’s family over ours. From the beginning I have tried so hard.10 yrs now, his birthday is coming up, I’ve been told we cannot come because his wife’s family will be there. I am heartbroken, trying to accept the loss while enjoying small graces.

    4. I am so sorry Bethany. I am in the same situation . My son recently married and my daughter in laws family lives in the same town as we do. I don’t hear from him unless he wants us to take him to dinner of play golf and use our membership. His mother in law “requires” that they spend all holidays (and at least one night during the week) with them and if we do see him on holidays its for 30 minutes max and the whole time he is worried that he’ll be late to the in laws. I have given up .

    5. Bethany, my heart goes out to you and I feel like an outsider as well. Mothers were much more treasured once upon a time. Please let them know how this is causing you pain if you haven’t already in a way that will make an impression that will hopefully bring you some peace of mind and possibly more visits from them

  11. I call Mom & Dad every week and share a lot of our life with them. We live across the country because my parents succeeded in raising a hard working, independent adult. They have an open invitation to visit, and are still well enough to fly and drive to vacations around the country, but rarely visit, and constantly nag us to visit them. They are retired, with lots of free time. My wife and I have limited vacation, which they expect us to us exclusive to visit them in the Midwest. Unreasonable.

    1. I would add that I offer to help with things that may no longer be easy for them, tax preparation, finding good doctors, choosing insurance plans, etc. They reject my help, refuse to visit, but expect us to visit them. We live in the wealthiest country on earth, but employers won’t give working adults any reasonable vacation. 2 weeks per year? Suppose I should have moved overseas where I would have gotten 4 to 6 weeks per year. Hindsight.

      1. I can’t speak for your employer, but my employer gives 4-6 weeks vacation per year (depending on years with the company). I visited my mom twice each year in another state, with my kids, while she was alive. I miss those visits. I never felt like it was unreasonable.

      2. How about if you go for long weekends and compromise or include them in some of your vacations ? If your parents were such great parents that raided a strong independent man, as you claim, it sounds like you’ve morphed into or rather chosen to not go to any trouble or compromise to be physically and emotionally present as they were for you . Doing their taxes is nowhere near being physically present . I believe in karma and seen its bitter lessons . You’ll be old one day . Remember that .

  12. Great article. As a parent myself, it’s like walking on eggshells with kids. You spend your whole life providing, nurturing and going bonkers for them, and a little request like doing chores ruins everything. Child moves out bc of chores, says they don’t need you, and then runs back when in need. Beware: Apparently saying no to your adult child will bring bad karma. You’ll be labeled as a bad parent and become the target of ridicule! They’re innocent I tell ya! Tell them no and let them grow up!

    1. We bought a house when our daughter was 18 put her name on it paid down so payment was $200 a month, bought her a car, pulled strings to get her a job at the bank. She takes a transfer to have a relationship with my alcoholic sister yes my daughter is 35 single and a bar fly. One yr ago she told us we had never cared for her and we needed to quit guilting her into coming to see us. I found out yesterday she has sold her house and moved we don’t know where. Happy Mother’s Day

      1. That’s very hard on you I’m sure. But it seems like you were trying to “buy” the relationship versus just giving her a good headstart.
        If you do something for them out of the kindness of your heart, unfortunately they don’t “owe” you anything for doing it.
        My guess is the relationship was already strained and you thought you could buy her devotion. It doesn’t work that way.

      2. Hey Caroline ( : my 30 yr old daughter is currently estranged from me and I don’t know why. I know I wasn’t a perfect single mom but I did the best I could. My parents weren’t perfect either but my communication and visits with them was always because I wanted to, never an obligation. And I don’t want my daughter to feel obligated. I really loved your reply and I’really feel both validated and genuinely happy for you and your family. Huggs!

      3. Calling it like you see it, huh? Maybe she is sick and an alcoholic? Adult children don’t just stop speaking to parents for NO REASON, not usually. Buying people material things and EXPECTING a relationship is called entitlement. You do not OWN your child, you love them and do things for them bc of that. I would do anything for mine and never expect a thing in return or CALL HER a BARFLY. I’d be in counseling trying to figure where I went wrong and see if I can help her, not buy her things.

    2. My mom suffered some Karma because of the way she treated me and my younger sister growing up (abuse and neglect). Illness, job loss and the severe flooding of her home to name a few. She also has mental health problems and very negative to be around. I keep my distance.

      1. We all deserve Karma. None of us are perfect.; not even you. Be careful , someone may think the very same of you when you fall on hard times. I am praying for your mom to overcome this. You may want to think twice before you say karma has befallen someone. ….

  13. Reading these comments shows why adult children avoid destructive parents. Consider what you’ve done to be shut out. If you were pleasant, respectful & enjoyable people to be around & contact-adult children would do so. I have a parent-in-law just like many of you. Self-righteous Christian puts on great show in public, then a monster to us. All 3 children & spouses keep distance-per multiple psychologists advice- yet she sees herself as innocent victim unwilling to apologize or change ever.

    1. I think that we are all human and that all of us make mistakes; sometimes more than once. There is a very large difference between destructive parents and parents who give and give till there is nothing left only to be told how awful they have been to their poor innocent children. In other words, blame goes both ways. And as for psychologists advice, been there done that got the bills…… This type of health care only works in complete open honesty, not filtered through one’s struggles.

      1. Unless a person is mentally unsound, adults don’t thoughtlessly shut out parents if there is any hope of them being kind, pleasant or otherwise somewhat enjoyable to be around – or even just tolerable. All of my MIL’s children and their spouses are on good terms with all other parents and in-laws. But they can’t contact their father w/o her overseeing control. Your summary of psychologists is shocking! They saved our marriages & the mental health of spouse & their siblings from MIL’s damage…

      2. The abuse and neglect that I suffered from my mom was NOT a mistake! She never even wanted me or my sister. Not sure what “mistake” you are talking about….

    2. There are a great deal of narcissistic adult children out there who feel their parents owe them, because they had them. The Boomers put up with that flawed logic , I have a gut feeling Genex my respond by flying them the bird. I suspect Gen X won’t spend near as much time heart broken over their adult whatevers.

  14. I need advice about my mother…
    I apologize if this is all over the place. I’m attempting to explain as much as I can.
    I’ve always been pretty quiet. I grew up with a mother and sister who always spoke for me and would cut me off or talk over me often. We moved every year or year and a half. I attended 8 schools from K-12-All because my mother was searching for some form of happiness she thought she would find by moving.
    By age 14, my sister (2 yrs older) became anorexic and went completely psychotic by the time she was 18 as a result of starving herself down to 56 lbs. My mother spent years trying to keep my sister from going off the rails. My sister stopped going to school in 7th grade and never returned to school. I didn’t attend half of 5th and all of 6th because my mother decided she could “home school” us which consisted of her buying us magazines to read. By7th grade, I wanted to go back to school; I enjoyed learning and wanted to have relationships outside my family.

