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Archive for June, 2015

img_car_fam03Dear Gary and Joy Lundberg,

I read your article, “5 ways adult children hurt their parents without realizing it.” It was a timely read as I visited my aging father over the weekend. Though you make some excellent points, I’d like to respond with points of my own.

Your Point 1: You don’t call them much

You note that adult children should “be sure to include some good news” when they call. They have to because if the children don’t include some good news, there won’t be any at all. Every time I call my father, or Eddie calls his mom, or my coworker Anita calls her father, etc., we hear about exploding spleens, the consistency of colon output, new affronts to personal world view, “that damn doctor,” or “these kids today.”

Adult children understand that parents have less control over their lives and that makes them scared and angry. Children also understand that parents are on many medications that alter their mood. But that behavior also makes visits seem like being held hostage by an angry badger. Would you repeatedly subject yourself to an angry badger? What if the badger was not only angry, but also complained when you didn’t allow yourself to be held hostage?

What’s worse is that children remember what their parents were like when they were growing up. They compare the new, cranky badger parent with the memory of the parent who raised them. Often those seem like two completely different people.

Aging isn’t fun; everyone knows that. Adult children know it too as they also are aging. People can either try to have a positive attitude or they can be angry badgers. Don’t be an angry badger.

Your Point 2: You ask them for money

Your comment, “You’re an adult and capable of providing for yourself and family,” is so true. So true! I know of many adult children who are still sucking off the teat. Their parents should stop allowing it, but parents love to be needed. Saving the day is a hard habit to break.

But what about when children have to take care of their parents plus their teat-sucking brethren? What about the families where there is one responsible adult child and the rest are deadbeats? What about adult children — part of the so-called “sandwich generation” — who  are worrying about paying for their parents’ assisted living plus their children’s college? In about five years, I likely will be touring residence halls for both my father and my son. That sounds delightful.

Your Point 3: You forget their birthdays

I’ve got no issue with that. Everyone should remember birthdays and holidays. And, if you have any relationship at all with your mother or father, then you should call them (at least) on Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Even lazy folks can post a Facebook status. That’s where the older people are anyway, right?

Your Point 4: You don’t offer them your help

While it’s true that it is a good idea to offer specific suggestions (“Hey, can I clean out those gutters?”), what happens when parents are offended by offers to help? I know from personal experience that these offers can make parents angry and defensive. You say, “Can I clean your bathroom?” and they hear, “Good lord, Man! What happened in your bathroom? Who exploded? You can’t see that crime scene in there?” Many parents become outraged at offers of help or any suggestions.

Your point 5: You don’t include them in your family events

I agree with you: Children should invite parents to be part of special events. You also offer this advice, “If they invite you and your family over for dinner, accept the invitation and show up.” Shouldn’t the same be said to parents? Aging parents often live in different cities from their offspring. Sometimes parents are not as mobile as their children. But they should still want to be in their children’s and grandchildren’s lives. There’s always Skype.

Parents spend much of their lives yelling at their children to “Get a job!,” “Settle down!” and “Have some kids!” Then when their children get a job, settle down and have some kids, their parents want them to forget all that and spend more time with them. Adult children can’t win. They have responsibilities, are pulled in many different directions, and want to make everyone happy. It’s not possible.

ChastRoz0011398889741Your closing paragraph includes the sentence, “Look at how you are treating your parents and ask yourself if this is the way you want your children to treat you when they’re grown.” OK. There’s also this for adult children: “Look at how your parents are treating you and ask yourself if this is the way you want to treat your children when you are old.”

Even though Eddie tells our sons that he is going to take off his clothes, run around their house, and sit naked on their couch when he is old just like they do to us, we know he is just kidding. (Good God, I HOPE he is just kidding.) I’m learning what I will not do to my children.

A legacy is the memories a person leaves behind. I plan to make sure the good memories outweigh the bad.

Hope you see there’s another side,
Beth

for-all-the-love-you-ve-given-me-i-will-one-day-pay-your-nursing-home-bill-mih

 

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Screen Shot 2015-05-14 at 9.16.35 AMDear Verlene:

I want to help you — I do — but I don’t know what a “sex body” is. Maybe you should send me a link. Is it like one of those blow-up dolls they sell in adult stores? If so, I really can’t help you. Here’s a link so you can shop online.

Wait — maybe it wasn’t a good idea to share that link with you. Is that the “shit” to which you refer?

If I want to get in touch with you, why wouldn’t I just reply to your message? The email address you shared isn’t like any I’ve ever seen. I did a quick search and found this:

Screen Shot 2015-05-28 at 10.49.46 AMWho is Jennell, Verlene? Who else are you contacting with the same message? I thought you loved me for me, and now I find out that I’m just some random person to you! How can you call yourself the “one and only?”

We’re through, Verlene. 

Over you already,
Beth

 

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