Being a parent can suck.
I don’t know of any greater source of pain in my own life than when my adult children have disrespected, rejected and hate me.
When I look back, I can see my parental errors. The mistakes seem glaring at times, like the time I spanked my 7-year-old son after being away for three weeks. I was exhausted from jet lag and he was so excited to see me…
The guilt is palpable. It’s so easy for a parent to blame him or herself for the rude and hateful things adult children have to say. Worse, they condescend to you, as if they have a thing or two to teach about life!
Then there are the annoying adult children who live at home, mooching off parents while acting in the most entitled, arrogant, presumptuous ways. You want to kick them out, right?
But you don’t.
And when they bitch at you for being such a horrible person who ruined their life, you just take it. You swallow the pain and it festers in your gut, dragging you down into a pit of parental despair from which there seems to be no escape.
Here’s what one 20-year-old daughter texted her father:
Hey Dad, I know Liz told you I could come to lunch tomorrow but I think I need to take some space after our last conversation. I’ll let you know when I’m ready to talk again but in the meantime, I’m asking you to think a little more about how you handled the situation and what I said about your ignorance.Adult child telling her father to correct his ignorance
Nothing like a condescending 20-something telling her father to shape up in the ignorance department. You’ve got a lot to learn, Dad.
And maybe dads do need to learn a thing or two about how to deal with a disrespectful adult child. For starters, do you need to take a condescending attitude? No.
Yet, how to put an end to it? How do we come to some sort of understanding with our angry, adult children without placating or enabling their rude behavior?
There are options but first, let’s clear one issue.
As the well-intended., non-criminal parent of an adult child, you have every right to be treated with respect. You do not need to subject yourself to abuse.
Moreover, if anyone is going to put an end to the nonsense, it is you. Angry adult children who tend toward rudeness are not likely to monitor themselves. They feel it is their right to keep dishing it out until they feel better, as they imagine. Don’t hold your breath until they’re satisfied.
Take care of yourself.