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Finding my adult children selfish

(24 Posts)
kiki2 Mon 05-Aug-19 13:55:01

I have 2 grownup children who have done well for themselves, both financially and with their choice of partners . I am also lucky that they both live near me .
How ever , I am finding that it’s all one way : I do a lot for them and I invite them round for meals quite often but I find that I don’t get much in return.
They are happy to see us but it tends to be here in our house and they don’t reciprocate invitations much at all.
I miss people’s company as I live with my older husband who is quite grumpy ( see previous post ) and this situation hurts me .
They never seem interested in our life , holidays or whatever either whereas we always enquire about their holidays etc
Does anybody have this same problem with adult children ? Why are they so selfish ? And what’s the best attitude to have in response to this ?
Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks

Day6 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:26:47

I have a good relationship with our AC but they do tend to be wrapped up in their own lives. We see most of them most weeks - two live and work quite a way from their home base, so we see them by arranging things. All birthdays are celebrated so we get together during the year for those celebrations.

I suppose when I look back, at their age I took my parents for granted really. I loved them but getting on with my busy life and job came first, as did friends and having a good time. When I became a parent myself I appreciated Mum and Dad more. I hope if and when they become parents they'll appreciate you and see you more kiki.

I think it's the way of the world. We tend to make the family enquiries too and they don't seem too interested in what we are up to. I have a close relationship with OH and our own circle of retired friends so we keep fairly busy and enjoy our 'life of leisure'. If they are happy, I am happy and I know they'd be there for us if we needed them.

I found the lack of closeness hardest when I first had to cut the apron strings and they left home for University/their own homes. I felt quite abandoned for a while, but it's how it should be and I adjusted.

May be it's time to branch out and join things, make friends outside the house and let the children get on with it. I don't think parents are the focus of their lives once they 'grow up' and it does seem selfish not to reciprocate but sadly, they have 'better fish to fry.' They are still happy to get together with you, so enjoy those times kiki and don't expect much more. No expectations is the best way to move forward.

Namsnanny Mon 05-Aug-19 14:31:52

Kiki2....I concur wholeheartedly!!flowers

notanan2 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:40:38

The point about going to yours is that they may still view going to your house as going "home" IYKWIM

GoodMama Mon 05-Aug-19 14:51:21

Kiki2, I'm sorry for your pain and loneliness, I can hear it in your post.

I wonder if perhaps they are feeling the pressure to fill the void in your life that you have described with your DH.

I have no doubt the love you and wish you well, but please be careful not to place undo pressure or expectations on them to fulfill the "emotional spouse" role in your life.

Instead, fill your life with activities and people you enjoy and have things in common with. Join a womens group of like minded women in similar life stage. Build a social life around them, fill your life with joy.

One of two things will happen. Either you will feel better, lighter and have many fun and interesting stories to tell and the seek you out more and you have a wonderfully fulfilling life OR nothing changes with your children but you still have a wonderfully fulfilling life.

Hugs to you, this must be hard. But please remember your children do see you, not as often as you like or on your terms, but they do receive your invitations well. Perhaps take the lack of invitations by them to you as a sign they are happy with the level of contact you currently have. Putting your expectations on them to fill a void isn't the best idea. Instead, it's your opportunity to build a wonderful life of your own choosing!

Sara65 Mon 05-Aug-19 14:52:13


I think you’re absolutely right there!

Sparklefizz Mon 05-Aug-19 15:44:54

I read somewhere that adult children never love us as much as we love them, and I think that's true.

crazyH Mon 05-Aug-19 16:00:18

I was once told that the only true, unconditional love, is the love of a mother for her child. We love them, we forgive them, we pander to them, we tolerate their idiosyncrasies and if necessary we will take a bullet for them. Since my divorce, my only focus has been my children and grandchildren. I think it doesn't me any good, waiting for the next time I see them. The three of them live near me, but it takes all the willpower I can muster, not to jump into my car and drive over.
They have their lives. I should find a life for myself. Joke, I do have a life 😂

Minniemoo Mon 05-Aug-19 16:05:29

I have 3 children who have all left home. Well the third one is back regularly.

We always have get togethers at ours. We do Christmas. If the grandchildren have a birthday we may go round to theirs but most times we entertain them all here. We have a much bigger house and there's quite a few of us now!

I don't really expect them to be hugely interested in what we do. They have busy lives. We have a great relationship and all get on but I suppose I just expected them to live their lives.

I must say that we always used to go to my parents. Very rarely had them here. Even though we lived 5 minutes away. I just liked going home I guess!

Don't know if that makes me unusual or selfish but it's just how we evolved.

PamelaJ1 Mon 05-Aug-19 16:51:52

I think it’s fairly normal. In our family, I have 3 siblings, it seems to be so.
My sister thought it would be nice to go to her DD’s for Christmas. They have a bigger house but no- they will come to her and squeeze in.
I think we’ve had a meal in one daughters house about 6 times. She’s been married nearly 10 years. They are often round here.

Well they have to come round to pick up the child😂😂😂 so why not stay!!!

lemongrove Mon 05-Aug-19 17:00:21

Same here as other posters and also you kiki and tbh I think it’s pretty normal ( according to some of my friends.)
What I do, is take no notice of any worries, invite them when I feel like it doing meals ( we always do Christmas) and don’t invite them if I don’t feel great or we want to do other things/ have holiday breaks.
Our house isn’t their old home, but they probably do regard it as such.Am not sure that I was greatly interested in what my Mother was doing ( although she died when I was in my twenties.) I wish I had been, now of course, but you remember the old saying ‘you can’t put old heads on young shoulders’.

