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Brenda has been writing since grade school. She attended journalism school where she majored in professional writing. She loves to decorate, garden, read and spend time with her Yorkies.

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Java Talk: Mother & Child Relationships (Young Or Adult)


When my children were babies, I nursed them and held and rocked them and they were content. 

I never dreamed it would become so hard to communicate with them once they reached adulthood. It seems like we are trying to speak the same language on opposite channels.



From skipping down the sidewalk to playing jump rope to going to get ice cream, they seemed easy to appease. 


I was pretty strict, because I was adamant that they respect their elders. Maybe I was too hard on them.

I know I wasn't very affectionate. I didn't come from that kind of people, and it made me rather uncomfortable. (Now I know the why of that. I still don't like touch, unfortunately. But now I realize it is a sensory issue, not a lack of loving others.)

So let's talk about this. Do you have problems communicating with your offspring? 

If your kids are still young, you may want to read this because, let me tell you, you have no idea what may be ahead of you. It can get way out of control very quickly. 

My oldest daughter won't talk to me at all. Hasn't for a year. And I'm somewhat peeved with her as well. But I know time is not infinite, and I've tried to reach her. And she refuses to respond. That's all one can do. 

Please tell us what is going on with your mother/child relationships. Maybe in sharing we can help one another. Or at least find a little comfort.
Cozy Little House
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70 comments:

  1. Brenda, I am very lucky to have very good relationships with both of my children. My oldest daughter and I have had some trouble in the past but we worked thorough it and are very close now. My communication with her is harder then my other daughter but this is because she thinks so differently then I do. We work on it all the time. My younger daughter is so like me that we have never had trouble communicating and sharing our thoughts. She has the two Grands so I spend a lot of time with her family. I'm blessed I know, since I hear so often about estrangements between parents and their children. I guess I just always let me kids know they could talk to me and I would ALWAYS be there for them. I tried not to judge and be open minded. It is not always easy I know. Hope you get some answers and re-establish a relationship with your older child.
    hugs,
    Linda

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    1. You are indeed lucky. Because I've gotten emails from a lot of readers that have estranged relationships with their grown children, and there seems little reason why. Or they don't even know why. I think maybe it's the luck of the draw. When my kids were growing up, I thought I was so lucky that they weren't into drugs. Now I'm on the other side of the coin. I can't figure them out.

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  2. I am closer to my mom now. Especially with taking care of her needs now that she has cancer. (terminal), I have learned to hug her more. Touch is not comfortable for me either. We were never estranged, just not close.

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    1. I guess this is how it is with me and my youngest daughter. We're not estranged, just not close. Have nothing in common but Andrew. I'm so sorry your mother is terminal.

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  3. I have always had a close relationship with my 2 children. I'm very blessed because I know others who do not. My good friend, Ell, has a daughter that she never sees or talks to. Their relationship turned sour when the daughter was in high school and Ell didn't like the boy she was dating. So the daughter left home and moved in with her BF's parents. When it came time for them to get married the girl came around just long enough to get her parent's to pay for the wedding. After that, there was no more communication. Ell hasn't even seen her 2 grandchildren. There is no good explanation for what happened. The girl was always the nicest and most polite girl and how she could turn on her parents that way...who knows? As for my own parenting, I loved my parents but they were way too strict and talked to me like I didn't have sense enough to come in out of the rain, as the saying goes, most of the time. They were always telling me that I couldn't do this or that and I was rarely encouraged. When I became a parent, I was determined to be there for my kids and encourage them and talk to them like I would have liked to have been talked to. Yes, I was somewhat strict because I don't believe in letting kids do whatever they want and wanted to keep them safe as possible, too. They tell me now that they had a great childhood and I was/am a good mother. Music to my ears! I wish every mother could be so fortunate. Were they perfect kids or was I a perfect mother? No way, but we have lots of love between us. To me, that is the key. Love. Don't be afraid to show love. Even if you're not a hugger like I am, then spending time with then and talking is showing love. Don't buy everything they want. That is not a good substitute for time. And for the young mothers out there...reprimanding when necessary is a form of love! Young children need boundaries. Okay, I'll stop now before I write a book. :)

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    1. I tell my daughters I love them. Maybe neither of them or I are huggers. They never ever say it back. But I keep saying it. Hoping someday it will make a difference.

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    2. It will matter to them and probably matters now to know you love them. Maybe they just have a hard time saying it back for whatever reason. Some people just aren't comfortable saying the words.

