rositalara Asked December 2010

I am a very bright, educated 73-year-old mom. My adult children are rude, scold, reprimand me. What do I do?

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Through the years, we have helped financially, physically with seldom re-payment. We do NOT worry about that. However, we DO worry at the lack of respect. My husband is 76, not well, we want to live in peace.Our daughters do not hide that they prefer their father over me..their rudeness is focused on me. Help!

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jjariz Aug 23, 2017
Time for a family meeting? Let them air any grievances too. Perhaps you can agree on "rules of the road." At our house, I try not to talk to our daughters as though they are my children and instead only speak in a manner that I would with my friends. And they agree to the same rule. It sure helped us.
Blessings,
Jamie
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NancyH Dec 2010
Sounds like this problem is a long time in the making. Why do the girls favor your husband? What kind of pattern did the two of you start when they were younger to have this happen? You and your husband put your heads together and try to remember what got this behavior started in the first place. Then your husband is going to have to do something about it. His first priority is his wife, not his kids. Respect is earned, not automatic, so the kids need to stop with the disrespectful behavior and their dad is probably the one to shape them up.
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scardascia Dec 2010
rositalara, I sympathize with you. I too managed to raise 2 inconsiderate and disrespectful children who are now 31 and 32. Our big mistake was never making them work or wait for anything. Now they are spoiled demanding adults who think we are still responsible for providing for their every whim. They both have good jobs, live in their own apartments and have great social lives. But they think they are entitled to anything and everything we have. We have had several family meetings about this but nothing has improved. My husband and I have recently decided to move about 100 miles away to a +55 community. We're hoping a little distance will force them to stand on their own 2 feet. It's an easy decision for us as there are no grandchildren yet. Hopefully you'll be able to open your childrens eyes that you are not as young as you used to be. I wish you luck.
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Grammyteacher Aug 23, 2017
Developing relationships with adult children can be a challenge. I have 5 so I have a bit of experience. My husband was worked 6-7 days a week, 10-12 hour days because we owned a restaurant. I was "in charge" most of the time, but he did support my decisions, even if he seldom had to execute them. As adults, I found I had to change my way of dealing with these adults who happen to also be my children. Respect goes two ways and you have to "allow" them to stand in their own two feet. This means they will fall some. We can be there but not just to save them... Instead be there to help them stand on their own. I also find that my example speak much louder than my words. Relationships require careful building when it comes to adult children. Good luck!
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golden23 Aug 23, 2017
margaret - I see at least 2 issues here which do intersect.

1) your relationships with your daughters
2) caring for yourself as you age

You have had some good feedback regarding your daughters. Is there any chance the 3 of you could attend a few family counselling sessions? One daughter is yelling at you and one is dissolving in tears and feeling criticised. Can I assume there is some history here? You have said that they are not responding when you mention that you are getting older. There is no guarantee that our children will be able or wish to play any supportive role as we age. There are people who don't have children who manage without. It sounds like, at this point that your dds (dear daughters) are either in denial about your aging issues, or simply do not want to be involved. There is a dilemma for you either way.

Regarding yourself and your life, being on an isolated farm at 70 may not be the best for you or anyone. It sounds like you need more social interaction and everyone, as they age, need to be near services, hospitals etc. Do you have any plans for moving to a less isolated situation? At 80, I am planning to move to a larger center with better services, drs, more cultural and social opportunities etc.

My relationships with my children 3 boys (one deceased) and a girl has not been without problems, but with some effort, we now do pretty well now. It would be a good thing to clarify the issues with your dds and work to resolve them.
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MiaMadre Dec 2010
My heart goes out to you! Talk to your husband about these concerns, write them down if you must, and then have a 'family meeting. If you are not comfortable confronting your daughters, have your HUSBAND explain to your daughters that their behavior is UNACCEPTABLE!

I don't know your family history (nor do 'we' need to know)but I will say that we are treated the way we allow people to treat us. Even if any of your actions were less than perfect in the past, I'm sure they have had their moments too, (seems like they are having more of them lately) you STILL deserve respect.

Try talking to your daughters... let them know what you expect from them, and what you won't tolerate. See what they have to say. Don't make it a confrontation, just a discussion. If it gets to be too much, perhaps you really should consider having a pastor or other family friend act as a mediator and see if there is some common ground you can all stand on.

Honestly, I have to say "shame on them" for not behaving. I know there are two sides to everything, but isn't "Honour thy father and mother" still a commandment? God Bless.
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Veronica91 Aug 23, 2017
My three kids are all in their forties and I treat them as equal adults at this time. I remember that in our forties we would not have welcomed unsought advice from our parents. My mother would never have dared and dad had left many years prior and was more like an uncle than a dad when I finally reconnected with him. Hubby's parents were more likely to offer unsolicited advice but came through with financial help without being asked on many occasions. They were never in any way clingy although my mother was and wanted to know all the details of our lives.
I think it goes back to the way they were raised and how much freedom they were given when younger. I tried not to say no to anything until they had worked out for themselves what the results of their proposed actions would be.
You are starting from a very different stage and current behavior is not acceptable. You say you are well educated and intelligent but have you made some bad decisions recently so they have lost their respect for you? Is this a new behavior or have they been disrespectful from a young age. I think I would seek some professional advice at this point.I don't think a family meeting will solve anything at this point without a mediator.
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pltrickey Dec 2010
Have you told your daughters how you feel? Have you ask them how they would feel if you came into their homes and treated them the way they are treating you? I used this tactic on a son of ours who was disrespecting his father. I threatened to ban him from our home forever if it happened again. It broke my heart to do that but things did improve. Its called tough love at any age.
Your action of caring for an elderly parent speaks very loudly in the hearts of your children. Planning for an alternative kind of care though, gives them a choice to step forward and care for you when you need it. It gives you a choice also. You may not want them to care for you if there is going to be a lot of friction. Old age needs to be peaceful. I am around your age caring for a 99 year old mother at home.
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blannie Aug 2013
Not to be too negative, but your husband sounds like he wanted to be a big kid with your children, not a responsible parent. Most kids grow up and come to understand as adults that all of those parental rules and responsibilities were there for our own good. You and your husband didn't provide a united disciplinary front, so your children perceive you to be the "bad cop".

I agree with the posters above that say your husband holds the key to how your children will be treating you in the future. If he continues with his "hands off" approach, things won't change and you're in for some difficult times. If he steps up and you two present that united front, then maybe your children will begin to act responsibly. I'd set expectations and if they don't meet them, then there will be consequences (no more money/less visits - whatever would work).

But I'd sure be on the lookout for other relatives who might be able to help you when you need it - cousins, nieces or nephews, or even friends who you trust.
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bookluvr Sep 2015
Janie, your husband and son are very co-dependent. They are so co-dependent that they've completely excluded you out. Your husband's work saw this - and took action to separate them. Of the two, your husband fought it the hardest. That shows he is more dependent on his son than the other way around. Not good! With your son's very strong hold on his father, your husband, I would not be very surprise, one day, that you will find yourself outside in the cold.

I don't think your husband is going to try therapy to try to save his marriage. He is happy with his current very close relationship with his son. You need to start planning or protecting your future. But I would not 'rock the boat' but I will definitely start thinking ahead. I think you know this deep down, don't you? Maybe others have some better insights to your situation.
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