    I managed to convince my mother to stay in one place for 4 years of high school. During that time my mother would call me when I was out with my friends to come protect her from my sister. My father was on the road for work M-F every week and my sister would use that time to steal stuff from our home and pawn it so that she could spend money on whoever she was dating. She would throw stuff at my mother and threaten her. One time she threw a tv at her and it went through a window. But my mother would always call me to come home and protect her.
    When I decided to go to college, I wanted to live on campus my first year. My mother was against it. She told me I wouldn’t like it and fought me on it daily. When I left she immediately turned my bedroom into an office and then decided to up and move away. (Side note that my dad always moved with her and never had a say). When I figured out that I didn’t like living on campus, I had few options other than to get my own apartment and suck it up. No big deal as I was an adult. Then a few months later my parents moved back and my mom begs me to move back in with her. I did for a while but I was young and wanted to have my own experiences.
    Thoughout my 20’s, my mom and I had a decent relationship. She would move and then come back but we talked quite a bit. More than I talk to anyone else. I got married when I was 25 and always wanted a big family. My husbands family is large and they have fun get togethers. The year Ii got married I asked my parents if they would start coming to gatherings with my husbands family because they would be fun. My mother said she didn’t want anyone in her life other than her family. She said she wanted to maintain family traditions the way she had set them up and that was it. I continued to have a relationship with my parents even after that. Making sure to schedule time with both families over holidays so that I could make every one happy. Only my mother started to give me a hard time about having any relationship with my husband’s family at all. Always throwing everything she could in my face about anyone or wanting to discuss them negatively nonstop when I would speak to her. I’m not a person who enjoys discussing other people. Rather, I enjoy talking about ideas.
    By the time I was 30, my husband and I had a daughter. My mother up and moved away a week after my daughter was born and came back a year and a half later. My sister didn’t move back with her in this particular instance and over the next several months, I became very close to my parents. I would stop by with my daughter all the time and talk to my mother almost daily.
    Then out of nowhere she up and leaves again and didn’t even tell me she was leaving. After that I began to distance myself quite a bit.
    In 2018, my husband was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia. For over a year, my focus was on keeping my family afloat and making sure my daughters life stayed as normal and stable as possible. She had just turned 5. My parents lived an hour north of me during that time and my husband was inpatient an hour and a half south of our home. My mother often asked why I didn’t make the trip up to see them, but I was too exhausted to drive up there. As things started to settle down with my husband, Covid hit and my parents decided to move back to Florida. I talked to my parents little during this time because I felt my mother just wanted to tell me what I wasn’t doing right and I just couldn’t handle more on my plate.
    In March, my dad got sick. I rushed to Florida to help. The entire time I was there my mother told me all the things I was doing wrong in my life. How she was always there for her parents. I made sure that my dad was out of the woods and flew home after being there a week. For weeks, I was hearing how well my dad was doing only to get a call that he has decided to go to hospice. Again I rushed to Florida, this time to say goodbye to my wonderful father.
    My father, who I know I’ve barely mentioned was very much like me. While he wasn’t the type to say I love you or hug his kids, I knew without a doubt that he loved me and that he supported me.
    My mom and my sister moved back to the area I’m in after my father died. They want a relationship with me and I don’t want one. My sister is crazy and my mother just lets her be crazy and honestly I’m tired of the drama. It’s such a soap opera.
    I feel like a total jerk for not having a relationship with my mother. I know she loves me but she’s extremely disrespectful towards me and thinks that she is allowed to be because she’s my mother. She’s allowed my sister to disrespect her for years and it’s just become this behavior they think is acceptable . They are also extremely possessive people and it’s not in my personality or how I want to raise my own child. Am I wrong for cutting off ties?

    1. Love, and respect are behaviors. I am thrilled for you that you are keeping them at a safe distance. Get counseling for yourself, and your daughter.
      Dr. Jill Murray has wonderful books on toxic relationship. Destructive Relationships was a huge help to me.
      Keep your daughter’s emotional, and physical safety uppermost regarding ANY interactions with either of them.

    2. I am really sorry to hear this. Your mom sounds like she put you through quite a bit, and I think you tried again and again to have a relationship with her from what I’m reading here. You’re a really good daughter and don’t ever forget that. You can only do so much with that kind of scenario. You did your best. Go find happiness with your family. Sending you my best!

  15. I thought I was alone going through this. It’s also good to hear the comments from adult children. I ordered the book someone suggested & hoping it helps. I think divorce seems to be a common denominator here. My son was diagnosed with stage 4 bone cancer at 15. I was with him every moment and slept at the hospital by his side for the 9 months of treatment. We were connected at the hip. By the grace of God he beat the cancer and went away to college. He moved into his own place after he graduated and continued life. I never meddled and saw him mostly just holidays. Now he is 34 and a millionaire.. has a house in the hamptons and I don’t even get an invite .. well i got one for sept because I asked. His wife’s family has been there 2x that I know of. I expressed my feeling a few times and they don’t get it. I can go on and on. I’m heartbroken being treated like crap. I almost lost him.. I want to see him alive! Not in pictures on Instagram having fun with everyone but me.. now I’m accused of what everyone else is. I’ve over analyzed and pick apart every word etc well maybe I have cause all I have is BS text exchanges to reread to try and figure out what I did to deserve this. His wife certainly doesn’t help. This life without my adult child is hurtful. I don’t want it to consume me anymore. It doesn’t help when we see other families that are great .. so we aren’t wrong for wanting what they have. Normal! I actually told my son recently that I’m jealous. His response is I shouldn’t be jealous of such meaningless things.. ok sure.

  16. Hi Kathy, your words find an echo in my heart. I also feel I do not deserve to be treated better either. The difference with my story is that I have tried to talk with my adult children, I have asked their forgiveness, but they refuse to be honest about their thoughts. They just keep as far away from me as possible. Every once in a while I get a message with two words from one of them, the other one even more rarely. My life without them and my grandchildren means nothing to me, I have done what I had thought was best for our family, but I did all wrong. I have asked forgiveness, I have asked for them to be honest with me, but they say they have nothing to forgive me for, and yet, there is this distance, this indifference,and there are days when I wake up, I think, “Another day…what for?”. I know I am being ungrateful by thinking this way. I wish you and all here the best.

    1. Wow Tanja, I can sympathize so much with you. I have one adult son and we have been estranged on and off for years. At one time we were never like that. The sad thing is I just lost my mom three months ago and except for work and my dog I have no one. My son I love him dearly but I get no respect or good communication maybe a text every once in awhile. But no verbal talking. ‍♀️His wife hates our family and I am sorry that is the way I have to put it. My son talks to no one just his wife’s family. We did nothing wrong. I have not even seen my three grandaughters for almost a year in a half. Either did my mom for no reason and now she is passed. No reason. It is heartbreaking but you sound strong maybe a lot stronger than you think. So just hang in there ok. Bless you

      1. Hi bonnie.. read your story… I’m in Scotland ..going through the same thing.. it’s very very heartbreaking… I cry every day. Trying to keep stronge… Not easy when it’s your own adult children… Far much worse than any partner divorce break up… Hope you find some peace . Xx

    2. Oh Tanja, I’m just crying feeling your pain. I’m so sorry and feel it too. Mothers jump to do anything and everything to be a part of our childrens lives.
      Divorced and destroyed by their evil sperm donor. Literally after 32 years left on the curb.
      Hearts broken so badly just don’t know how we don’t die of our broken hearts.
      I’m sorry

  17. I’m 30 and am having some trouble with my mother that I would love to get your opinions on. We’re very close, and I think she’s suffered from depression on/off for years, and I’ve always been happy to be there for her. We text everyday and have calls every few days that last 3-4 hours long, of which a large part consists of me listening to the problems she has with others and how badly she feels. I’ve tried my best to be there for her and give her support or advice, but sometimes it gets really emotionally exhausting. Also, when I am not able to answer her call immediately or I happen to be busy that day, she gets upset and tells me I am not doing enough. It’s like I’m on call or something, and when I mentioned this she got really angry at me.

    The other thing she does which I am so broken up about is yell a lot. And not just the normal type of shouting when someone raises their voice, but the kind of raging and screaming that is so traumatising to the person at the other end. Sometimes it’s over things that don’t make sense, like the last time she screamed it was over the fact that my sister sent her a nice card for Mother’s Day and all I did was send a “fucking spa set”. I feel so so drained, and obviously will not cut her out of my life, but I find that no matter how many boundaries I set, it’s just been feeling and getting worse and worse.

    We live in different countries now, and she wants to move to where I am for at least 6 months to get away from my dad. Normally I would of course want to support family the best way I can, but with her temperament and the way she sometimes treats me sometimes I think about her coming and I end up crying. I can’t tell my mum that she isn’t allowed to come here I mean that’s just awful to say, but I don’t know what to do.

    1. It sounds as though your mother has narcissistic tendencies. If so, there will never be a time that you will have done enough to make her happy. I had a sister-in-law who was like that & she only got worse as she aged. Her only child, a daughter, ended up seeing a counselor for years because of her mom’s behavior, and ended up having to mostly avoid her. You have your own life to live and, if your mother thinks of you the way I do my children (ages, 38, 43, & 45), she’ll put your happiness first, even if she feels left out or ignored. If she starts screaming at you, tell her in a calm voice that you will talk to her when she has more control of her temper. Say something like, “I love you, mom, but I can’t talk to you when you’re so upset. Goodbye for now. Love you!” My advice is to NOT allow her to come stay with you. It would only result in alienation and/or resentment. You are not responsible for trying to fix your mom’s problems. It would be better for her to find a good counselor who can see things objectively and give advice accordingly. When I’ve had a couple of rough patches in life, I went to a counselor. I didn’t cry on my daughter’s shoulder, because I knew it would do nothing to enrich her life. Your mom needs to grow up, and it sounds like she will need a psychologist or psychiatrist to help her do that.
      I hate when mothers say they think their children owe them simply because they gave birth to them and made sacrifices. My grandmother had that mindset, but she was born in the 1800’s! Children didn’t choose to be born, and parents shouldn’t have kids, nowadays, with the purpose in mind of their kids taking care of them later in life. Have children because you want to love and nurture them into become loving, caring, strong, independent, productive members of society.