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  4. I have one child, a son who will be 25 next month. He is not my biological child, he is my stepson but he is my child in my eyes as well as his own. I have been his Mom since he was two years old and raised him with his Daddy.

    He lives in PA and we are in TX so there is a great distance. We've had a turbulent relationship with him most of his life as he had many difficulties. Now that he is an adult it is still a struggle with him to maintain a closeness. And that is mainly because my husband and I have had to make the decision to not take his behavior towards us. We want nothing more than to have a close relationship with him but he makes it very difficult.

    We do our best and give the most that we can. And we walk away when it is necessary from things he may say or do. We will always strive for a relationship with him but he makes it very difficult. Being a parent is so very difficult.

    Belinda

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    1. If someone had told me how difficult, I may never have had children!

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  5. I was one of the lucky ones. I had a wonderful mother--still have as she is 90 years old. And she had a wonderful mother. I had a pattern there but there were times I fell far short of the pattern. Even so, I am one lucky woman to have a close relationship to all 4 of our grown kids. The one time that my relationship was strained with one, I blame on my having been 3 months on a sugar free, bread free diet. Really! And 2 nights of insomnia. I was such a grouch. It was so silly. I felt that plans being made for my time were being taken out of my hands and I said things that hurt.

    Not to imply that that was the only mistake I ever made with my kids, oh no. I regret so much the early years with our first two that they had to see me and their father almost self-destructing in our marriage. Thankfully, we finally began to grow up. And they still love us, a miracle!

    My heart goes out to you, Brenda. I've been following you long enough to know how much you've tried. You can only do so much for an adult child. Some things they just have to work out for themselves. I hope your daughter will with time.

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    1. Well, none of us are perfect. I thought as my kids aged, this would become more readily apparent. My oldest is nearly 41. Seems to be going the wrong way.

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  6. You know about my relationship with my son. He's very difficult to deal with, but he always has been. He's living in California and I talk to him once in awhile, but not a lot because he loves to stir the pot in our family. I just hope one day he'll grow up.

    Annie on the other hand is a great kid. She's had her ups and down and we don't always see eye to eye, but we've always been there for one another.

    Like I told you, my grandfather had a saying... "You can raise two kids the exact same way and one could turn out to be president and the other could end up in jail."

    There's only so much we can do as parents. It's up to them to do the rest.

    xoxo,
    rue

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    1. It's been very hard to just fully step back. I mean, they're your child for heaven's sake, no matter how old they are. You say I love you and let's talk. And you can't make them. You can't get through to them. There's really nothing you can do.

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  7. I have always said it is harder to be the parent to adult children than young children. You have no control when they get older.

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    1. Oh heavens, when they were young, it was a piece of cake! I didn't know that then, but I sure do now!

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  8. I can only tell you from a child's (an adult) prospective, as a daughter since I do not have children. I have had my ups and downs with my own mother. But I was always the bigger person to make amends. Now that I am divorced from the one person that negatively affected our relationship, my mother and I are much closer. My mom and I are similar in ways, but very different in others. I tend to forgive and forget and she holds grudges forever. There was a point in time I didnt talk to my parents. Two years. It had again alot to do with the person I was married to. I tried to make peace in my marriage by not speaking to my parents, because that is what he wanted. I will never allow a person to ever come between me and my parents.

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    1. I've gone over it and over it so many times. Trying to figure out what went wrong. I know about some things she is angry about. But if I had it to do over, I wouldn't change what I did at the time. So where does that leave us?

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    2. We shouldn't expect to have "control" over our adult children. We did what we wanted younger and so should they. Our sure most parents didn't like the direction we went in either.

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  9. I was blessed beyond measure with my mother! She was a quiet woman to the world but not with her children. She loved us unconditionally and we felt it every day of our lives while she lived. I am haunted by her death which I have not been able to fully grieve because her suffering was unbearable for me.

    As a mother myself, I have been richly blessed. My daughter is a sensitive sweet soul. She has had some personal setbacks and I think they have made her mature in some ways far above her age.

    I hit the jackpot with my mother and daughter and couldn't have asked for sweeter, more thoughtful souls.

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    1. Then consider yourself a rich woman. Money does not make one rich. Maybe more comfortable. Family and love is what makes you rich. And I'm feeling pretty poor.

