Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

Do we cut our children out of our lives?

(26 Posts)
Kiora Sun 28-Sep-14 11:28:13

My adult children will come and talk to me if they have a problem. Somtimes they need help, somtimes they need advice, somtimes they just want to let off steam. I'm fairly good at interpreting what it is they want. If I'm having a bad time I never ever bother them. Reading lots of the posts on gransnet since I joined I gather this is normal. My question is aren't we 'cutting them out of our lives' to some degree? My other question is why do we do it? Surely allowing them to see us warts and all would make for a deeper relationship. (My relationship with friends is much closer with the ones that Iv shared both my and their troubles with) I do share a bit more with my daughter than my sons but even with her I am some what guarded. Perhaps I'm trying to be the perfect parent? Perhaps I'm protecting them? Maybe I'm frightened of loosing them? I'll be interested to know your views.

Soutra Sun 28-Sep-14 11:49:21

I always mske a point of trying to sound cheerful and positive on the phone to the DDs as I don't want them to dread the sound of my voice or to use them as a sounding board when I want a moan - I'm afraid I "use" you lovely lot on GN for that! I don't think I'm cutting them out of my life just allowing them to live theirs and yes, there is an element of "protecting" them. That's mums. But you have a point, I'm just not sure what the right balance is.

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 28-Sep-14 12:17:47

I let it all out to dd 2 and to son. Not to firstborn though. Not sure why. Maybe we became less close somewhere along the line. And I'm not sure she would want to know. I think she would prefer to think all's well with her mum. hmm (perhaps that's not fair . She's a good girl)

rockgran Sun 28-Sep-14 13:08:38

I do not think our children need or want to know us "friends" in the same sense as our real friends. They do not want to know about our sex lives, our dreams or even our medical problems in any detail. They love us but we have our "place" and I would much prefer them have close friends of their own - as we do. I try to be positive and independent when I see or speak to them and try not to embarrass them- often unsuccessfully. grin

rockgran Sun 28-Sep-14 13:09:52

Why do some words get missed out- new iPad!

whenim64 Sun 28-Sep-14 13:13:34

I 'protect' mine from my woes, too - not that I have many at the moment, but when I was seriously ill a few years ago the four of them ganged up on me and insisted I must let them take more responsibility for me, to the extent of organising a rented house next to one daughter whilst I convalesced, and helping me to sell my house and downsize to my little place. It's reverted back to our original roles, though, as I'm mum and they are my kids no matter their ages. I treat them as responsible adults and whilst I listen to their problems, I rarely resolve them - they stand on their own two feet. They know I'll help out if they need to ask.

I do ask for help with physical tasks, lifting heavy objects and suchlike, but my independence is a big deal for me. I see some parents leaning unfairly on their children and I reason that I will need more help in due course but I don't want them taking over my life, nor do they want that from me. As I see each of them most weeks, some more than once, I don't feel they are cut out in any way - they know most of my friends and I know most of theirs.

The only bit of my life that's entirely mine is Gransnet! grin

Lona Sun 28-Sep-14 13:40:20

My friends help me to deal with my own problems usually, but sometimes I ask my childrens' advice too.
Mainly I'm the recipient of all their problems, which at the moment are hugely upsetting for both of them, whilst being different!
I am finding it terribly hard to deal with on my own, but I don't let them know that.
I think that part of me is flattered that they come to me, and I could never turn them away. I'm their mum first and foremost.

I never told my parents my problems though. hmm

ninathenana Sun 28-Sep-14 16:46:22

DD and I discuss each others problems to a certain degree. I don't want to know the intimate details of her life. That's what her friends are for. I do occasionally have a light hearted winge to her about her dad grin but would never burden her with any serious problems I had.

annsixty Sun 28-Sep-14 17:03:29

I am like most of the posters above. I listen when I am told things and I do discuss DH's memory problems when asked but never ring to tell them the problems this causes me. My DD and her H have seperated in the last month and she has enough to deal with without my worries although as a mum I am concerned for her and the GC. If I had any problems earlier in life my own Mother would have been the very last person I would have told,and this was not to protect her!!

Anya Sun 28-Sep-14 17:12:40

This would seem to be the norm, us listening to their woes and worries but keeping schtum about our own, except to our friends.
Nice to feel I'm normal for a change!

susieb755 Sun 28-Sep-14 17:13:13

I would not share intimate things with my kids, but do talk to them about most things, probably more my dd than the boys, but she lives nearby , I can honestly say my children are my friends, we like similar things, can laugh at and with each other, get on with the other halfs, and can have friendly arguments when we disagree, I love my daughters company, we just spent an afternoon on the beach making sandcastles, and luaghing at DGD trying to stem the tide like canute... I am obviously very lucky !!

Tegan Sun 28-Sep-14 17:17:04

Thankfully I have a cousin who listens to most of my problems [he understands me more than anyone else] and other problems get aired on here in a 'let off steam' way. It's hard for young families when they juggle jobs and children and my daughters eyes glaze over at even he slightest mention of any problem on my part. I do sometimes wish that there was someone close that I could really confide in though, sometimes sad.

kittylester Sun 28-Sep-14 18:14:51

I hope our DC come to us with their problems and they seem to, eventually!

