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How to Love Adult Children Unconditionally

Started by Hope, May 29, 2010, 09:11:16 pm

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Dear Hope:
I am so very happy you answer my post.  I stopped  posting (eventhough) I read  all  the posts which are very interested and I like and agree on most advices given here. I also stopped posting because I was feeling kind of invisible when I posted and no one made a comment on my posts.  I love this site and know that here are many wise women who have beautiful and wise answers.  We are here to vent, help.   I just was a little intimidated on one of my post answered by creme, which I think did not mean to hurt me but she quoted many of what I posted and maked a contrary opinion on what I felt.  I realized it wasnt personal.  It was just the way she thought.    I just dont think that we as mil should take responsibility for asking to be included in our son's life, and that we had to understand we did things wrong even if we didn't realized it.  I know for a fact that this is not the case of most of us mils.    And I know this for a fact because now that I have a good relationship with dil she has told me that she finally realized that she feared that I would maybe try to be intrussive in her life with my ds and that that is why she was pushing me away, but that now she has realized that we love ourl gc and we are always there for them when they need us.  No more, no less. 
I do think though that our expectations should not be very high because it can result hurtful.  If we get more that we thought...what a blessing!  But other hurtful attitude fom our son or dil is just unacceptable and should not be tolerated as Belle  (I admire Belle) expresses in her posts .  I will never again accept my dignity to suffer unfairly.  We need to have dignit even to die.  People's right end where my rights begin.    They have the right to act or feel as they  wish but so do we mils whose only fault is to b the mother of our of dil's husband.     

Keep us posted on the birth of the baby and I do wish that you enjoy the new baby. Just expect what is just  and fair.  I do keep you in my prayers that you will be crown with all the blessing a new grc brings to your life. 

Good luck to you, in this  beautiful adventure.   

God Bless you always!

My mil is 90 and is one of my best friends. 

Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


I wondered where you went to Nana.  I have been missing you.   :'(

I'm glad to know everything is still going well with you!
We must let go of the life we have planned, so as to accept the one that is waiting for us. -
Joseph Campbell


Hi Pooh

I have been here all the time.   Every evening I am here and read all your posts.  I just havent post anymore.  I am addicted to this site (thanks Luise).  I really feel that we are all united with the same issues.  Some of us have resolved and some havent.  But the problems brought up here are my concerns because I was in the same shoes as many here. 

I hope you are also doing fine and thanks for your post.

God Bless you always!
Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, Or bends with the remover to remove:


June 28, 2010, 12:39:13 pm #33 Last Edit: June 28, 2010, 12:48:28 pm by catchingup
Quote from: Hope on May 29, 2010, 09:11:16 pm
My sister and bil have had a difficult time with their ds/dil beginning about the time of their engagement.  They were treated quite disrespectfully leading up to the wedding and at the wedding.  After the wedding, their ds/dil distanced themselves and at one point dil yelled at my sister over the phone that she "would never see her grandchildren" (this happened before she was pregnant with their only child). 

About four or five long years later, they followed the advise their priest gave them and their situation took a turn for the best. 
This is what their priest advised:

1. Love them the way they are - do not think about how it would be better a different way.  Overlook the things about them that you don't like.
2. Expect nothing.  Don't expect visits at holidays, return phone calls, answers to your calls or emails, etc.
3. Offer your friendship and realize that it's up to them to accept or reject it.
4. Appreciate whatever they do for you - no matter how small.  Don't focus on how they could have done more or better.

My sister/bil realize that they will never be treated with the love and kindness that their dil's parents are.  Even though they live about 12 hours apart, they bend over backwards to run to their ds/dil's rescue when they need help.  They are very generous with their time, labor, love, and gifts.  They have taken those four rules to heart and don't expect anything, but when their ds/dil offer any type of acceptance or love, they are very grateful.  Their relationship has been restored and my sister/bil have accepted the situation as it is.  They are just thankful to have their ds/dil/gc in their lives.

At first when they told me about this new attitude/approach, I thought it was so one-sided that it couldn't be a healthy relationship.  Maybe sometimes your only choice is to choose a less than healthy relationship or no relationship at all.  I was wondering what you ladies thought about this.  I really value your opinion.

Hugs, Hope

Maybe we should go back in time. What were we like when we were first married.
Our goals and outlook on life were differant to our MIL's. We were starting out,they were retiring.

MIL's have time on their hands while the younger generation have their life crowded with work,babies housework. The demands are endless

We as MIL's and grannies(I am not one yet) cant spend the precious years we have left sitting around waiting and dwelling on having our time filled in by children,their wives etc.
This is the time for us to pursue our own interests. We are free do do so.
Ofcourse we miss the full house and suffer from empty nest syndrome but I am absolutely sure that if,from the very beginning of our children and their wives or husbands lives together we let go entirely problems would not arise and
unfortunately when something happens to harm a relationship it becomes very hard to mend.

If we sow a seed of discord we reap the same. Sometimes we do it unintentionally. Young people are far more sensitive than us.

Prevention is better than cure.
My son is here for the world cup and tonight he gave me a chocolate with "I love you" written on it.

He has stayed at home while in South Africa but I do not demand any of his time.
He has friends to see --this is bed and breakfast but I love having him here and he has set aside  a couple of days to spend with us.