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  10. Oh, Brenda...this is such a difficult topic but I am so glad that you had the guts to bring it up. I didn't. I've been estranged from my only son for two years. I made the mistake of posting a couple photos of the grandchildren on my blog and their mother became very upset, mostly due to cultural differences I was unaware of (she is from an Asian country). This has led to "no contact" and I miss them all so much. I know you and I have "talked" about our situations a bit by e-mail...so painful, especially on holidays like Mother's Day. Life is so short. I think I'm a pretty nice person and hate to be categorized as "toxic".When we were young parents, we had so much respect for our in-laws and never would have dared call them by their first names, forget their special days or cut them off . Today, some counselors seem to be advising stressed out Gen X'ers to simply remove former loved ones from their lives instead of trying to work things out. (No time for real conversation? only text?). I understand the need to protect yourself if you have been an abuse victim but tat is definitely no the case in our family. It started with miscommunication and misunderstanding. I've done some research on this topic and follow a forum or two that lead me to conclude that this problem is growing as out adult children's lives become more and more stressful. One forum is called PEACE (Parents of Estranged Adult Children). There is also an ongoing thread about this in the "Retirement" sub-forum at City-Data.com. My heart breaks for others who are going through this. Thank you so much for bringing it up for discussion, Brenda.
    Cheryl

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    1. I learned to treat those older than I with the utmost respect. That seems sadly lacking today.

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  11. I have three children. I was never a hugger but I thought they knew I loved them. It wasn't until I began to lose my parents and in laws that it dawned on me how much one needs to hear that they are loved. I have come late to hugging and pronouncements of love but the change in our relationships is amazing. While hugging is still a little stiff, I can rest easy that while it's uncomfortable at times for me, it is so meaningful to them.

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    1. I say it. I just never hear back. Don't know what the deal is.

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  12. I had a very difficult and somewhat traumatic childhood as my parents were alcoholics. My mother was also bipolar and my father suffered from depression. We were never completely estranged, but we were not close either.
    As a result of my childhood I wanted nothing more than a close relationship with my own two daughters, and I worked hard to achieve that. I was firm in their discipline, but loving and affectionate at the same time. We did hit some rough patches over the years when I did not agree with the direction they were taking in their lives...but they tell me now as 30 something adults that I was always a great mother. Which is the highest compliment I could receive, considering that I had horrible parental role models in my own life.
    Brenda, just keep trying with your daughters. It's never too late to work at repairing your relationship with them. I know that Aspergers lack empathy and can be selfish without realizing it. Maybe that is what is hard for your girls... I've been reading your blog for a long time and I remember when you decoupaged the kitchen cabinets at the little house you were renting from your oldest daughter. Your daughter needed to sell that house and you had no care that you had basically destroyed the kitchen cabinets and left that for your daughter to repair/change before she could sell the house. Now I thought that was very selfish on your part at the time. And I imagine there was a lot of selfishness on your part that both of your daughters have experienced. But knowing now that you have Aspergers that explains a lot. Have you talked to them about your new diagnosis? Maybe that would help them understand you better and you could start to work on repairing your relationship. I believe your oldest daughter must feel severely wounded by you to not have any communication with you for so long. Estrangement is never an easy decision for anyone and involves a lot of pain for anyone making the decision to terminate their relationship with their own mother.....

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    1. My daughter didn't sell the house. She's living in it. Yes, I've talked to my younger daughter about it. My oldest daughter says she doesn't have time in her life for anyone else, and I respect her wishes. I just want to say here that there's a lot more to the story that I can't divulge, so please don't judge me too harshly.

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    2. Brenda, I truly am not judging you. Whether your daughter sold the house or not wasn't the point - it was your total lack of respect for it being her property to begin with. Just trying to provide some insight as to your attitude towards her that came through loud and clear, but there again that can be attributed to the lack of empathy that a person with Asperger usually shows.... I was just trying to provide some insight. I am sorry if I have upset you.

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    3. “A ground-breaking theory suggests people with autism-spectrum disorders such as Asperger’s do not lack empathy – rather, they feel others’ emotions too intensely to cope.”

      https://seventhvoice.wordpress.com/2013/11/16/new-study-finds-that-individuals-with-aspergers-syndrome-dont-lack-empathy-in-fact-if-anything-they-empathize-too-much/

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  13. It has been a difficult year for me and my 2 granddaughters - we were so close when they were younger and now they don't realize how hurtful they can be. I think it is the luck of the draw - when I see happy families I say I once had that but oh how it changes. Holidays are the worse - but now I have learned to do it alone and wish the day would be over.

