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Parent / adult child relationships

(23 Posts)
GagaJo Tue 19-Jan-21 17:04:02

It is a frequent refrain on GN that sometimes, adult children are distant from parents, and consequently, grandparents don't get as much time with grandchildren as they would like.

If this is an issue in a family, does it hark back to the relationship between the parent and the child, BEFORE leaving home / before grandchildren?

I can see it from both sides. As the adult child AND as the parent / grandparent. I see little of my mother, who was always a cold woman, and not particularly welcoming of family until she was elderly. And as a parent/grandmother, the difficulties with my daughter have meant that we are not as close as we could be, although this hasn't (yet) translated into limited contact with my grandson.

But does it ever happen that adult children who were previously very close to parents then distance themselves from those parents, with the knock on effect of limited contact with grandchildren?

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 19-Jan-21 17:14:12

I think that our adult children are less likely to put up with any of our ‘faults’ than they are of their friends, my DD1 puts up with all sorts from friends but jumps down my throat if I say anything she doesn’t approve of.

With DILs, I think that if the sons complain to their wives about their Mums or their upbringing then the DILs want as little to do with them as possible (and on GN a lot of Mothers in law suffer because of that.)

It’s complicated......

Norah Tue 19-Jan-21 17:21:48

I agree that d.i.l. want little interaction with parents to husband if he has complained about them to her, and rightly so.

GagaJo Tue 19-Jan-21 17:23:32

It is. And it is hard to know from the outside, when others talk about difficulties they are having with seeing grandchildren and adult children how much is due to the previous relationship and how much is just due to the rush, stress and complexities of life.

SueDonim Tue 19-Jan-21 17:28:51

I recently read a very interesting article about modern estrangement (I don’t think estrangement in itself is anything new) in The Atlantic. I hope it’s not behind a paywall.

www.theatlantic.com/family/archive/2021/01/why-parents-and-kids-get-estranged/617612/

Oopsadaisy1 Tue 19-Jan-21 17:29:09

I think it’s also that we all see things differently my MIL used to speak fondly of DH and his siblings wonderful childhood, they didn’t remember it like that at all, they couldn’t wait to leave home and now she has died they are comparing notes and realising that their childhood was anything but wonderful.

I had a great childhood, with a horrid spoilt brother, he remembered it very differently. So who was right?
As I said it’s complicated, 2 people who remember things differently and I think it’s bound to shape the way you think and act when you leave home and start your own family, or just leave home.

EllanVannin Tue 19-Jan-21 17:44:45

Given that I was on the strict side as a mother and brought up 4 children, 2 of whom are my step-children, I've never once been " shut out " from any of them nor the grandchildren they've produced. I treated them all the same.

In fact the opposite. If there were any misbehavings going on amongst any of them you can guarantee that I'd be asked to help put things right. So I've never been deserted or cut-off or shunned by any of them, I'm glad to say.

Although I say it myself, I know that they all have respect for me even the ages that they are now, as my now 71 year old step-daughter said she wouldn't even be cheeky to me now smile let alone as a teenager.

I admit to not being the gushing parent/ grandparent that you see today but I was always welcoming of whoever called and always glad to see them.
I couldn't have been that bad for the ex-SiL not to pass any comments grin or have anything to say about me.

Just stick together through thick and thin and take the rough with the smooth. I can't imagine the horrors of a broken and split family or being deprived of seeing grandchildren.

Smileless2012 Tue 19-Jan-21 17:55:59

Oh yes it happens a lot that children previously close to their parents distance themselves and even estrange their parents later in life.

Distancing can result in GP's not seeing very much of their GC and estrangement means that GP's see nothing of their GC at all.

It is as you posted Oopsadaisy complicated and can have nothing to do with the AC's relationship with his/her parents and everything to do with their partner.

Jealousy is often a factor where the partner is jealous of the relationship their husband/wife has with one or both of their parents.

"I can't imagine the horrors of a broken and split family or being deprived of seeing grandchildren". It's a horrifying and heart breaking situation EllanVannin and when you had a really close and loving relationship with the AC who estranges you, it's extremely difficult to try and come to terms with what's happened.

That said life goes on and with time you learn to make a life without them and your GC.

Urmstongran Tue 19-Jan-21 18:28:38

💐 for you Smileless I too can only imagine your heartbreak. Maybe that’s the reason you chose that for your name on here.

petra Tue 19-Jan-21 18:45:13

I think my daughter and I have a good relationship because she didn't leave home until she was 29 so I had a lot of years with her as a fully functioning adult ( well most of the time 😉)
We were big party givers and always socialising so she grew up with our friends as an adult. Then her adult single friends were brought into our mix. So now we have a huge amount of happy memories of us together as adults without grandchildren being in the mix.
She calls on me for advice but there are times when she talks to me as if I'm the child. All for my own good 😁

Smileless2012 Tue 19-Jan-21 19:23:46

Yes it is Urmstongran; thank you for the flowerssmile.

nexus63 Tue 19-Jan-21 20:01:04

my mum always worked and stepdad was always drunk, i had mental abuse from him, then it turned to saying sexual things then trying it, i went to live with my gran, i felt so let down by my mum that she put him over me, my dad was not around until a few years ago when i tracked him down, he said he did not want to talk about anything from the past, fine by me, but the shock on his face when i said i felt sorry for him... he sits alone every night has done for 20 years, he missed out on having a fantastic daughter and a brilliant grandson, my son and i are very close, but he does not bother with my mum, never has, my mum has changed in the last few years, even when i got cancer i still would not talk to her about how frightened i was. i wish our ralationship could have been different, all phone calls end now with love you, i say it just to keep the peace.

