I feel badly let down by my son

Woman's Weekly (UK) - - Short Story By Elizabeth Dale -

Dear Keren

We have fam­ily in New Zealand, and some of my kids’ cousins are com­ing to the UK to visit. I’m happy to put them up, as their par­ents have had us to stay. I’d agreed to have two over the sum­mer, but, since then, my daugh­ter has split from her long-term part­ner and come home. I now only have one spare room. I asked my son if he and his wife could help out, and he said it wasn’t con­ve­nient. I al­ways put my­self out for my chil­dren, so I’m hurt and dis­ap­pointed.

Phoebe, Birm­ing­ham

AI can un­der­stand it’s a nui­sance, but it was you, not your chil­dren, who chose to have the cousins to stay. As adults, it’s their choice who they have to stay, and it’s im­por­tant to hon­our their wishes, even if you don’t un­der­stand the rea­sons. There may well be some­thing hap­pen­ing that they don’t wish to dis­cuss with you and putting up rel­a­tives just doesn’t fit into their lives.

The sec­ond point you raise is an­other area for dis­cus­sion. It sounds as if you’re ex­pect­ing to be re­paid for the things you do for your chil­dren. Un­less you set it up that way – as you might in busi­ness – mak­ing an agree­ment and contract, there is no rea­son why they should pay you back for be­ing kind to them. Par­ents choose or choose not to do things for their chil­dren, af­ter all. As­sum­ing they do them with un­con­di­tional love, they should ex­pect noth­ing back. It’s then up to the chil­dren to sup­port and help in their own way, as and when they want to.

Your son and daugh­ter-in-law haven’t said no to hurt and up­set you. I think it’s im­por­tant you re-ex­am­ine this and hear it for what it re­ally is. Oth­er­wise, you’ll end up mak­ing them feel guilty, which will just make the sit­u­a­tion worse.

Your son needn’t hon­our your of­fer

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