Luckily, I have DH to share my worries with! I also have a lovely brother, DH's SiL is also a good friend. I have one really close friend IRL and, of course, you lot!! flowers

My mother used me as a sounding board and I hope never to do that to my children. I never told my mother anything, ever. She would have used it as a stick to beat me with! sad

harrigran Sun 28-Sep-14 19:08:08

kitty flowers I never talked to my mother either, why would I ? I was an adult and could make my own decisions, there was probably very little she could help me with. I don't bother DC, plenty of time for that when I am incapable of managing my affairs.

annsixty Sun 28-Sep-14 19:35:49

Oh kitty my mother had that same stick, hence my post above.

etheltbags1 Sun 28-Sep-14 20:18:40

I tend to edit anything I tell my DD, simply to avoid worrying her as she could worry for England like me. She rings me and tells me things and I lie awake thinking of her and wishing I could go through her troubles myself but she has got to live her own life.
My mother criticises me continually, whatever I tell her its always my fault, there's only two ways in life; her way and the wrong way, in her opinion . I try to tell her I want to make my own mistakes but she doesn't understand so I keep things ot myself.

FlicketyB Mon 29-Sep-14 10:09:58

I am the daughter, wife and mother of compulsive worriers. Fortunately the worry bug seems to have passed me by. I do not mean that I never worry, that in itself would be worrying! It does mean that I tend not to confide very much in anyone. Small worries I am happy to talk through with DH and DD. DS and I are on the same wave length but he is the champion worrier and has our DiL (also a worrier) and my 2DGC to occupy his worrying time.

I find that a worry shared is a worry doubled. I can usually work my worries through and then forget them, but once you have discussed them with someone they live on to haunt you. I did once discuss a major problem with a friend. A year or two later it had completely disappeared from my life but now and again DF would refer to it, not out of unkindness but just in the context of our shared experiences. She remained the living proof of a problem, overwhelming at the time, but no longer of any concern that I was quite happy to forget.

Lona Mon 29-Sep-14 10:26:25

That's an interesting point Flickety, I have a couple of friends, who keep going on about some problem I've shared with them. It drives me mad!
Move on please, I have.

HollyDaze Mon 29-Sep-14 10:37:03

My children and I had a very close relationship until about 10 years or so ago when I noticed things changing - it's as it should be I thought. However, the distance continued to grow. Now on my own, I receive little help from my children or GC and I feel royally miffed given that I have always been there for them, sorted out their problems or just listened if that's what they needed.

I don't know anyone where I live so I took myself off to see a physchologist to try and work out all this angst I was feeling. She was very scathing about their lack of interest or help but did blame me for them being that way. She said that if you present an image of someone who is strong and can deal with anything but never ask for help and assitance, that is how they view you.

Much of the angst came from watching all four of them rush to help out their friends, neighbours, even friends of neighbours they don't even know but wouldn't help me when I've asked - sadly, she had no answer for that one but again, her belief is that they are in the wrong not to support their mother more.

So my belief is: don't portray yourself as being all-capable, it can come back and bite you one day.

jinglbellsfrocks Mon 29-Sep-14 12:43:20

Oh yes hollydaze. I used to feel so miffed when DD1 talked about how she was helping her friend through depression. But then,she did n't know how low I was feeling at that time, because I made sure she did n't know. hmm

janerowena Mon 29-Sep-14 12:54:09

I don't give out details, just let them see that my life isn't perfect. I don't want to scare them off, just give them warning. My mother over-shared when I was younger and I firstly had no idea what she was talking about half the time, as I had no experience of what she was going through, and secondly, felt powerless to help which made me feel worse. Once your kids have started to live a bit and experience pain/relationship problems/financial worries of their own, they understand a lot better but are also going through their own problems. I would never do to them what my mother continues to do to me - and the reason for that is that she has no female friends to share with. She never has had any for any length of time, just acquaintances really.

HollyDaze Mon 29-Sep-14 15:57:32

Mine are unaware of bouts of depression I go through jinglbellsfrocks but they were aware of when I was in hospital - although my son visited, he said he didn't have time to pick me up from the hospital to take me home. The nurse said 'can I ring him' so I said yes, she took my phone and rang him and he turned up. Had I known he'd decide to stay at his girlfriend's that night, I'd have stayed in hospital!

My daughter turned up to visit when I was in for the second op and she did nothing but moan about her life - to this day, she hasn't asked how I am (and that was 3 years ago). She doesn't know because if she won't ask, then I won't discuss anything with her. Mind you, didn't stop me racing out to her house twice when she rang - and once was to rush her to hospital at near midnight; good job I didn't develop my children's personalities isn't it ...

I must have been evil in a previous life wink

Tegan Mon 29-Sep-14 16:15:29

I think it's probably down to the feeling that children have when they are young that their parents are invincible [and also have lots of money]. When they grow up and we grow older, no matter how circumstances change the feeling is still there. The fact that they are there for their friends means that we obviously did something right. I think also that they don't like to think that we are ill or depressed or struggling financially, so block it out.

janerowena Mon 29-Sep-14 18:17:10

That is very true, when my bf's mother had cancer and stayed with her after leaving hospital, whilst waiting for her own new warden-assisted home to be ready, I went to visit her. I found her asleep and white-faced and wobbly, my friend meanwhile was shifting furniture to the new house.

On her return I said she was too ill to go anywhere, bf said, rubbish, she was fine otherwise the hospital wouldn't have let her go home! The fact was, she had been allowed out to die and my friend was in complete denial. She died three weeks later and I helped to strip out her house a while later, with my friend in tears and full of remorse as we took the bed apart, it still had blood all over it where she had coughed up blood and tried to make it to the hall to pull the alarm. Seeing that made me vow not to be like that when my own mother gets ill, even if we don't always get on.

Deedaa Tue 30-Sep-14 21:42:02

I sometimes edit stuff for DD because I feel that with two children, a husband who hasn't been terribly well and a full time job with a lot of responsibility she probably has enough on her plate. I do find though that DS and SiL are both very good at saying "Yes, but how are things really?" and actually wanting to know.