      1. This response is quite dangerous as some of what I have read. While it is always helpful to share or vent, judging is horrible. All families bicker and often people who do not get involved in analyzing and using psychbabble from the psychiatric community which furthers the divide, use kindness and love. Acceptance and the priority of family is essential. The emphasis on “boundaries” and limits sounds like caging animals as opposed to embracing fluidity, the ups and downs rather then promoting parents as burdens or reinforcing the “me” generation’s focus on Their “own” life rather than an inclusive model of family across a lifespan, no matter what. Times are tough, like is short and it seems best if love were to guide and connections with parents and adult children remain a priority.

      1. I’ve listened to that audiobook and it brought so much clarity. I felt like that book was written just for me. I also am listening to the sequal to that book which talks about recovering from emotionally immature parents. I will also be reading the final book relating to self-care of adult children of emotionally immature parents. All three books are by the same author. I’m so glad I chose these audiobooks to be proactive in my own healing. I hope everyone in this thread read these books!

    2. Your story is very similar to mine only I am the mother… I found that I was complaining and spilling my emotional guts to her …the thing is I wasn’t aware of what I was doing.. then one day she told me it’s very stressful to be around me and there’s always so much drama and it was difficult for her. I was so grateful she told me instead of just cutting me off. I apologized and now our relationship is so much better. So maybe your mom‘s not aware. Communication is so important. Talk to her.

    3. Brooke, I am a Mom of a 30 year old daughter. It sounds as though your mother has emotional and mental problems that need to be addressed.-But not by you. Take a break for yourself. Send letters or emails but don’t allow yourself to be drained like that. Also my advice is to suggest that her escaping a bad situation to be near you is not the solution. You can be a good daughter without being smothered. Best to you.

    4. Oh my goodness. I could only DREAM of having a loving daughter like u. U r a total sweetheart. Your mom has mental illness or bipolar or narcissism & is emotionally abusing u and I’m so sorry. U do not deserve that. U can empathize with her but u do not have to tolerate abuse. U have to love yourself first. & Protect yourself dear one. And that many hrs on the phone of her complaints, she needs a therapist. And the sad truth is, at her age, the likelihood of her seeking treatment is about 0

  18. I totally and utterly agree with the comments made by “Denise Williams” and by “F”. It is wrong for the sole perspective to be that of the parents, who always complain that they cannot understand why they are estranged from their adult children. Too many parents seem to present themselves as though they are perfect, and could never have done anything to push their children away, or to cause distance in the relationship they have with their offspring. This is a complete and utter LIE. Fact.
    As the adult daughter of a mentally ill mother (BiPolar) who was treatment resistant, and an emotionally cold, arrogant, self-absorbed father, who was also my mother’s co-dependent, I can tell you categorically that when an adult child distances him- or herself from a parent, or from both parents, there is generally a DAMNED GOOD REASON. And most parents will know this. Because the adult child will have been trying to tell them for years.
    Both myself and my husband are distanced from our parents – both my own parents, and my husband’s. This is because of the parents’ behaviours and attitudes just as much, if not more, than it is to do with us. I will talk first about my family, and then a little about my husband’s.
    I was, as a child, subject to care proceedings involving the Local Authority (social services) because my mother was mentally ill. My parents at this point were not coping, and the solution was for me to start full time education early. Obviously, now that I am an adult, I have questions about this period in my life. Especially because I was badly bullied at school due to the fact that other people, including kids in m class, knew about my mother’s mental illness. The problem was – and still is – that my parents refuse point blank to talk to me about this. So, when I was growing up, I had nobody to confide in about being bullied, and nor was I allowed to ask about my mother’s illness even though it scared me. To this day, my parents are angry, hostile and defensive when I try to talk about the past. I have had to live with the knowledge that my family has secrets, but that these secrets often involve aspects of my own life that I am not permitted to discuss. My parents always put THEIR OWN feelings and needs before mine, and seem to much prefer refusal to talk, as opposed to openness and honesty. Obviously, this creates distance.
    Added to this, my mother has periods of refusing her medication, which, as you can imagine, creates intense worry for all of the family. But, if we try to persuade her to stay well, she blames us. Once, she even accused my father of trying to poison her, when all he was actually doing was trying to give her medication. My father, meanwhile, does not seek help from the NHS or social services. Instead, he comes to me in a panic. The last time, he rang me late at night to say my mother had disappeared, and should he call the Police! She had been gone since midday, and had taken her car, as well as his car keys so he could not search for her, and had turned off her mobile phone. I was worried she might be suicidal. This is the sort of stuff that happens in my family.
    Alas, if I do get in touch, then I have to put up with abuse and name calling. My father – yes, MY OWN FATHER – accused me of being “stuck up” when he found out I was undertaking postgraduate study. When I got married, my OWN MOTHER said sneeringly that I was “not a wedding dress sort of girl” (implying I was unattractive). I was also treated very differently to my younger brother (my parents’ favourite) while growing up. For example, I had to do household chores such as washing and ironing, or cleaning, whilst my lazy brother did NOTHING. I also had to have weekend and holiday jobs whilst I was at school ad university. Again, my brother did NOTHING. When I ask my parents why they treated us differently they just make excuses and try to change the subject. My brother was even permitted to stay out late at night and get drunk, then let himself into my parents’ house. Whereas if I was late home, I got punished (usually grounded and shouted at). Also, my brother could dress however he wanted, but I got told off if I looked scruffy, or tomboyish, or dressed in clothes my parents did not approve of. Finally, my parents let my brother get away with dropping out of university not once, but twice! If I had failed any of my studies, they would have gone crazy. But my brother, well? It’s clearly different. Can they explain this? No. (Probably because they don’t want to be exposed as sexist).
    My father is loud, aggressive, and abusive. He used to hit me. Neither of my parents were supportive or encouraging (see example respecting postgraduate study). They are not easy to talk to. They are emotionally unavailable, and have little concern about my concerns as they are too wrapped up in their own.
    Now to my husband’s family. We are distant from them, too. This is mostly due to my mother-in-law who is nosy, intrusive and a huge gossip. She has no concept of boundaries at all, offers unsolicited advice, comments on your appearance, clothing, job, qualifications, housekeeping… in fact, pokes her nose into pretty much every aspect of your private life, where it is not wanted. I am pretty sure if she could get away with asking what underwear I wore, and how often I had sex with my husband, she would. Her intrusion and demanding behaviour are off the scale.
    She plays the victim and never shuts up about her aches and pains. This is a woman who has a gardener, a home help, neighbours who do shopping for her, and a regular hairdresser, as well as home visits from the doctor and pharmacy. She has more people running around after her and making a fuss of her than I could care to imagine. Personally, I could not conceive of trying to go through life, expecting people to do things for me. When she makes a demand, she just expects people to drop everything for her. And, if you spend time with her, all she does is talk about herself. She appears to have no concept of the fact that other people have their own lives. Even with all the people she has running around after her, she still asks for us to do her shopping, put her rubbish out, walk her dog for her. She has tried to demand that my husband helps tidy her garden for her (even though she has gardeners!). Also, if she even so much as has a sniffle, she is on the phone, whining and demanding visits. What is the point? After all, what can we do? If she is unwell, then she should phone the doctor!
    However, just as with my own parents, when you do spend time with her, she is rude, dismissive, interfering, judgemental and patronising. She cannot seem to bear it if the limelight is not entirely on her, and as I have said, talks endlessly about herself. She also likes to stir up trouble, even between my husband and his brothers. For example, she accused him of forgetting to keep in touch with his brothers, and forgetting to send them birthday cards. When my husband explained that this was not true, and that actually, it was his brothers who had forgotten his birthday, his mother completely ignored what he said, and continued to blame him. She kept talking over the top of him like he didn’t even exist, and as a result he got annoyed, and then she tried to accuse him of being “abusive”. On another occasion, she insulted my other in front of me, and then later I heard her laughing about it with one of her elderly friends. She treats my family as if we are pariahs because she knows my mother has BiPolar. She has even said to my face “Oh, so it’s genetic. Does everybody in your family have it?”. Talk about rude and insensitive! She shouts at her pet dog in front of you, which is just cringeworthy. The poor animal ends up yelping and whining, and then she just shouts at it more. If it starts barking, she sends it to its bed! That is just cruel. Also, she shuts her pet cats in the garage, and shouts at them too.
    The worst thing is that she spreads gossip. My husband and I have heard her gossiping about us to other family members, and also to her neighbours. Some of these are people who do not even know us. It is wrong of a person to spread gossip. When she does this within the family, it causes even further rifts, because she often tries to drag extra family members into feuds, demanding that they take her side. My point is that if she has a problem with her son, or with me, she should talk to US about it, instead of going round all of the rest of the family.
    There is also the issue of parents trying to force their children to do things to suit the parent, or to be who the parents want them to be. This is a problem both in my family, and in my husband’s. For example, my parents always expected me to dress the way they wanted. They were picky about who I dated. They demanded that I excelled at school but then my father tried to accuse me of “snootiness” after I went to university. So, it seems that whatever I do is wrong. Then, my husband’s mother pokes her nose into when we are going to have children – literally demanding that we give her grandkids. She expects us to have the same political views as her. And she is a evangelical Christian, so she is offended that we refuse to be converted to her religion. All of this is very insensitive and intrusive.
    These are the reasons that people drift away and distance themselves from their parents. Adult children have their own lives and issues to deal with, and it would be nice if their parents could respect this. Parenting is not about POSSESSION or OWNERSHIP of a child, and children are not there to be their parents’ counsellors, substitute spouses, carers, personal valets, or punchbags. The problem would appear to be that some parents glorify their role as parent, and paint themselves as perfect when they are not. They act like their children owe them something, and have a duty to them just for being born. This is not so, and the reality is that some parents talk rudely and insensitively to their children, or abuse them, or have mental illnesses that they refuse to get treatment for, or drink, or spread gossip. All of these things are offensive and insulting to their adult offspring, and so those offspring choose to distance themselves from the offending parent. This is not because the children are bad. It is often because the children would like to be able to sort whatever problem that exists with their parents out, but the parents refuse to talk about it, or refuse to deal with it. Instead, what happens is that when the adult child tries to point out that there is a problem, the parent becomes defensive, angry or upset. They may clam up, or they may shout at the adult child. Other times, the parent may deny anything is wrong, or accuse the adult child of being rude, or label them the problem. NONE of this is actually the case.
    Estrangement seldom happens for no reason at all. And it is highly unlikely, from what I have seen, that it happens to kind, loving, perfect parents. If they were really so kind, loving and perfect then their offspring would have NO reason to complain. I can tell you for a fact that being at loggerheads with your parent(s) is no fun, and it would be far easier and much more pleasant to have a healthy, honest, mutually respectful and affectionate relationship. And, if this were achievable, then estrangement would not need to happen.