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    1. I just treat holidays like any other day of the week. And I agree. I don't think people are as "special" as parents as they sometimes believe. They just sometimes get lucky.

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  14. My oldest son is 35 and is an alcoholic. After paying for his second rehab he continues to drink. I talk with him occasionally but is hard because I hate to see him ruining his life. My second son is recovering from several years of drug addiction. Trying to help him while he is trying to start his life again. I have a wonderful dog. My advice have pets instead of children. My life would have been less stressful.

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    1. I know how it feels to get to that point. But knowing what I know now, I would not have had children. I don't think I had the knowledge of what it took to be a parent, having never had one myself. So it was rather selfish on my part to even have children. I should have just been a pet parent.

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  15. Hi Brenda...this is a tough subject...MY mom has never shown me or my 8 siblings any love ever...she had 6 girls and 3 boys...me and my 5 sisters r very loving and we all have great relationships with our children so we are very lucky that way...my mom will be 89 in Sept this year and she lives just a few miles from me but never do I see her or hear from her...we just had a family reunion and I chose not to go...I was the only one who didn't go...I had no reason to go as none of us associate with each other so I went to my granddaughers softball tournament instead...we all have reasons for why we choose to do what we do or not do...no one will ever know why as we all have different personalities...all we can do is be thankful for what we have and just take life one day at a time...I will be married 42 years next month so I am fortunate to have me the best husband ever and what I have lacked in love and affection from my family Ihave received from my husbands family andour family we have made together...God seen to that! so don't feel bad Brenda..every family has their ups and their downs...I just roll with the flow..take care! keep happy thoughts! Carol

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  16. I know I have a far different view of this subject than many and that's OK since I have seen what I believe to be truth be fact in life..

    an egg and a sperm connect and a new human entity forms and comes to life in this earthly plane.. they call such an Individual for a reason few which to accept. Words are real- anyone can look up Individual and get its clear and detailed meaning so I wont post it here.

    Parenthood is not ownership- mother father sister brother cousin and such are Labels determined by society to distinguish a group of Individuals:) technically, the labels mean nothing if heart felt feelings have not been fostered and developed between said Individuals.
    Sorry to burst anyone's bubble here but 90% of all family relationships are based on societies expectations- familiarity and Guilt if "labeled relationship" is not adhered to as has come to be the expectation.
    Love and Friendship cannot be demanded nor expected- it must be developed by each individual to another be free choice and heartfelt feeling. When it isn't both parties should part as amicably as possible and not force themselves to remain in a unpleasant or worse, toxic relationship.. Its unhealthy, mentally- emotionally and physically.
    If 30 individuals were in a room, you'd really like some and hope to develop a relationship- like some and as time were on maybe you'd meet and enjoy each others company again - you feel neutral about Most of them and highly likely there would be some you'd dislike and wish not to be in their presence ever again:) and of course your feelings and preferences would be fine and perfectly acceptable... So why not so if said Individual happens to care one of societies LABELS?? see what I mean, doesn't make any form of rational sense and yet- its what humans continue to do over and over.
    How many times have you heard or read " well ya know I love them but I don't like them",, millions probably.. That phrase is born of guilt or societies demand.. If you fall for that, then you spend much of your life tied to, surrounded and subjected to people you don't like and who don't like you.. what a scam, expectations are, as well as very damaging.
    IF people could tell the truth- which of course is the worst sin of all lol, they would tell you that the death of those "Labeled Folks" brought them Relief and contentment, knowing the pressure to pretend to feel that which you do not, has finally ended.. That's the rub though- we are so indoctrinated that we dare not even THINK such or we are BAD and something is terribly wrong with us.
    From our first breath the "programming" begins and often ends only with our last breath.
    How sad is that ~!

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    1. ps- love what Carol P said.. that woman has a brain and it functions, which is a rare find..:)

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    2. Sonny, you said exactly what I feel. I am not close to any of my siblings and felt free to walk away and live my own life with those I cared to be around. I have friends I feel are like sisters to me and sisters who have never felt like a friend.

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    3. Sonny, you said exactly what I feel. I am not close to any of my siblings and felt free to walk away and live my own life with those I cared to be around. I have friends I feel are like sisters to me and sisters who have never felt like a friend.

