As long as we agree that there are some bad people in the world, we can also agree that there are a lot of disappointed parents.
Those parents carry enormous amounts of guilt, shame, and regret, besides their disappointment.
Don’t we love to feel full of pride when our son or daughter accomplishes something wonderful! We talk about and celebrate their graduations, career advancements, new homes, and grandchildren with enthusiasm.
We’re so much quieter about addictions, domestic abuse, extended unemployment, foreclosure, or grandchildren we don’t even get to see or enjoy.
Parents may have been completely devoted to rearing their children, yet their adult child may discard them. Parents may actually believe they spoiled their child but in later years find themselves with an ungrateful son or daughter who openly attests that his or her childhood was terrible.
And when or how can a parent draw the line financially after the years of resources already spent on the wellbeing of their children?
Parents sometimes desperately spend their limited savings and retirement money on treatment for addiction recovery of their “child.”
Many aging adults now have limited financial resources after adopting or fostering their grandchildren, due to the inability of the “child” to be a responsible parent.
Parents may have other children who were raised in the same home and are doing wonderfully as productive adults they can relate to in a healthy way.
that ONE problematic adult child may become the BIGGER focus of attention and energy,
with the parent(s) spending more time praying, crying, and trying anything to bring that “other” child back into the fold.
“There’s too much awareness that the family is not complete,” said one estranged mother. “That ‘child’ is missing from every family event and it’s just not the same, even though I fake joy as much as possible, for the sake of my other children and grandchildren.”
What can we do if we are deeply disappointed by our adult children? The following may be helpful…
- Accept that you are suffering a HUGE loss. You are grieving daily.
- Be strong… strong enough to FEEL. Fred Rogers (Mr. Rogers) said, “It takes strength to face our sadness and to grieve and to let our grief and our anger flow in tears when they need to.
- Spend a little time looking at old pictures – only if it helps you remember you did your best. Old pictures of birthday parties, holidays or much simpler occasions may remind you that you did what you could with what you knew at that time.
- Consider expert advice from a mental health expert. There may be new “tools” you could use while you go through this very difficult time.
Keep hope alive, continue praying, and remember that life is full of surprises that happen in ways we could never imagine in advance.
Consider the following.
We all know someone with an estranged adult child. They just may not talk about the situation often.
Can you share this article with someone who is suffering and feeling alone?
Can you remind the estranged parent they’re still a good person and they did their best?
Any more ideas for disappointed parents? Comments?