    1. Em, check out NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) I think you will find it resonates with your experiences with your mum and dad to a tee. There are many online resources for “adult daughters of narcissistic mothers”I think you will find your answers and your people there.

    2. And then there are lots of parents whose only real fault was that they had rules as the children were growing up.
      Lots of good parents shunned for just saying no to a child and raising them as a good parent.
      You can speak for yourself but it is not true of most of the children who refuse to have contact. They thought the parent should be their friend growing up which isnt actually a good parent.
      Respect for adults and parents used to be a thing. now it is cool to pretend parents were toxic.

      1. Yes…fully agree. The society has little regard for honoring parents simply for pouring their life into yours for a long period of time. They call saying no to them abuse and any sense of wise advice to be controlling! That has been my devastating experience

      2. its been a year since your post. It caught my eye because “its cool to pretend parents are toxic” I find that particularly the mother, but if you read this, I wondered if this was a fad that is the trendy thing to do and what has caused this severe malfunction in some family dynamics.

    3. Yes Em! All this. I’m reading these “poor parents'” comments, wondering if that’s how my parents feel about our relationship. And, well… not laughing, but definitely shaking my head. The entitlement is ludicrous. The relationship I have with my parents is strained because of choices that THEY made when I was younger. I know forgiveness is a virtue and all that noise but some things just can’t be forgotten. The disruption and chaos I experienced was traumatic and now they want to be besties. HA

  19. Wow. I am in the same situation. My ex-husband has had my kids from the time they were 7, 11, and 16. These kids were my heart and soul. I missed out on all their later milestones. On all the hugs and kisses. He also did it to hurt me because I divulged a dark secret of his to his wife and my daughter. He raped a child and was never charged. My daughter and I were butting heads at the time and she decided she was leaving me to live with him. I needed to let her know. He and his wife who is 15 years younger than him (of course) have raised my kids and turned them against me.
    It is agonzing. I’ve often wanted to die. It’s been 8 years and it still hurts. I, too, was financially strapped and could not afford a fight in court. I pray God repays them 1000 times the hurt they’ve dealt me.

  20. I am not sure how to respond, yet feel I want to. I got divorced while pregnant with my second daughter, and then had another 3 years later from another relationship. I lived for my children, or at least I thought I did. Being a mother defined me. But in hindsight, and now being a grandmother, I could have done better. But I do not judge how my daughter is raising her son. I have my opinions, and try to share and help, but she can only do the best she can. When she is older I believe she will see that, and I think she knows I did the best I knew how at the time. She always says if anything happens to her, she would want me to raise her son. I have had long talks with her and apologized for my shortcomings. I’ve told her specifically the things I saw that I thought I did wrong, so maybe she knows I would do better if I were to do it again. There are no do overs, but every day I am thankful I get the chance to tell my kids I love them. Every day I dont miss an opportunity to say it because tomorrow isnt a given and no matter what yesterday was, I am thankful for today. Please if you can try not to live in the past, dont. Let it go.

  21. we were a happy family when my children were young, we had everything going for us, 8 year old son and 4 year old daughter; we had a wonderful life. Then their dad and I fell apart, our wonderful life was over and we went through a horrible divorce. He had enough money to basically pay off a crooked judge and got custody of my babies. I went through the most agonizing depression. He kept my children from me to basically to hurt me. I was robbed a life with my treasured babies. I have spent time with them through the years, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over those times. They are now 30and 26. I know they love me and we talk (they’re in Maine, I’m in Texas), but I know they have deep underlying feelings from childhood. I speak with my 26 year old daughter pretty regular, but my son not very often at all. I text, but rarely get a response. I love my children sososo much and I want them to have a happy life.

      1. Good for you! I’m trying to get there. Stay strong and happy…live your life with a set of values that puts you first. You deserve it.

  22. I have two daughters, 14 years apart in age. My oldest is from my first marriage and her dad and I divorced when she was 6., she is now 32. My youngest was two when her dad and I split up (never married), she is 18 now. Talk about night and day in personality. My oldest and I have been attached at the hip since birth. Even thru the teen years, we never had a problem. We remain attaqched to this day. My youngest on the other hand, is quite the opposite. I resented having a child later in years than I ever expected, and I have no doubt that came across. From day one she was difficult. An hour or two of sleep, up again. She was difficult in all of her other relationships as well, friends included. Except her dad. She still cannot see him for who he really is. Her dad has played the victim for so long, that is how she sees him. Someone who has been victimized (by me for ending the relationship), and because she has no real memory of that time, only goes by what he has told her. I chose to keep quiet about it. I never talked badly about my oldest daughters dad, I figured she would figure it out when she was ready and ask the questions she needed to know, and she did, at age 12. At age 18, my youngest still goes by what dad says, and now I am afraid it is too late for her to question anything, because it now seems set in stone.

    I finally told her not long ago, when she acted mad at me for breaking up with her dad 16 years ago, that there are always two sides to every story, and that she hadn’t heard my side yet. And that the reason I never told her was because I wasn’t going to say things about her dad that I know would hurt her. She wanted to know, so I did finally tell her some of the things he had done, and as I thought, she didn’t believe it. I will forever be the bad guy in her eyes. When her dad got married, she was so happy for him (2 years after we split up). When I remarried 8 years later, she was less than accepting of my husband, and referred to her dad’s house as her ‘parents’ and as ‘home’. I asked her once why I was held to such a high standard, that was at times humanly impossible to meet, and her dad was always let off the hook? She said “because you are stronger than he is and you can handle it better.” I should’ve known then that she would remain dedicated to her dad and his role as victim. And that is how it has played out. Going to school part time, and me trying to give her the freedom she so desperately seemed to be seeking by telling her since she was 18, she did not need to follow visitation schedules, she has moved in with her dad full time. Anything from my house worth value to her, she took over there. If I text, she will reply. She rarely initiates. She has anger issues that are off the chart. When she lived here part time, she was lazy, rude, angry, drama at every turn. She cusses like a sailor. Isn’t working. Up all night, sleeps all day. Doesn’t do anything, including picking up aftr herself. Yet at dad’s, she cleans the house, gets up and looks for a job, picks up the grocries… yet never sees the irony in her actions. She obviously has no respect for my household, nor my feelings. She has that ability to cut people out of her life that no longer serve a purpose for her (usually financially and usually someone in my family). She is cold and I believe has a closer relationship with her phone, than she does to us.