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    4. Sonny G, I think I understand what you are expressing, and there is truth in what you say. But your way of expressing it is exactly the way that my ex-husband would talk to me. It made it pretty impossible for us to have a loving relationship. He was very principled, but he put his principles above people, particularly his wife. He constantly spoke of labels and society and programming and brainwashing and rarely used words like husband and wife and family and I love you. Our marriage couldn't survive it. But then, he saw marriage, after all, as a social construct, rooted in programming...well, maybe you see my point. Even when someone says something that is truthful, it isn't very conducive to nourishing love.

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  17. My son has been estranged from us for about 5 years. It happened gradually once he married. I've tried calling, e-mailing and writing. He won't respond. Like you say, it's all we can do. I won't try again.

    It hurts like hell. My heart goes out to you Brenda.

    S
    xo

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    1. And mine to you. Nothing hurts like the rejection of a child. Or the opposite of course.

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  18. I had/have a good relationship with both my sons. (I say "had" because, as you know, Phil passed away almost 6 years ago.) When Phil hit his teen years though, he became increasingly difficult in behavior and communication due to his depression and then addiction problems. We never gave up on him though and always loved him and tried our best to keep the lines of communication open, but he was the one who was very introverted and not very open with us. Tim on the other hand, is the opposite. He's also been very open and honest with me and we have a very close, loving and nurturing relationship. It's grown even more since Phil passed away and since Tim has gotten a little older and matured.

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    1. Oops, typo...should read "He's ALWAYS been very open and honest with me", not ALSO.

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    2. I know how much you miss your son. I hear it in your words and in between the lines. I'm so very glad you have such a close and loving relationship with your younger son.

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  19. Dear Brenda....So very sorry about the difficulties you are having with your children. Intimate relationships can be so complex and stressful. The thing is, you did your best with what you believed was the "right" thing to do, at the time. You can not expect yourself to do more than your best. There is always something in hind sight we would have changed "if we knew then what we know now". Life is what it is. We all have areas of our personalities that need work. You love your children and they are now adults and share the "burden" of patience, long suffering and maturity. Give them time to work out all their stuff. They aren't all together either. We are all frail and "works in progress".. If you are a woman who prays, pray for them. Just keep a "light on in the window" and, let them know you love them, even if they don't love you. It is all okay. Sometimes we just have to wait for everyone to get on board and realize what it really means to be a family...it isn't always pretty but it is always worth it. Build a bridge, when they pull it together they can cross over into your "uncomfortable" but open arms. You can do this. Maybe even a kiss or two.♥

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    1. Complex is the right word. Things in life seem to be so very complex.

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  20. I have 5 girls, ages 36, 34, 26, 24, 16. My girl that is 36 hasn't talked to anyone in the family, except the occasional comment on a Facebook page, for 14 years. She has 3 children of her own, ranging from 14 to 11. We have never seen them, except for 1 time when she posted a picture of them on Facebook. This is the only girl that does not live here in my town. My 24 year old girl hasn't talked to anyone here for almost 5 years. She has 2 children, 6 & 2. This daughter did some things to a sister that really became a nightmare. Hurt feelings between the girls still are going strong. It is so sad, especially at birthdays and holidays. As a parent, I tried to do everything I could for my girls. Their father was a brute and while he would roar with rage, I tried to take the brunt of it. I was not brave enough to leave him, as I was not allowed to work, so I never had job experience nor any money to leave. I know my oldest holds that against me, no matter how many letters I write to her to apologize. I hope everyday that this can be worked out. One only has so many days in a lifetime.

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    1. Deb, you don't know how much I understand your words. I lived it too.

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  21. I am very happy with my relationship with my kids. That said, they are teenagers and there are plenty of days when I am so frustrated with them and I know that they feel the same about me. No one knows what the future holds, I would like to think that we will always get along well, but like my dad said, raising kids is 50% parenting and 50% luck. So here's hoping!

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  22. Non judgmental listening without quick responses, gives time for understanding/really hearing what was said, gives time for processing... on both sides and hopefully useful space for integrating the new knowledge of the child's perspective before continuing a dialogue. As parents, I believe we take the role of peace maker. If, after all that, there are still barriers that remain on either side, what can you do. There used to be sliding scale mental health clinics where family counseling was available. It does take two for a relationship so both sides have to do the work with an open heart. I heard somewhere that one side can not do all the work in a relationship. Sometimes all we can do as parents is send love and forgive many times if needed. LOVE may eventually heal, or sadly for many, nothing ever changes. The attachment theory of parenting is very interesting. Ever researched that?