M0nica Mon 05-Aug-19 17:45:02

I do not have a problem, we have been away for the last fortnight at our house in France with DS and family. DH has just been advised not to drive until his sleep apnoea was dealt with. There was a lot of concern for me, doing all the driving, and him and discussion of his treatment.

On the last day my very DDiL quietly got on with cleaning the house, far beyond her share, because she could see me busy with other things.

When we got home and they had headed north, DD was round with the same concern for her DF and interest in what we had all been doing in France.

We are visited by and visit both children on a fairly equal basis and this was the same when our parents were alive, until illness made DH's parents housebound as his DF could not cope with journeys, even by car. Conversation was always two way. Both our parents had different retirements, but were either full of local news or about what they were doing.

Why on earth shouldn't AC be interested in their parent's lives? I do not think I know anyone who has other than a two way relationship with their children.

Calendargirl Mon 05-Aug-19 18:33:40

My DS and family live a few minutes walk away. We have the children after school two days a week, give them their tea and DS collects them later, so we see them often. We don’t get invited round to theirs very often unless it’s to help in their large garden or help with decorating, and then we have a meal or barbecue. We have a good relationship, but I’m well aware they are quite self centred and we are useful to them.

DD lives in Australia with her family. I know if she lived locally we would see much more of them in their home than we do with DS and DIL, but that is not to be.

Both our AC are very dear to us, and I know we are to them, although it doesn’t always seem obvious!

stella1949 Mon 05-Aug-19 18:47:44

I agree with most other posters - our adult children never seem to care as much as we do. And yet I'm sure they feel very loving towards us, they are just tied up in their own lives .

Just this week my son put a beautiful "gratitude post" on his Instagram about how wonderful I am ....really sweet, and many of his old school friends commented with nice compliments . Made me feel good ! Then last night he rang about something trivial, then suddenly blurted out the fact that he was being sued for a large amount of money by a former employee . He has been up to his ears in solicitors' visits and doing paperwork to prove that he didn't do what he'd been accused of. I'd known nothing of this , but he has been carrying it around for weeks. But he still thought to put that nice post on social media about his old mum.

Sometimes we just don't know what is going on in their lives. Maybe this is something which is happening in your family too - the adult children have busy and stressful lives and we expect them to be still interested in ours.

Sara65 Mon 05-Aug-19 19:02:27

Almost every family occasion is celebrated in our house, we have had birthdays and a couple of Christmas’s at my eldest daughters, but we haven’t set foot in our sons flat, since he bought it about fifteen years ago, we haven’t been invited. Our youngest daughter has never invited us to her home, although she spends lots of time here with her children, and still very much treats it as if she still lives here, even to the extent that she invites her girlfriends here, and not to her own house, yes, I know it’s weird!

I think the girls are still quite interested in our lives, but I doubt if our son would notice if we upped and emigrated to the other side of the world , sad in a way, because he was a very sweet boy.

It is what it is, they’re always welcome here, and always will be, but I don’t treat them like visitors, or make any fuss, they take us as they find us

Hithere Thu 08-Aug-19 15:02:31

How often do you invite them to your home?

Maybe tbere is not enough time between visits for you to be invited over to their place

paddyann Thu 08-Aug-19 15:24:01

How often did you have your parents and in laws over when you were young,had children and worked ?

M0nica Thu 08-Aug-19 17:26:44

Well, when I was young, had children and worked we saw both sets of parents roughly every 4 or 5 weeks, alternating between their place and ours. Both lived about 60 miles away.

It never occurred to me to do anything else.

Hithere Thu 08-Aug-19 17:37:50

Didn't one for your ac just have a baby?

That adds another level of busy that has an impact on the social calendar.

Hithere Thu 08-Aug-19 17:38:22

One of, not for! hate autocorrect so much!

Razzmatazz123 Thu 08-Aug-19 21:29:10

My son prefers to visit here, lots of factors I think. It is his childhood home, he and his wife work and have a toddler so I don't think they always have time to keep up with housework etc and I think they are tired and need a rest. They get that here. I think that sometimes they can look selfish, but like I said, busy lives, lots on their minds, problems they probably don't always tell me etc. They aren't children any more. Although children feel stress and pressure just as much as adults, when they are out in the world, there is no one to catch them any more.

Razzmatazz123 Thu 08-Aug-19 21:31:56

Parent child is a different dynamic too. They are probably used to us looking out for them. Besides, any troubles or worries I have, my children do not need to carry. I have friends for that.

Summerlove Thu 08-Aug-19 21:42:52

Kiki, have you mentioned how you feel?

We usually see our parents at their homes. They are much larger! We will on occasion bring the food to mums, dad is always asked what side we can bring to his, and inlaws provide everything.

Inlaws and dad prefer to host, mum would come to ours, but is incapable of not inviting my siblings and there is just no room!

Talk to your kids about how you feel, you might find they have no idea you aren’t happy with the status quo.

Washerwoman Sun 11-Aug-19 19:55:29

Our home still seems to be the central hub for big family gatherings like Xmas and birthdays,but all our adult DDs also make us welcome at their homes.We go and stay with the one who lives furthest away every few weeks and she and her partner make us a lovely meal,or take us out for brunch.Or we treat them if they let us,as they are on a tight budget.Recently they surprised us with a visit and a meal to say thank you in advance for looking after their dogs when they are on holiday.
I do a fair bit to help another DD as she has young children but every now and again she invites me out for lunch, or cake and coffee and tells me she appreciates our help.Our other DD is single,busy with her job and lives about an hour away but about once a month we meet halfway at a cinema as we both love films and she gets a free ticket on certain nights ,and she insists I use that.
Of course we've had many a stroppy,stressful or tearful phone call or visit over the years.And sometimes they are very wrapped up in themselves. but reading the thread makes me think we're pretty lucky.