    Yet even still, when she needs help, she comes to me because her dad always tells her no. I suppose I should be thankful I get that much, but instead it pisses me off. I am more relaxed with her not living here than I have been in years. There are no more eggshells to walk on, and it is terrible when I think of how long I sucked up to this kid just to maintain some sort of closeness. So now, when she brings her drama show over, I am immediately tense. Do not make your emergency my emergency! I have heard the “I am 18 now, I can do what I want ” speech enough times now to remind her of it. But I don’t. I don’t throw anything back at her that she has at me. I listen, I ask what she thinks is best, and in the end let her make her own choices, even when they are glaringly wrong. I still hope for a closer relationship with her. I still hope she will one day see her dads true colors. But I no longer need her to. I know she loves me, in her way and I will take that.

    1. Well, when I read your story I feel like it almost mirrors mine. My son and I have. Least had an amazing relationship. He had his space, I never kept him from his dad or anyone. I did everything to encourage his relationship with his dad and his extended family on that side. Now today, he is married with two kids, I just adored his wife for all this time… now however, I feel like our relationship has plummeted! He never calls me anymore. He snaps all the time if I call him which is almost bever( for fear of him getting upset with me) so instead I text hi! When I think of him.

      When it comes to his kids, he treats me like I am a second class citizen. Her parents see them almost three or more times weekly… get all holidays… and get to have the grand kids all the time.
      Me I get no calls, no time with him, no time with the kids and no holidays unless I go there. ( they only live an hour away) and if I go there … I most likely have to see her parents as well.

      I’m only allowed to babysit if my husband can come with me… even though I was a freaking teacher my entire career… even after they asked me to retire so I could babysit.

      I just don’t know what to do…

      The last conversation we had is when he sent me home after I asked if it was okay that I take the kids to a kiddie amusement park for an hour. ( I asked his wife since I knew he was with the kids and probably stressed out) she told me she wasn’t comfortable with it. I said ok no worries.

      I get to the house and I had a huge attitude and a huge “ licking” from my son when he sent me home. He sent me home because he started screaming at me telling me “ don’t you dare take my kids to that amusement park!!!!!!!) I’m a 35 year old man sticking up for myself was screamed at me after he yelled about me taking the kids to park. I yelled back at him… you don’t get to talk to me like that. When I said that… he said he was gonna take the day off and you go home.

      I was crushed!!! I was crushed by the whole thing

  23. I am the daughter of a senior mom. My mom does not stick up for herself. She says yes when she really wants to say no to people please. My brothers are terrible sons to her. I was the scapegoat growing up and am now the sounding board. As an adult child, I am putting my foot down. I will NOT be my mothers sounding board for her hurt feelings over how her sons and their wives and children behave.

    STAND UP FOR YOURSELVES! Period. It hurts. okay. get over it. You are not just parents, you are people. You have lives that have to be about you and not about your adult children. We need you to have a reason to live beyond us. We can not stand being your reason for living. It is way too much pressure. We did not force you to have us. You had sex and either produced an accident or planned a life with a child. That was your responsibility because of your choice. We did not ask you to bare us. You can’t put that guilt trip on us.

    If my brothers would call my mom once/week, just to say hi, just to say they love her, it would take some of the burden off of me. I simply can not handle being the only adult child to feel a duty to love. And that is what it is…a duty to love. I will never abandon my mom. But I do have excellent boundaries. Boundaries that she lacks, because she chose to have children with a man she knew was not a good husband, she chose to center her life around them, she chose to give up other things in life for her kids and now that they are all dispersed she does not know what to do with herself. That is not my fault, nor is it my responsibility to fix.

    Go to therapy if you have to in order to deal with your pain and get help in navigating the unfairness of it. Take care of yourselves, really. It is wonderful to cut out people who are not treating you with respect and focus on peace, self care, self love, health and enjoy the beautiful wonder of life. If your children do not treat you well, don’t take it. Just stop. Like you would if any other person were not treating you well. But lordy…DO NOT COMPLAIN about it. DO something! Take care of yourselves.

    1. I test my mother to see how long it takes her to contact me, if I dont ring her. Its been about six weeks this time. I finally texted her as I was getting upset. She is in constant contact with her friends and Im sure other family members with issues might drain her a bit. Shes always I love you at the end of the chat, but to me, actions speak. l think shes rather useless …and I know she wont be around forever.

      1. Son and daughter in law live very close yet hardly include me with precious Grandaughter. I’m bewildered. I take it personally and feel I failed as a Mom. I’m single and work hard. I get called when they need something. I hate Facebook as it seems everyone and their neighbor sees the grandchild but me. (I have slightly complained but mostly remain quiet and alone). I know I need to get a life but feel so shunned. I want to fix it.

      2. Ann im so sorry for this. I dont have grandchildren yet but i understand. Only women that have grown children understand. But my husband and i have figured out that this is not our faults. Children just because they inhabit a grown body doesnt mean they have grown up. When they grow up only then will they realize how important parents are.

      3. Daughter,
        The fact that you feel that you should test your mother, might be part of the problem. You also called her useless. The thoughts can manifest actions that she might find offensive. You do come off as condescending. She may feel she deserves better treatment. My oldest reached adulthood and she and her husband talked down to me. The more she treated me with disrespect the less I had time for her. Of course she played the victim. She wore me out , and was very self centered.

      4. Daughter,
        I pulled away from a daughter I loved very much because she and her husband were also very condescending in many ways toward me. Her nasty texts sent me to a year worth of therapy where my eyes were opened to how she really was and not the idealistic view I revered her in. In her temper tantrums and selfishness of pulling my grandkids away , I walked away as well. Someday those kids will know she drove their grandma off. She had wore me out with her attitude towards me.

    2. have you heard the saying what comes around goes around . I have been a good single mum to my adult son . I have supported him in his adult life helped him in difficult times . He has now living with his girlfriend Where I don’t know for nearly 2 yrs I have not seen him . I have no phone number just his email address so I emailed him a short email. Just a couple of lines to the effect missing you would like to meet up for a coffee got a long hurtful message back along with no. Yes I can move on past it but I believe it would have been nicer if he had just said sometime and not sent a hurtful reply. .

      1. I read your comment.! I can really relate. I’m sorry for all the hurt and all you go through and think about. It is not fun. It’s like we are stuck, feeling and wondering, what in the world. Don’t blame yourself. I’ll be praying for you. We women need to get together. Not really to sulk but have someone, that we can relate to,. And maybe have a friend.
        Can’t have to many of them.
        I know I could use a friend. Gwen,♥️

    3. Thank you for your comments. I recognized myself in them.
      I have 3 adult children. The oldest and youngest, both sons, have tossed me away like yesterday’s trash. One of them hasn’t spoken to me for over 3 years, the other will speak to me but it’s clear that he doesn’t want to and I have to push the issue to get him to do so. My daughter is the middle child. I don’t talk to her often but when we do it is a good conversation. I have tried to talk to her about her brothers, mostly to find out if she knows why they have turned on me like this, but I realized I was putting her in an unhappy place by doing so and I stopped. I have made the decision to leave it alone unless she is the one who initiates the conversation.
      I read the article above but can say with all honesty that I have done none of the things it suggests as causing the problems. I do not give them advice unless asked, I do not call them often, I have embraced their spouses, I give them encouragement, I try to be generous with my time and resources, I show interest in what they’re interested in and I have always been the one they have run to when life slapped them down. I also have my own life and don’t depend on them for my happiness.
      I have reached out to the youngest and his wife, with whom I used to be close, and asked if there is something I have done to cause a problem. I have told them that if I have, I would like to know so that I can fix it. They assure me that everything is fine, when clearly it isn’t. My son has not been in my home for a year and a half. I tried to make plans with them for Christmas and my Grandson’s birthday, but both came and went without a response from them at all. I have even written to my youngest son stating that I don’t want to point fingers, I just want reconciliation and a relationship with him and his family because I love them. It was completely ignored.
      I cannot imagine what I could have done to deserve to be shunned like this. I try so hard to move on, I pray, I wait and I sit here hoping that someday, whatever it is that I have done that is so unforgivable and hateful, would finally be forgiven, but I am slowly losing that hope and am beginning to face the fact that my children simply do not love me.