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  23. I'm sorry to hear of the continued estrangement with your eldest daughter. My thoughts echo what some of your other reader's have said and that is to give it more time and continue to tell and show her that you do love her.

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  24. I am reading such sad stories here, it's mind boggling that there are so many strained relationships between children and parents. Of course I'm not immune from them although I tend to only confide in a close few...it's not something I want on the Internet. Then again, you have been so open and honest on your blog FOREVER and that has encouraged so many women to open up, share and learn from each others experiences.

    I'm always going to have a bumpy/hilly road with my kids. Each one is so different from the other. Sometimes I feel like a referee or pulled between them, Other times I feel left out or ignored. Even in the most loving families it's easy to hurt each others feelings and to learn how to be open and honest and SHOW love. My biggest 'take away' from having adult children is they don't always have the smarts, or kindness or thoughtfulness, no matter how you raised them. Maybe they will as they mature, when, who knows? I try to roll with it. I can't let my own personal happiness be swayed by their ever changing growing and trying to figure out the world.

    I really pray you and daughters reach some sort of happy medium. If you do, I know you will be more fulfilled. If not-please know that you have everything inside of you to have a complete and contented life.

    Love to you,

    Jane x

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    1. Jane, that last line is golden! Brenda, what do you think?

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  25. When we become mother's we aren't issued a manual or How To Book on what to do and what not to do. We fly by the seat of our pants. The older I get and I hear of children disregarding the parents it saddens me so much, but I hear it a lot. I have a 42 yo step son who hasn't been to see his dad in 5 years now, I never thought I'd see the day that this happened. I have a very loving relationship with my 25 yo daughter, maybe too much so, but she has chosen to stay home and help me with her dad who has Alzheimer's. We never know when the dynamics in our families will change. I am so happy for you that you now have a relationship with your younger daughter and she shares your grandson with you.

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  26. The best way to have loving relationships with your children, young and old, is to say you are sorry for upsetting them. I cannot say it enough, say you are sorry, say please forgive me....I am sorry, I am sorry, I am sorry. Usually the problem between child and mother is that one or both are STUBBORN and won't give in and say,"I am sorry". Say it even if you think you are not the one who did the wrong.

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  27. Only mother's who have felt this pain can ever understand what it feels like.you try to bury the pain but it always seems to surface. Children can be your biggest joy or your biggest sorrow. It is so sad but it helps knowing that . I am not alone in my . pain. Hugs to all of you. KRIS

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  28. From a daughter's perspective, I adored my mother and thought of her as my best friend right up until the day she passed. We had our rough patches but never lost sight of how much we loved each other. I have one brother, 2 years older than me, who I chose to cut communication with about 30 years ago. It wasn't an easy choice to make but our history made it the only choice for me. I was newly married with my first child on the way and I didn't want his brand of toxicity to touch my kids. I have 2 kids myself and have good relationships with both. My daughter lives nearby and I see and speak to her often. My son is in the military and is stationed too far away to see each other more than once or twice a year but we talk on the phone about once a week. The last thing I say to my kids on the phone, in person or in e-mail is "I love you". If I die suddenly, I want them to always remember my last words to them were "I love you". I consider myself very lucky to have this kind of relationship with my kids - it hasn't always been easy.

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  29. I know how hard that you have tried with your daughters. I truly feel that they have unresolved issues that really have nothing to do with you. You showed them love from the time they were born. You have not been selfish at all. Keep telling them you love them. They will come around and if they don't, you have done the best you can. You have to believe that you have and stop putting the blame on yourself.
    As far as my relationship with my mother. This is harsh, I love her because she is my mother. If she wasn't I wouldn't. I do care about her. I am her black sheep. I don't care about material things and I don't drink. She is always putting me down. Although now she wants a close relationship as she is aging. Years of hurt hampers that.
    I don't judge my adult kids. We have close relationships. One son won't let his kids come here because he blames my dog for an illness that his daughter and I got. Really stupid. But he still loves us and we get to see his family. A lot has to do with his wife. I can't share on my blog but her mother has been ill and as it gets worse, the way she treats me is worse. Other family members know how she is and they don't like it. She treats them differently but I am the one that it seems to come back to. They are in Vegas right now. I stopped by on their request to do a favor for them before they left. They had bags all marked and ready to go for their daughters while they were gone. All for people taking care of the girls. But yet not us. I am more available than any of the others but not asked.
    Didn't mean to go on about this but just wanted you to see.......sometimes love is not enough. We raised three great successful well liked children.
    We struggle with the youngest one that was adopted. He currently is living with people that he doesn't even know their last names. He says horrible things to us and then a day later acts like it never happened. I think my husband and I have decided that we still love him but can't help him any longer. We have helped.him too much. He is disabed mentally which makes not helping him hard.
    Just an example of parenting
    You do your best and can't beat yourself up if it isn't enough. Hugs

