Over the more than three decades I have been on the radio, I have noticed many societal trends — mostly bad. These include the growing prevalence of hooking up, shacking up, having babies out of wedlock, using abortions as birth control, and lacking commitment.
Lately, more and more parents are calling me complaining that their adult children never call, never visit, never convene on holidays, and don't remember birthdays.
When I ask the obvious first question — "What do you believe is the cause of their disconnect?" — I always get back, "I don't know."
Well, I do know. If your adult children don't feel bonded or give a whit about you, it is probably your own fault.
I am amazed at how parents deny that their behavior and decisions impacted their children in ways that made those children disconnect emotionally. Folks have children, and instead of raising them, turn them over to day care facilities, nannies, and babysitters. Then they divorce, expecting their children to go away, along with the furniture. Children end up going back and forth between warring parents and never put down roots.
Additionally, we have become a culture of victims. This trend has to do with mental illness diagnoses which clearly take the focus away from children. Everyone is bipolar, has PTSD, or ADHD. All of these diagnoses — which have ballooned in numbers over the past two or so decades — disrupt families and take attention and caretaking away from children.
Of course, there are those who do really suffer from these mental illnesses, and that is truly heartbreaking. However, I believe there have been trendy diagnoses that have more to do with self-centered parents, pharmaceutical company profits, and income for therapists than with reality.
When parents have not made their children's needs a priority, why do they expect their children to do anything other than return that lack of favor?
So many older mothers who call complaining that their adult children make no effort to see them, just won't accept that they earned it.
Some adult children are so ambivalent about their parents that they don’t even want to attend their mother’s or father’s funeral. I have had to support many adult children in their decision to "stay away" from a bad parent.
I do remind them, however, that even though their parent was not motivated by obligation and responsibility, that unless that parent was dangerous or destructive, they should make sure the parent's basic needs for food, housing, and medications are met, even if they pay someone else to do it.
Do not let the fact that you had a bad parent impact the quality of your own character. Appropriately administered compassion is the decent thing to do.
Dr. Laura is a well-known radio personality and best-selling author whose full name is Laura Schlessinger. She is interviewed regularly on many of the biggest television shows and publications. Read more reports from Dr. Laura — Click Here Now.
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