      1. I don’t want to say that I agree with your conclusion, because if I did agree then I would be agreeing on that same conclusion for me. Your story and it seems as well that other moms of adult married sons all have the same story all seems to steer the same direction. Sons seems to leave their moms. The problem I have is… why???????? Why do the parents of sons lose? What do the parents of those daughters do that we don’t do?

        I’m telling you, my son has always turned to me to talk about anything… I don’t tell him what to do I just listen and encourage him. All of a sudden he is married with two children and things just changed!

        I even spoke with my ex who is his dad… in my opinion, the best dad ever! My friend… and he tile me he gets what I’m saying… he told me that he only callls our kid when absolutely necessary. He feels the exact same way as me! And we live in our own lives separately. So I know it’s not me… it’s my son!

        Im here spilling my heart with this story because I want to fix this but I don’t know how.

  24. There’s too many parents, specifically mothers, out there expecting too much of their ADULT children. Most of the time, you act like you’re entitled to special treatment because you gave birth to them. Parents are to be respected – BUT – if there’s no respect for the adult children, it’s entitlement.

    I’ve read so many articles where an adult child posts how a mother is too emotionally reliant on their child, or visits unannounced, or having too much opinions on their lifestyle and choices – and then parents would comment on how she or he is being rude and disrespectful.

    How about letting your children figure out their own lives? They deserve that. What they need from their parents is the support without the expectations and the judgements. That’s when they start pushing you away.

    Just because one mom has an article that better fits YOUR opinion does NOT make it realistic.
    Many of you may even see my response as offensive. NO. THIS is realistic. If adult children rather spend more time with their significant other – let them. Don’t resort to poor, manipulative, and guilt-tripping behavior to get them to change their plans. It will make everything worse.

    Want to know what REALLY helps? LET THEM GO.
    Not the whole, “Why aren’t you calling me more?” “How come you’ll make time with friends/significant other and not me?”
    “You’re choices are making me cry every night!”
    That makes them push you away farther and farther.

    Text/Call occasionally WITHOUT expectations or demanding to make plans. Don’t contact simply to make suggestions on where to meet and who should come, etc etc.

    Be cool about it. “Hey, how are things? Just checking in. No pressure. I love you, and hope to chat soon.”

    My mom and I live hours apart, and visit every now and then. She never demands anything from me, or expects anything. She respects my personal life. Our relationship is very tight WITHOUT having to contact each other ALL the time and without having to spend time together all the time. Our bond stems from inner trust. She trusts me. I trust her. That’s where the respect comes from. Heck, there’s even some days I’ll ask to meet somewhere, and SHE’S the one who would rather catch up with a friend. COOL! LOVE IT.
    And I’d like the same relationship with my own child when she comes of age.

    Stop being so bitter about things unless your child IS truly disrespecting you to the point of abuse.
    Just don’t over react on issues that aren’t that big of a deal.

      1. You are wrong Rose. The problem with so many elderly parents is that think they are still entitled to tell their adult kids and grandchildren what to do and to be at their beck and call. It is not disrespectful to establish boundaries. It’s disrespectful for senior parents to violate those boundaries and treat adult children as if they were five years old.

    1. Your response is incredibly helpful to me. I’m the mom of 3 adult children. I have never thought of these communication issues from their perspective and now I am able to with your help.
      I take things way too seriously and am always anxious about my rapport with my adult kids. I see now that I need to relax , set my own natural boundaries and not fret so much. They don’t want me to fuss! Thank you!

    2. Thank you! You’re spot on! It’s hard to remember what life was like before kids. You put things into perspective for me. My youngest just moved out days ago. I called crying & put all of my sadness on all 3 of my kids w/out meaning too. I don’t want them feeling sad for me. I want them to have happiness w/out guilt. Making sure I’m okay everyday is not their responsibility. I’m going to text them right now & tell them Dad & I have decided to date each other again now that they’re all on their own. My husband will be happy to hear this as well. This parenting gig is HARD!!! Thank you, F! Sincerely.

    3. I liked your response most of all. I too have 4 kids and each kid treats me differently. It is my job to love them not their job to love us. I raised them, and when ready they will call me more when they need me. My kids have had a privileged upbringing with every possible opportunity presented for them; however, they also had to work very hard and appreciate and afford their own toys. They are all successful in their own right and determinations. I believe they will grow up once they have kids of their own. I have a very solid, loving and respectful relationship with my own mother – always have. I love spending time with her and dread the day she leaves this planet but I know we had a great bond all throughout our lives. I reflect my own respect towards my parents and do not place the same expectations on my own kids. I had 4 kids so that I would have someone to visit when I got older….ha ha and now that they all live in different areas; it is hard even for them to come visit me. I will take your advice and you are right I need to get a life and quit making my focus about them reaching out to me….they will when they need me. Thank-you for your insight!

      1. I get that you do not want to be “smothering “ but really… you don’t feel like they have some responsibility to encourage your relationship???? Or is this just you saying… I’m not going to be unhappy ? I really do want the real answer… I need to hear the real answer…then maybe it could help me to move on as well .

    4. I really like what you have to say there. I am feeling so sad. my two kids are grown now – 27 and 30. They like their Dad and respect him way more then me. he deserves that but it hurts that they do not make eye contact with me, can slighltly criticize me, but never him, can talk back to me, but never him. I don’t know whether to bring it up with them or what. I have done everything I could for them. I am not meddling. i do not intrude on their lives/r’ships etc. Would do anything for them.

    5. I don’t do those things and tried what you said but felt like I was jumping through hoops while my ex narc husband snickers. I am letting go. But I have been slow at this. I am not playing victim, but I am tired of the hurt and they deserve to see me walk away. They regard me so little then my boundaries need me to say “bye.”

  25. Oh man… Another ridiculous article on this subject. Take the high road? Give me a break!!! I’m done with walking on eggshells.

    Hey everyone, please read “Done With the Crying” by Sheri McGregor. She’ll turn your life around for the good. She’s the only one that I could find that deals with the subject realistically.

  26. Take the high road? Hmmm.

    Our young adult adult daughter was self-absorbed, rude, and entitled while living under our roof. She resented any kind of boundaries, usually refused to even let us know where she was, who she was with, and whether she would be home for meals. At the same time, she demanded all manner of favours, and seemed to require a good deal of financial and emotional support. She expected us to be there for her all of the time, in every way. However, we were rarely invited into her world, questions asked of her were an “invasion of privacy”, the slightest bit of advice was misconstrued as “criticism” and “nosiness”, and calls or texts to her (made at pretty much any time of the day) were deemed intrusive and annoying. She expected us to respond to her texts and calls within minutes, while she would often ignore our texts to her. We were expected to entertain her friends on a moment’s notice. And God forbid that she not get her way, in the manner and fashion expected. In such situations, we could expect threats, rude comments, and accusations of being mean, uncaring, even controlling.

    Despite our daughter’s habitual rudeness, lack of respect, and oppositional nature, we continued to hold firm on some very basic house rules, which she routinely mocked. She was also dating an individual who was rather unimpressive (an understatement), yet if we expressed any concerns to our daughter about him, we were suddenly “toxic”, “controlling”, “mean”, “judgemental” We did our best to be a support to our daughter and to encourage her in her many pursuits. We even bent over backwards trying to get to know her lack-lustre boyfriend, having him for regular meals, inviting him to events, and so on. He had the personality of a wet dishrag, brought her down in countless ways, and generally was difficult to get to know. Still, we were routinely told that we weren’t doing enough to support and express happiness him, and about their relationship.

    The tensions became very emotionally taxing, and took a toll on every member of the household. One day, our daughter announced that she had had enough, and was moving out. While the timing and practicality of her move-out did not seem a smart choice for a variety of reasons, it turned out to be positive for all involved. Since she moved out, we have experienced a peace and stability in our home that had been lacking for some time. We now have more time, energy, and resources for other things and we no longer wake up in the morning wondering when the first bit of drama will arise. The limited encounters we now have with our daughter are generally pleasant. She remains a self-absorbed, immature millennial who chooses to learn her life lessons the hard way on most things. So far, she has mostly only initiated contact with family members when she has wanted or needed something. She has little concept of showing respect or honour to her parents or grandparents, but hopefully this will come as she matures.