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  30. I am sitting here in a hospital ICU at my mother's bedside. She is on a ventilator. She has Alzheimer's and doesn't know who I am. I am here because she IS my mother.
    Growing up, I know that she loved me dearly. But she was very manipulative , controlling and never allowed me any privacy or personal space. I learned to keep everything inside because of that. Even now, I seem to not be able to let people "in". Her life wasn't easy. My dad, although a wonderful provider, suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and rage. You never knew wether it would be a hit or a hug. So I think she smothered me because she had all of this love to give and my dad was mentally unavailable.
    Like or not like, love or not love- all too complex for this late stage of the game. But she Is my mother and I will always respect her and provide care for her. My feelings are that if you don't respect your mother and I don't mean respect what she did or how she lived but rather that biological connection- you can't respect yourself. This person gave You life.

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  31. Brenda, It's funny you wrote about this as I am struggling with a son and daughter-in-law who have decided to cut off ties with me. I don't know why. My gut says it's her, but who knows? They have my only 2 grandchildren and I love them all dearly. I sometimes feel like I'm the only mother without a good releationship with their grown children. My other son and I get along just fine. The pain is sometimes unbearable. I know how you feel and would give anything to change it for you. I have written letters, emails and still nothing. I would do anything to fix things, if I only knew what to fix. I recently broke out in shingles the Dr said from stress. This is really the only stress I have and was dwelling on it. Letting go is something so hard to do.

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  32. I have my own personality, my children have theirs, my parents have theirs. I tend to watch my parents, and remember they were raised in a different time and world. How they react to stress and problems is way different than I do, even though I hear my Dad or Mom talk when I open my mouth! I watch my children struggle with life and relationships and with each other. Trying to understand each other, but failing at times and having arguments or tears. They are each different but so alike in many ways. I just smile when they complain and tell them that even though that particular sibling may bug the heck out of them, that one will be there when you really need them. I have made it very plain to them that I love them more than life itself, but you will not walk on me or disrespect me. But, at the same time I want them to be honest and above board with me. If they don't agree with me, tell me, I'm willing to listen to your point of view, try to see the merit in it and give them the freedom to talk to me about anything. I raised them to fly, and fly they have. They are wonderful, honorable human beings, and I'm very proud of them. My parents taught me unconditional love, and I've tried my best to pass that along to them. I have been very, very blessed! I am so blessed. Can't say that enough.

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    1. Susan, you sound like a wise woman. I like your parenting philosophy.

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  33. Just keep telling them that you love them Brenda..You may think that it doesn't matter..but it does....

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  34. My advice is counter to the other posters. Maybe your daughter doesn't respond because when you say you love her she really doesn't believe it. Perhaps saying you're thinking of her and hope her summer is going well would be another route to re-connect. Especially if every time you say "I love you" her mind snaps to old grievances and her unspoken reply a litany of "Then why___" fill in the blank. Not that you necessarily did anything wrong to justify it, but that could be going on.

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  35. Brenda, a book I've been reading has helped me as the mother of adult children. It's called Walking on Eggshells: Navigating the Delicate Relationship Between Adult Children and Parents. I've been putting some of the things she recommends into practice even with my teenagers still at home, and I do see positive changes happening. One thing that is hard for us moms is to turn off the mothering when they hit adulthood. Our grown children need our support, but only when it's asked for. And this is hard for us when we've spent so many years being in their business as mothers naturally are. It's a totally new situation once they hit adulthood.

    Your children love you, Brenda. They are just struggling through life like you are. See if you can get this book from your library or buy it from Amazon. You can get it for almost nothing there. Mine was a penny plus shipping. Cheap!

    Giving you a big (((hug))), my dear. Where there's life, there's hope.

