Joseph Coleman, PhD, wrote the book, When Parents Hurt. His topic’s a hot one right now. How’d I hear about it? Friends of mine…It seems many are going through painful times with grown children and they’re adrift.
Here’s what I hear: “My adult ‘kids’ don’t ever seem to appreciate anything I’ve done for them.” “They disregard the reality I paid for their educations…cars…weddings.” “Hell…my kids don’t even have college loans and you know how rare that is!” (most young adults, today, are shellacked with school debt.)
“They accept it all as if I did what was expected” (tho’ they’ve got friends who got none of these perks from their own parents.)
Many mothers of divorce situations say their adult children are far more tolerant of absentee fathers than they are of them, despite the fact many were Dead-Beat Dads who spurned them for years, never bothering to acknowledge the connection.
Now, in supreme irony, those adult ‘kids’ reconnect with those same fathers, affording them respect in the process.
The women I talk to reference a deep resentment—especially from grown daughters, to their mothers, and these women are in significant pain. They can’t understand a scenario that sees them, later in life, served indifference…criticism…outright disrespect.
Is it the mere fact these women were of the first generation to go to work outside the home, raising children against that backdrop? These were the women who sought childcare (in an era that saw few providers) to allow them to work. They facilitated Scouts’ meetings, CCD (religious instruction), dance lessons, sports, school activities, doctors’ and dentists’ appointments, birthday parties, holiday events.
And they often did those solo (meaning non-custodial parent was off the responsibility hook.)
They juggled innumerable roles…roles often passed off to others in today’s modern families.
And now they’re served up a good portion of adult child resentment.
In supreme irony, those same parents are now told they didn’t do it ‘right enough.’
Oh, there are scads of books on the shelves today dealing with kid problems….How to help kids on the torturous path to adulthood; How to protect against bullying; How to integrate blended families.
These all promise the problems will ease…Adolescence will pass…
What there seems to be lacking, however, are books offering real help to parents with Adult ‘Kids’…Those who denied themselves personal freedom and self-pursuit to get those same adult kids to where they are today.
From where I sit: This is an untapped audience and they’re waiting….Many of them confused, bewildered, and angry. They’re waiting for sociologists and others who profess to understand human behavior to help them figure out where it all went so wrong….and why they must bear so much pain.
If you’re one, pick up this book….It just might help you understand a new national movement documented in Coleman’s book, When Parents Hurt. Here’s an excerpt:
Not a Parenting Book
For all of its glory and gut-busting work, parenting is a dangerous undertaking. You put in long hours, examine every decision and action, do the best you can, and yet the child who once adored and needed you can come to reject, shame, or belittle you. The sweet kid who wrote you love notes and gave you hugs has written you off, or gives you the finger instead.
This book is written for parents who have concluded, after years of therapy, medication trials, soul searching, or family interventions that they should stop listening to all of those other parents, pediatricians, psychologists, and talk show experts who say that if they only do steps one through seven, they, too can have the relationship with their child that they always wanted. They have decided that these well-meaning advisors are naive, misinformed, or plain ignorant and wrong, because frankly, they are. Their advice is based on a parenting model that offers little to those who are greeted by pain, guilt, or disappointment every time they open the door to their teenager’s room or try to get their grown child to return their calls.
Now, the question remains: “Is there hope?” “And if you’re the parent involved, do you even want that, anymore?”(Cuz maybe you’re so-o very tired of waiting….)
On another note, remember the child-rearing guru so many of us listened to, in the 50′s–Dr. Spock (no, not the one of “Star Trek fame)..His own grandson committed suicide, so it would appear that family didn’t have all the answers, either. Perhaps no one has.
What do you say? Are you one of the puzzled adults who doesn’t understand why this present generation is so angry with their Moms? If you’re not–but know someone who is–send this article to them to let them know the problem isn’t theirs alone.
That fact will give them small comfort in what’s becoming an ever-increasing problem.