    We have recently come to the realization that we have been part of the problem, but not in the way the the author of this article has suggested. In any relationship, we often subconsciously “teach” others how to treat us. Kids who treat their parents badly continue treating their parents badly along as this practice is tolerated. Some adult children treat their parents badly simply because they are ignorant and self-centred, and have no idea what a healthy, reciprocal relationship looks like, and in those cases, there is not much that can be done. Perhaps some of our daughter’s self-centredness stems from us placing her too much at the centre of our family life, such that our own needs are no longer seen as important. Perhaps some of her entitlement stems from the fact that we have done too much for her. Perhaps her demands are partly a result of us stepping in too often to rescue her from negative consequences. We have come to realize that we have put up with more than necessary from her, and it has hurt rather than helped her. So, now when she responds to a simple text or call with rudeness, we disengage, except to express that her response was hurtful. When she behaves like a spoiled child in our home, we ask her politely to leave. When she fails to purchase birthday gifts for other family members, we stop purchasing gifts for her too. Relationships are a 2-way street. When she tells us that we don’t support her enough financially, we give her even less, investing instead in people who are genuinely grateful for our support, and who express their appreciation. When she complains loudly about how hard a given situation is, we listen and empathize but are not quite so quick to step in and relieve her suffering. Life and logical consequences are good teachers! As for me, I am getting on with my life! If my daughter chooses to be a part a my life and make it a reciprocal relationship, great. If not, I will invest more in those who treat me well, enjoy my company, answer my texts more often than not, and bring me joy instead of stress!

    1. It’s the other way around for me my Mom and other relatives don’t want to keep in touch with me…However, my daughter and I reach out once or twice a month through txt or phone call…

      1. I think adult children have become selfish it’s not there fault society has made them like it ie credit cards they do not need an old chair now from mum or granny they have every thing on the card and then have to work overtime to pay it off so then something has to go and it’s time,time for mum time for granny time for themselves they do not know which way to turn except for their friends they have gotten into what is a magic round about and cannot get off .they have to pay for big morgages clothes false nails false eyelashes new boobs so come on folks where do we fit in.

    2. I feel for you and I want to thank you for your honesty, you are definitely not alone in this – it is harder when one has triplets who all take their shots at you both as parents. The rudeness is intolerable and best left alone to fester in their souls. They all were quite vocal about how abusive we were while raising them giving them everything we never had as kids. Then they spout off telling us we didn’t quite do enough for them and go to their girlfriends/boyfriends families on holidays and birthdays calling their family members aunts and uncles to feel included after you have provided all you could afford with a conditions of gratitude and love. I have personally had enough of their poison and cut them off by making a personal choice to keep my health and sanity and not waste my precious time with someone who could care less if I drop dead or not. I am willing to let the road take them where it must. If they would ever wish to earn back the relationship they threw away it will be an extremely cautious one.

      1. My parents were very cold growing up. And my mother was practically non-existent. We never shared in anything, and when I say anything I mean it – we have never done a thing together, she has never called me or visited me, had lunch etc… normal things that mothers and daughters do. She spent most of my young childhood screaming and yelling at all of us kids so much so that she earned the nickname of “the screamer” on our little cul de sac. She was belittling, negative, and always in a bad mood. There was just no guidance, no love and no joy. My father wasn’t much better … he wasn’t around that much because he was busy working but when he was around he was cold and unemotional. He would help me with my math homework but didn’t make me feel very good when I couldn’t understand it. Over the years I became somewhat of a ghost myself, always travelling, and trying to live as far away from these two as I could. I guess I wanted to assert my own independence even though I’d be fired from nearly every job I ever did! Whenever I would return for a visit my mother would treat me like a stranger who was boarding at her house … not a daughter she hadn’t seen in awhile… I made an effort to try and bond with her, asking her to go places with me but I got nothing in return. Finally, I made the decision to leave and never come back after my mother told my niece “you can have her room as soon as she blows.” I knew right then and there that it was just pointless to save this so called relationship. When my dad dropped me at the bus station he screamed and yelled at me in front of everyone because he thought I was going nowhere in life and he was actually right. I didn’t know what I was doing but all I wanted was some love and support while I tried to sort my life out and I was trying … but we have never spoken since until last year when I messaged my dad and tried once again to establish contact. Big mistake – he wrote back “scolding” me as if I was still 13 years old, it was awful, he ranted and raged online about not staying in touch with him and my mom but I guess it’s ok for her not to stay in touch with me …? She has never even been a real mother to me so what’s the difference? Why is he so mad that I wasn’t in touch all these years when they’ve never really been parents at all? I mean, what in the world does he expect??? Am I being too sensitive here? You can’t treat your kids like shit and then expect them to stick around ….. there are consequences in life ….

    3. Well written and I am glad to see you are setting boundaries as that is a necessary step. While reading this, I could not help but wonder if a mental disorder could possibly be affecting your daughter? I am not a psychologist], though have a sibling who has narcissistic personality disorder among other things. This causes a distorted view of reality about most everything; exhibiting some of the behaviors you described, such as entitlement and the constant criticism of others’ behavior, where there is an inability of the victim of the behavior to ever please, because it all about self. I don’t know, but it may be worth a google search. Best wishes.

  27. Take the high road, huh? It seems more like I”m hearing continue to take their inconsiderate demands and once in a while, feel free to say NO. We gave our children a very good life. We sheltered them as much as possible from life’s painful situations. We gave them more than what we had as children growing up. And what we have come to realize, regretfully, that many are self-absorbed people. Incentivise them to come home or call? Visiting one’s parents and calling them is honoring parents and showing love. As adults, I do believe our children need to find their way in life. They pass through us but they do not BELONG to us. If they are sucking you dry and leaving you worse off after their visits or calls, feel free to allow them to experience the lack of your time, attention and funding. This is an opportunity for their growth and self-awareness and for you to work on self-care. We must make our own happiness and not look to others to make us happy.

  28. I get all of these parents, I was especially close to my younger daughter and after her dad passed away and I remarried that was it for our close relationship. We may see each other once a year(at Christmas) at her sisters house. I can’t seem to get through to them that I call or text you to check on you and that’s it. Sometimes I never hear back.

    1. I needed to read this Things have really changed I grew up to honor your parents I saw my parents taking care of their parents In fact I had a great grandmother whom my grandmother took care of A whole loving family that took care of each other No wonder it was so easy for me to become a caretaker My mother was first when I was thirty my mother developed breast cancer my brother was living in California and he came home to help. My sister also helped She lived for 2 more years and we all helped It was a very hard time but none of us had any regrets This is what we witnessed as children It was only natural Later in life my brother developed hepatitis and we were all there for his care I even rode in the ambulance
      When he changed hospitals It wasn’t long until he also passed away. Shortly after that my grandmother at age 94 needed help They arranged for full time help during the week and because she had 4 sons it was her granddaughters that would rotate on the weekends I lived 8 hours away but every 4th weekend I would make the trip to care for her and the other 3 weekends were covered by my cousins. No one complained it was just what you do for family This lasted about a year and she too passed I cherished the special time I had with her A few years later my sister had a heart attack so I was care taker again I even spent some nights in the hospital with her and bathed her once she got home This time she survived thank God. Now I am older and I need help and can’t find anyone to help me (unless I pay them) I hate to see the way the world has changed and darn the ones that would of helped have all passed

  29. Comforting to know I am not alone. Still hurts. Raised my kids after divorce (ages 4 & 8 yrs). Father moved away with no contact with kids. It wasn’t always this way. I’m not allowed to take pictures of my son’s boy’s unless they give me their permission. My daughter says I’m a bad influence on her daughter age 14 yrs old. My husband and I raised this child age 3 yrs when my daughter joined National Guard or when she wanted to go out and party. She married a man (not father of granddaughter) who was accused of molesting my granddaughter. Hurting grandmother.

  30. I enjoyed the article and comments — life does not stop when our children become independent adults. It truly begins — by giving us a second chance to focus on ourselves without feeling guilty. Stop fretting over your selfish adult children — keep active by staying healthy!!!

  31. Im tired of always being the one to text or call. Then i wait for days for a response,if i get one. My kids are 36 and 39. The 39 yr old decided for some unknown reason he doesnt want to call or be a part of our family suddenly. I did not raise my kids to be like this. I would have never been like this with my parents. I am close to retirement age and guess i will be alone. What is wrong with this generation of kids? I have always been there for them and this is the thanks i get.

    1. You sound like me. I thought I was alone. I was a stay at home mom raised my 3 girls hoping they’d stay close to me like I was with my mom. A day doesn’t go by without talking to my mom. I thought it would follow suit. They all live out of town and I’m lucky they want to see me once a year. I cry… I hate it.

