Adult children

The older I get, the more I realize that being a good parent requires copious amounts of patience. Day after day I meet parents with adult children who are literally sucking the life out of them. They live at home or close by and are constantly requesting more items and money. Yet, they can never make enough to move out of their parent’s house. I get that the economy isn’t typically kind to recent graduates and that it takes a lot more money than it used to in order to sustain a decent quality of life. The parents feel guilty because their child doesn’t have a decent job and can’t make it on their own therefore they open the doors of their house “for as long as needed.” Bad idea. While I know that everyone needs help at some point in their life and that hard times happen to everyone, there’s something detrimental about constantly acquiescing to the demands of your adult children because you want them to be happy with you. Living your life in perpetual sacrifice for your children HAS to stop at some point. It holds them back from becoming responsible adults and keeps you stuck in your life. You can’t continue to cater to the wants and needs of able-bodied adults who don’t feel like working and don’t want to move because they’re leaving their rent-free housing. I hear parents complaining about their children and how stressed that they are but refuse to put boundaries in place and enforce them. It’s not a pretty sight. These are people who won’t have a decent retirement because of their actions and the choices that their children have made. It’s quite unfortunate.

When something isn’t right

Not too long ago I received a random phone call at work from someone claiming to be a distressed parent. I’ve learned to be cautious and not always trust who someone is over the phone because it literally could be anyone. This person when on to say that they had gone through the main number and had gotten transferred to me. Their teenaged child had had an accident and the supposed parent was trying to find out what happened. My suspicious were quickly awakened when I was told that the accident happened over two days ago. The parent was worried that their child had not returned home and wanted to know the outcome. One thing that stood out to me was the fact that this supposed parent had not heard from their child in over 48 hours and had not even tried to actually physically visit the area hospital to check on their child’s status or find out if they had been admitted. I’m not a parent but I can’t imagine not hearing from my child and knowing that they’re injured but not taking the time to physically visit them and find out from staff how they’re doing. But to each his or her own I suppose. There’s a high probability the person wasn’t who they claimed they were. But I’ll never know.

To have or not to have

I ran into an interesting article the other day about having children. You can read it here. The article specifically addresses some of the reasons why people decide not to have children. I don’t think there are a lot of people who set out to be bad parents but I can understand why it’s a fear. We all know the horror stories of crimes committed by individuals and the focus automatically goes to the parents as people begin to wonder what bad parenting skills created someone who could do “such a thing.” There also aren’t a lot of people who would argue that the world needs more people in it and I think a lot of millennials have taken on the perspective that they don’t want to add to the already existing problem. All in all, I think the article was pretty thought provoking and it made me wonder about the long term ramifications for society.

Husbands and Fathers

This is an article I came across recently that was fairly thought provoking to me. As a therapist, I’ve learned how to roll with the choices people make even if I may not personally choose to make those exact choices myself. No judgement. However, one thing I have not personally grown mature enough to understand (and maybe I’ll never be) the decisions that some people make when choosing the person they make a baby with and not make a judgment on their mental capacity. That being said, working at a job where I interact with children who have been abused has convinced me without a doubt that there are some people who should never ever ever be parents. I am of the opinion that some men make great fathers and other men make great husbands and that sometimes these two things do not go together. Don’t get me wrong, I think that there are some characteristics that both fathers and husbands should have that overlap with each other. But I think that the roles of a husband and that of an engaged, aware, and mature parent are different. The article is a little on the humorous side but it does make you think about the difference between a spouse and a parent. While selfishness in a marriage can cause problems, a selfish parent can negatively impact the life of the next generation. Communication between adults is different than communication with children. It’s not healthy to be enmeshed with a child in the same manner you are with a spouse. Totally different ballgame. Raising a child successfully without messing them up for life requires a different set of skills than having a relationship with another mature adult.  It’s nice to have a great husband and it’s wonderful if a man is a good father, but it’s even better when a guy can be both at the same time.

Appropriate Parent

I am someone who rarely goes to movies but I just saw the Equalizer and thought about how hard it is to see anything without thinking of the mental health repercussions. Granted, it was a good movie for being a thriller and the story line was a bit unsurprising but I did enjoy it. Without going into details about the movie I will say that Denzel Washington is an amazing actor that does not look like he is almost 60. The movie was rated “R” for a variety of reasons that included profanity and violence. Not my cup of tea. One of the surprising things was the amount of parents that took their small kids to see the movie. I will never understand how it’s justified to bring a small child to a movie with violence and adult themes. This perspective comes directly from working with kids who have acting out behaviors. Many times these kids have not had supervision or they’ve been exposed to things that have not been age appropriate. As much as I believe In the importance of age appropriate material for kids, it’s obvious that others don’t share that perspective. I just wish that some parents had the maturity and presence of mind to realize that their choices on what’s appropriate for their children can lead to a lot of heartbreak in life if they decide to imitate what they’ve seen.