We’ve all thought at one point or another that our child/children are really annoying, or that they’ve made us angrier than you ever thought you could be, but what happens if your child turns into an adult you really don’t like?
I was speaking with my Mum the other day. She always gives me a rundown of who is dead, who is ill and who has any strife in their lives (yes in that order), and she mentioned her friend whose son is currently back in her house after being released from prison. He’s not violent; I think it was fraud or similar, but anyway, he’s taken position on her sofa and looks to be growing roots. I should add that his Mum is in her 80’s and is now ‘looking after him’; cooking, cleaning, washing and so on. The sting in the tail is that he’s still the same loser he was way back when and he’s not even nice to her.
She spoilt him when he was young for far too long” my Mum claims.
But is it her fault? What happens when your personalities just don’t gel, or once on the wrong path your child stays on it and becomes the wrongun’ you feared the bad crowd would make them into?
Since the conversation with my Mum, I’ve been reading up on this, as I’m sure its devastating to admit as a parent that your own child isn’t really your cup of tea, whether its as extreme as some cases or just a ‘meh’ about them in general. The problem is far more common than you might think. *
I once had a boyfriend (defo not hub) who had a fist fight with his Dad, thankfully, before my time with him, and I was appalled. But then I got to know the Dad and could see where the pattern came from, he was an aggressive man too. But the Mum, she was like a wrung out piece of rag stuck between them. As her husband was calming down with age, her son had taken over the reigns and he had a ‘presence’ about him whenever he was near them. The Mum, in turn, had to walk on eggshells. What mood will be be in today?
Every time we went to their house I could see her tensing up and she once tearfully confessed to me that she didn’t really like him, that he’d always been difficult but was getting worse and that family get togethers, like Christmas, caused her such distress and worry that it made her ill. I soon departed, because that really wasn’t a life I wanted, but what would happen to her? She couldn’t skedaddle like I did? That’s her until her dying days. Wow!
I’ve read posts on Facebook about parents who are at their wits end because their nice child has turned into a horrible teen and is making some big old bad choices. Skipping school, smoking weed, county lines and generally being on an anti social fast track to Loserville person. But what can you do? And what if they stay on that path into adulthood, no one wants a drug dealer, thug, or full blown gangster at their Christmas table.
This parenting lark is harder than an expert sudoko! Where do we draw the line of forgiving, defending, unconditional love to becoming enablers of bad behaviour/manners that we might put up with as parents of younger children, but as they grow older everyone including us finds their behaviour unacceptable?
*I would specify here that I’m referring to adult children, not children. If your child is of school age I would urge you to contact their school, GP, social worker or reach out to someone so you can get support and hopefully a more fulfilling relationship.
NSPCC – Protecting children from County Lines