      1. Wow and here’s me thinking it’s just me. I had terrible parents and vowed I would be a great Dad given the opportunity, I did everything I could for my kids. Their mother decided she wanted to party instead of being a parent and initiated a divorce I fought through it all to protect my kids, nearly bankrupting myself. Now they are adults they never call, i can initiate some things with my daughter but my son has me low on his priority list. I am married again and need to enjoy my life now but i feel dogged by guilt and doubts about how i parented them. The thing is we go through that paradigm shift when our children are born vowing to love and protect them to our last breath and never understanding that the pay back may not equal the investment. Reading this makes me understand their are a lot of us in the same situation and it helps. Learning to re centre on ourselves has got to be the key and without guilt.

      2. Hi there! It’s Gwen, you are not alone! I’m 67 and still don’t understand. Or know what I can do.
        But, you can not do anything, give them space, to think about things I did,
        Time keeps going by.
        People say, well you can’t make them. You can’t but,.
        I can’t stand this. We can’t help but, to blame ourselves.
        Just pray about it , God knows our heart. And we should have total faith, our Father will be the only one that can talk to there hearts, as the live letter he sent”the Bible! Tells us to leave it with faith with him, all to him.
        It’s hard. But if that’s all we can do. And if they, do text or call, just listen. Make it simple with love.
        I’ll be praying, for all us ladies, that’s are hurting.
        A heart thing

    2. Can you just be happy that you raised a self-sufficient adult? Do they have to venerate you and be your friend or perform familial duty? Let him go. He has his own life now and needs to figure out who he is without you. reclaim yours.

      1. This is how I’ve come to see it. I gave them life. It’s their life to live how they see fit. Does it hurt that they don’t want much of a relationship with me? Yes it does. I’m truly happy that they’re happy and self-sufficient but I always imagined that we’d be close. My kids don’t even have much of a relationship with one another. I guess the world is different now.

  32. Divorced after a 30 year marriage, my son, at 21 at time of divorce, claim I cheated, but I didn’t, I gave up, because my ex wife would not share in our relationship, my daughters were different, kept a relationship
    But since the election, we have our differences and I am the bad guy, I used to call in the past every week, even though I would get a message, now I am depressed, don’t call anymore, and feel I not worthy of
    Being their father. I have given up, but I do send cards and gifts to their kids, but never worry about hearing from them, but do worry that they have talked to their kids about me, or tell their kids the gifts came from somewhere else.
    My son and wife never acknowledge receiving gifts, so sad. I have given up, but will keep up with sending gifts to the
    Grad kids birthdays. One day when they get older, they may start questioning their parents, hoping they will come
    To their senses.

    1. I am in the same boat. I feel your pain. After reading the internet dry on ‘adult children of divorced’ parents, I find no solution. I seem to be in the wrong most of the time. It is a new world for communication…..none. Yet I watch other families bond. My self esteem is suffering and my happiness. It is true that we need to put our focus on ourselves and just leave them to live their lives. I am 72 and they are going to blow it…..sad for the grand kids, super sad for us. Know that you are not alone…’s referred to as an epidemic. Stay sane :)

      1. My heart hurts for you. I have two kids and got divorce at 20 years, my son was 16 and my daughter 21. I have been very close to my children but when my son moved out to go to college he asked me to move back to save money to buy his house after a year I told him it was time for him to move out due to he was incredibly disrespectful which he apologized for, A month later he bought a house and I paid someone to help clean it and he was very appreciated, we bought him a brand new bedroom set and all the stuff for his kitchen. I stopped by to say hi and his girlfriend was home and he has cameras because he is a police officer and he called me and yelled at me that he did not want me just dropping by that I needed to call for permission. I felt like he put my heart in a blender at high speed. It has never been the same between us. We all were incredibly close. IM not sure what he is so angry about to this day but I do know I stayed home and raise both of my children and never saw this coming. God knows as parents what we do and one day our kids will be in our position and I pray their kids don’t put them through what they are putting us through. My prayer for you is that someone magical comes into your life that can take some of the time spent on thinking about your children away and allow you to have fun. I know my kids take up way too much time in my mind. Best of luck to you.

      2. I’ve been emotionally, verbally abused by my son, my only child. Almost all of this has to do with his actress,liar,controlling, mentally ill other half not married and I have a gkid, I have no almost noncontact witeither ofnthem, because of HER
        I’m done with his abuse, verbal and emotional, he says things I can’t even defend because they’re so in Layla land!,,. I can’t beleive it has come to this. I’m 68 and he is 43.
        I can’t do this anymore, he doesn’t care. I’m not too sure this is his truth, it is mine.
        I have five other Gkids afrom a 23 yr relationship. THEY ARE MY FAMILY. In do feel guilt, don’t feel it is warranted. It is what it is? This is my only life. I deserve to be happy and T peace. I do not feel this with my son”…..

      3. I have a similar experience. My childhood was great until age 11 when my parents separated. They divorced when I was 14 and my mother remarried.
        My parents sold our childhood home, split the proceeds and led their lives after that mainly with their own self interest as the most important thing.
        It was very difficult for me and I had not parental support for my adult goals. At this time I am barely making it.
        My parents think I am a pathetic loser. The truth is, they are pathetic losers.
        I keep contact with them to an absolute minimum. They never think of my welfare – only theirs. This has been their pattern for 40 plus years. I do t expect it to change.
        Ironically, their parents did not divorce and their families were a tight economic and emotional unit.
        You do reap what you sow. It is ridiculous for old parents to expect a warm and fuzzy relationship with adult children with whom they have had no relationship. They want caregiving just because they procreated and have a false idea that they were great parents. Their re-written” history is something that sickens me (literally) so I keep my distance.

    2. I see these trends—parents giving to much and desiring a relationship with their adult children.

      I have met elderly parents who when asked about their children assisting them in aging issues, heard I often ”Oh, my children are too busy, they have their own lives.” This results in — the government having to take care of the parents totally!

      My cousins are very, very well off but their parents were left in a lurch at time of aging issues.

      I’m thinking this trend is more due to lack of respect and value of parents. I’m very concerned about selfish kids.

      1. Ann im so sorry for this. I dont have grandchildren yet but i understand. Only women that have grown children understand. But my husband and i have figured out that this is not our faults. Children just because they inhabit a grown body doesnt mean they have grown up. When they grow up only then will they realize how important parents are.

      2. Laura we all should be concerned. Somethings not right with this pic. Going through this with my only child my son is 24 married and unless i call or text i get nothing. Thats all i want is one time a week hear that they are ok. A text, a call or message saying hi mom im doing good and a i love you. Heck at this point would take it once a month. Thats just ridiculous. I speak happily with my mom and or dad once a day. I shouldnt have to beg for a simple text.

      3. Amen Laura! This “me, me, me” generation of adult kids are products of us over adequate parents who sacrificed and gave too much. The sense of entitlement these adult kids have is staggering. I’d rather never speak to my kids (who where spoiled, coddled and revered) again before I beg for a visit or text. I gave 125% to my kids: abundant love, support, praise, private education, cars, down payments etc and I’m suppose to take the high road when they treat me like crap? I think not!!! These adult kids need to be grateful, respectful and unselfish. We as loving, generous and compassionate parents EARNED that respect. I gave my kids everything tangible and intangible. I will not give them my self respect! I’m ashamed of them and they can rot as far as I’m concerned. I’ve made a new life for myself – one where the people in my life show love and respect. It’s extremely rewarding and I’ve found happiness and joy without my self-absorbed “busy” adult kids. I suggest that parents stop crying about these adult brats and move on.

    1. Great article. I related a lot to it! I just feel I don’t deserve to be treated better because I wasn’t a good mom really.
      So I take it and listen to my kids, especially my oldest. I told them from my heart I did my best with what I knew, but they find it hard to believe. But I don’t want to be spoken to like that because I really worked on myself to be a better person and mom and I’ll keep working on it!
      We were a dysfunctional family unfortunately. If I only knew then what took me almost my whole life to learn. My kids now are in their thirties and are all healthy and functioning. Thank God! But I know there is repercussion from it.
      Thank you for listening and sharing!

      1. Hi Kathy, your words find an echo in my heart. I also feel I do not deserve to be treated better either. The difference with my story is that I have tried to talk with my adult children, I have asked their forgiveness, but they refuse to be honest about their thoughts. They just keep as far away from me as possible. Every once in a while I get a message with two words from one of them, the other one even more rarely. My life without them and my grandchildren means nothing to me, I have done what I had thought was best for our family, but I did all wrong. I have asked forgiveness, I have asked for them to be honest with me, but they say they have nothing to forgive me for, and yet, there is this distance, this indifference,and there are days when I wake up, I think, “Another day…what for?”. I know I am being ungrateful by thiking this way. I wish you and all here the best.

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