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  36. I think so often of you, Brenda and the struggle you have had with your daughters. Our relationships with our children definitely change when they become adults. I know that I will never stop loving my daughters no matter what and I can't wait to see them more often. I have struggled with the relationship with my own mother my whole life, but she is almost 91 and so I try to be more understanding. xo Laura

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  37. We had the ups and downs with our teenage girls, but we always always loved them. After loosing our oldest to chickenpox at age thirty two, my husband and I raised our two granddaughters,they were eight and nine at the time. Each of our four girls we loved unconditionally, and sometimes we were strict and judgemental, but each of them we pray knew we loved them. We were old fashioned parents, we cared, we loved and we fought verbally about
    their needs, their rights, and yes sometimes their freedom. We loved them and they us. Our worst trait, was probably sheltering them too much. We feel blessed today to know each young lady is responsible, employed, caring and have families of their own. Often we are asked by them...How did you ever survive the nonsense each of us gave you? Easy we loved them all, and patience had a lot to do with it too. It is life, would I let my pride get in the way, and have to be right all the time? I did when I was younger for short periods, then knew it wasn't helping to resolve disagreements...so I hugged, and loved each. We are here for such a short time, God willing....reach out. I offer no real answers, every family is different. Wish you well Brenda, bet your daughters do care, just like you care. I have been reading your blog for years, my goodness you have had some trying times to be sure, but you will bounce back. Patience & love to you.

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  38. I have a very good relationship with my daughter, we always have been close and I really don't know how that happened! lol! I was not close with my parents from about age 16 until I had my daughter at 21 but my daughter and I have always been close. My parents and I are not huggers although I've tried to start doing it more now that they are getting older. I made sure that I hugged my daughter a LOT when she was younger, we don't do it so much anymore (she's almost 25 now) but we still tell each other "I love you" whenever we talk on the phone.

    There was a period of time, when I was married to my last husband, when I could feel her slipping away. I married him when she was about 9 and at first they got along great but shortly after he started picking on her. He had two boys of his own who in his eyes were angels but my daughter he thought was bad. She wasn't... and his weren't angels either... they were all typical kids. But he would NOT let up and she started staying away from the house as much as she could. I finally left him BECAUSE he wouldn't let up on her and it wasn't just being hard on her either, it was weird, mind games type things that he did to her and I started to worry about her when she came home from school and he was home (got off work earlier than I) and I was still at work. I've had people tell me that I shouldn't have left, that your husband should always come before your kids, and I disagree. He was not her dad, she was older when we got married and they didn't bond, and he was flat out picking on her and I warned him... "Do not make me choose between my daughter and you because you WILL lose". He pushed it and he lost. After we left, things between her and I went back to the way they were and we still have an awesome relationship to this day.

    Tania

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  39. My relationship with my two kids (son aged 30 and daughter aged 28) is pretty good considered the rocky road we've been on. Their dad and I divorced when they were 4 and 2, and all four of us have had a lot of wounds and scars and fears and guilt and anger and all of the other baggage associated with badly paired spouses with kids who then become badly paired ex-spouses with kids. There have been times my kids and I argued and didn't speak, but the not speaking was never for more than a few weeks, long enough to cool off. Right now, they are finally at a point of being in decent jobs, and they have more stability, so our conversations can be more lighthearted. My daughter just moved to a different state for a new job that is putting her on a career track, and it's an exciting time for her, so we've been texting a lot about her experiences. My son lives in my town, so, we see each other once every week or so.

    I think my relationship with them is good because I try to let them be themselves, and not appendages of me. They are both very different from me and different from each other, and I try to never compare them. I also rarely am with them at the same time, because they start snarking at each other. But they can get together alone and do pretty well. My son just helped my daughter move, which was really nice, and I paid for the gas. That was a good arrangement that had us all involved!

    Also, I give my kids the room to tell me when they are mad at me, and I listen. Sometimes I am able to say, you are right, and I apologize. Other times, I say, well, I see your point, and I am sorry I didn't think to look at it that way, but I have a point too, and I hope you can see it from my perspective. And we hash it out. I try to talk to them adult to adult, not mom to kid. My mom, at age 85, pretty much always talks to me mom to kid, and I am 59. So, our communications aren't so good!

    I tell my kids I love them and give them hugs. When my mom says I love you, it's generally after she's given me a lecture, and then she says I love you in a way that feels false, like, she's saying I love you now that I've set you straight. I try not to set my kids straight. I try to say, there are a lot of paths and none of them are very straight. They are all bumpy. I hope I can be of support, and I'll try to listen when you think I am tripping you up on your path, and get out of the way unless I think you are about to go over a cliff!

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