Sara1954 Tue 19-Jan-21 20:48:05

I always had an extremely difficult relationship with my mother, when I was little, she was cold and unloving, as a teenager she made me feel abnormal and disgusting, and as two adults, we managed to be civil, but struggled to have anything to say to each other.
In my mid forties something happened which pushed me too far, and I decided that from that day on I wouldn’t have anything else to do with her, we haven’t spoken since.

But, oddly she adored my eldest daughter, and they were/are quite close, so I never attempted to involve the children in my decision.
My husband used to drive a four hour drive several times a year, so that the younger ones could keep in touch, now of course it’s up to them, but the girls still visit.

I feel so relieved that I don’t have to see her anymore, when I’m around her, I’m a sulky, belligerent teenager who disagrees with everything she says on principle, perhaps she’s a nicer person, when I’m not around, I think we’re definitely better people apart.

Chewbacca Tue 19-Jan-21 22:14:02

If this is an issue in a family, does it hark back to the relationship between the parent and the child, BEFORE leaving home / before grandchildren?^

I had an awful relationship with my mother and, like Sara1954 when I was in my 40s, I was finally pushed too far and simply walked away never to return. I have no idea if she's dead or alive now. But the toxicity of that relationship made me determined that the negativity and bitterness with her would go no further and I've worked hard to build a good relationship with my adult DC and DIL. I'm very fond of DIL and treat her as my own. I never offer advice unless I'm asked for it and am the first to volunteer for any help they need. It's not always been easy but I keep my opinions on how they do things to myself. DIL's mother and I befriended each other, making the family unit even stronger. The reward has been a close, relaxed and mutually supportive relationship with them both and a very close and loving relationship with the GC. Breaking the cycle of bad relationships can be done but it takes some determination to make the changes in yourself.

Madgran77 Wed 20-Jan-21 14:38:41

SueDonin That is one of the most balanced and reasoned articles I have seen on the subject, thankyou for posting.

Madgran77 Wed 20-Jan-21 14:42:51

Oh yes it happens a lot that children previously close to their parents distance themselves and even estrange their parents later in life. Distancing can result in GP's not seeing very much of their GC and estrangement means that GP's see nothing of their GC at all. It is as you posted Oopsadaisy complicated and can have nothing to do with the AC's relationship with his/her parents and everything to do with their partner

Perhaps the most pertinent quote in relation to that aspect Smileless from the article that Sue Donin posted upthread is:

"...However, my recent research—and my clinical work over the past four decades—has shown me that you can be a conscientious parent and your kid may still want nothing to do with you when they’re older...."

Norah Wed 20-Jan-21 15:11:41

"...However, my recent research—and my clinical work over the past four decades—has shown me that you can be a conscientious parent and your kid may still want nothing to do with you when they’re older...."

Brilliant.

Adult kids have their own opinions. We all do. Full box set.

Madgran77 Wed 20-Jan-21 15:15:54

Yes I agree that it is good that adult kids have their own opinions.

It is also good that this clearly very experienced therapist is acknowledging that them having those opinions MAY not be because they had poor parenting when growing up - poor parenting is not a given as a reason for estrangement, just one of a number of possible reasons!

SueDonim Wed 20-Jan-21 15:23:44

I’m glad you found it useful. smile

DEL2021 Sun 24-Jan-21 21:37:33

I'm new to this site and looking for some independent advice. I have an adult daughter of 30 and a grandson of ten who I love dearly. As a 50 something woman I have finally managed to get some financial stability and my husband and I have found a wonferful property in the countryside 2 hours drive away (daughter has a car). I am fearful of my daughters immature approach to parenting and the impact that this may have on my grandsons life outcomes without my husband and I being around the corner for support. We will still have regular contact after the move but it went be the same. This move is my husbands of 13 years dream and it would afford me the peace and quiet that would be like nectar to my health and long awaited mind space to do something for me, maybe even ignite a creativity that I feel is bubbling under the surface, yet I feel guilty and as though a cloud is covering the potential.

Oopsadaisy1 Sun 24-Jan-21 22:01:47

Del2021 it might be best if you start a new thread rather than go along on this one which is for a different subject, yours will possibly be missed

EllanVannin Sun 24-Jan-21 22:40:07

Queen Victoria had 9 children, but didn't particularly like them. Her idea of being married to Prince Albert was the love and affection they both shared with each other and when the children came along it annoyed her greatly because her love would have to be shared and she became jealous that her lovely husband paid attention to the growing family making her feel cast aside.

Victoria's attitude towards her children stemmed from her own upbringing which then rubbed off onto her so it is all to do with upbringing how relationships pan out when children come along.

Victoria was even jealous of their firstborn who they called Vicky because of Albert's attention towards her when growing up. He was a wonderful father but the Queen was quite indifferent putting her own life and needs first.

No doubt all the children still loved their mother even though she preferred to distance herself from them. Then her sadness came when her beloved Bertie died at a young age, something which she never got over. So sad.

Oopsadaisy1 Mon 25-Jan-21 06:42:03

She was even sadder when Albert died......🙂