Mom shocked by son’s opin­ion

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

Just the other day, my son, “Ben,” was talk­ing to his step­dad, and he said some hurt­ful things about me — that I’m all about me, that it’s al­ways my way or the high­way. I took that very per­son­ally. It made me cry. I never ex­pected my el­dest son to say some­thing or feel that way about me. I took it as him try­ing to hurt my feel­ings. He needs to un­der­stand that with the kids all out of the house now, I do of­ten feel that it is all about me. The house is empty; my two el­der kids don’t even call me to see whether I’m OK or sick, and I think that if I ever be­come sick, I will keep it to my­self and not in­form them. Am I wrong for that?

Now I don’t feel com­fort­able even ask­ing to see my grand­chil­dren, be­cause I fear it’s been em­bed­ded in their minds that Grandma is all about her and no one else.

I posted about this sit­u­a­tion on Facebook to see how ev­ery­one would re­spond and what advice peo­ple might of­fer. A co-worker came to me and com­forted me about the sit­u­a­tion. All I could do was cry. I never knew my kids felt that way about their mom. Please give me some advice.

Slow down and take a deep breath. This is a whirl­wind, but it seems that at the cen­ter of it all is your feel­ing of aban­don­ment. I reckon that’s caused you to lash out in ways you might not rec­og­nize as lash­ing out — with guilt trips, for in­stance. If you’ve been try­ing to get your kids to pay at­ten­tion to you by mak­ing them feel bad, that has back­fired. It’s time to stop catas­tro­phiz­ing and start com­mu­ni­cat­ing. Talk to your chil­dren. Tell them you didn’t re­al­ize how neg­a­tively they felt about your be­hav­ior. Ask what you could do to be a big­ger part of their lives. And for ev­ery­one’s sake, please stop post­ing about it on Facebook.

I know that some peo­ple com­plain about “older” trick-or-treaters in their neigh­bor­hoods and that some peo­ple even refuse to hand out candy to kids who look older than 13.

In my view, it’s a fine line be­tween child and teen, and it’s a dif­fi­cult ad­just­ment for most. Teens still love some kids ac­tiv­i­ties, yet they want to ap­pear grownup. When we get older kids ring­ing our door­bell on Hal­loween, we al­ways give them dou­ble the candy and tell them so. We also tell them that we’re proud of them for choos­ing to have fun. They are de­lighted with our re­sponse, and you can see the ap­pre­ci­a­tion in their eyes.

Lighten up, peo­ple! They have the rest of their lives to be adults. Let them hang on to some parts of their child­hood a bit longer. And let the par­ents do the par­ent­ing; it’s not our busi­ness. Our grown chil­dren let their own chil­dren know when it was time to quit trick-or-treat­ing.

It also doesn’t mat­ter how much, if any, care was put into a cos­tume. It’s rare when they’re not in cos­tume, though. Teens are quite cre­ative and en­joy our notic­ing a cos­tume. We love the night. It’s fun! I’m print­ing this just in time for Hal­loween. May we all em­brace such a fun-lov­ing spirit.

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