I feel happy. I am happy he has friends. I am happy that he is enjoying himself. I am happy he can afford to attend the world cup by paying his own way. I am happy he has a good job. I am happy that  his FIL's love him. I am happy that he is alive,independant,handsome,healthy.
What more can I say.I am happy he is off my hands YIPPIE !!! ;D ;)


Glad to see you, Nana: I am not posting much because things are getting harder and harder with Val in nursing. I'm not going into it here because there is a topic about that. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Thanks for your input.  I agree that it's wise to pursue our own interests when we have adult children.  What threw me into a tailspin was when I realized that my ds was acting like I didn't exist - not answering my phone calls, not initiating any contact with me, not answering my messages, and occassionally speaking to me with a disrespectful tone on the few occassions I did see him.  I think it's helped to take a step back and stop trying to initiate contact.  I am still very kind to him when I see him at gatherings and we have been generous to him and our dil with the coming of our new gc, but I will  continue not to hold my hopes high.  Like Nana said, "If we get more that we thought...what a blessing!"  I agree with what you said, too, about letting go from the very beginning of our children's married lives.  Makes sense.  I just always thought we would act as a family - show concern for each other.  It really helps me that our daughters are so good to us and enjoy our company.  We see our od every week and usually hear from our yd every day which is great.  I loved reading about how your son gave you the chocolate with "I love you" on it and how he reserved a couple days to spend with you during his visit.  I'm happy that you are happy! 
Hugs, Hope


July 02, 2010, 08:21:06 am #36 Last Edit: July 02, 2010, 08:33:04 am by catchingup
Hope. Thank you for the reply. The biggest reason I am glad I found this site is because I have learnt so much from other peoples bad experiances and it has perpared me for what might happen in the future.
The son I refer to here is the one who's future wife does not like me.I just could not get through to her which makes it difficult for her to get through to me.
She is also here for the world cup and the other day my son invited hubby and I to lunch with his girlfriend.
My first thought was I will not speak unless I am spoken to. Wont ask questions and if possible answer either yes or no.
When they arrived here a couple of problems arose re my home business and not wanting to have it prey on my mind at lunch I decided I would sort it out before we left.
It held us up but it was a matter of finding paperwork and  making phone calls.

When we sat down to lunch she started asking me about my business. She is an accountant. We got chatting about investments. Which antiques are the best to invest in. What do I think of gold coins?? etc etc while Dad and son were talking about something else.

What a change. We spoke about her job and what her duties are.
I think sometimes when the focus is off ourselves or ego--personality part of us or how we think think others should live their lives and vice versa it is easier to get along

I am still wary of her but this was progress .At least we did not have the deathly silence between us.

The world cup has been a very exciting event and South Africa has done us proud. If there have been hitches I do not think it would be worse than any hitch other countries have.

When son goes out at night I do worry. Dont sleep till he arrives home safely
Somrtimes that is 2am.

Last Night he arrived home at 12.30 just after midnight. I said Shhhhhhh Dad is sleeping.
So he picks up this Vuvusela (this noisy thing they have been blowing at the world cup) and blow it loud.
The two of us started laughing and ofcourse his father woke up. He comes through and says"What is going on here?"
"Go back to England."

Hope I sincerely believe that adult children eventually come round. They mellow as much as we do.
Keep on hoping. Close your eyes and imagine the lord is touching his heart--keep on praying.

The more I try to be perfect the more I realize I am not perfect.
I may as well just be myself.

It is a lovely winters day in Cape today so son asks whether we would like to go out somewhere
for the day.

Ten minutes later friends phone and when he gets off phone he says "So and so wants me to ...but I offered to take you and Dad.
I said "What is the use of rapping with wrinkles go out with your friends. And he did.


It sounds like things are going along well between you and your ds/fdil.  The visit you had over lunch was a big success!  You and your fdil found something you enjoyed talking about and I like how relaxed and playful you are with your ds.  Enjoy the remainder of his visit and keep us posted.
Hugs, Hope


I agree with you Hope (and the priest) to love your adult kids unconditionally, but sometimes its so hard.  Sometimes as a parent to an adult kid (woman) in my case. She makes it hard when she gets hateful and uses the grandkids to hurt me.  The saddest part is, the kids didnt cause pain or harm to either of us, and they are the ones who suffer the most!  Im sure like the rest of you, that being a grandparent made life worthwhile in so many different ways?   That sad part is, my daughter just up and removed herself and her family from our lives.   She was my jury, she convicted me, and she sentenced me to solitary confinement!  All because she has many insecurities that her and sil cant seem to overcome.  Its been 90 days since we saw the gkids and since then I have been reading many helpful books to help me get through this.  They have been very helpful, but I find you still need others to communicate with and understand the pain.   Do I love my daughter, oh yes with all my heart still, but I dont like her right now!


Welcome to our piece of heaven!  You are in a sorrowful situation and I feel your pain coming through your post like a ton of bricks.  You have found a great place to share and find friendship and understanding.  My heart really goes out to you with the separation from your dd and gc.  It sounds very selfish of anyone to take away your loved ones and leave you standing there with your arms open and your heart broken.  I believe that she will be back with your gc.  I wish you could all go to counseling and work out the problems so that at least you have heard each other out and hopefully worked out any misunderstandings.  Maybe one day you will have that opportunity.  Please keep posting.  There are a lot of wonderful women on this site with a lot of wisom and big hearts.  You are in for a pleasant surprise.
Hugs, Hope


Thank you Hope for those kind words.  Man do I appreciate them!  Maybe its because my wounds are still so fresh, that I am harboring resentment towards my dd and my sil.  I have to always stop and remind myself that I love them very much, Im just not happy with the situation they put us all into.   Coming here helps me stay on track and it gives me ideas of how to approach the situation.  As for one day maybe being a family again, Im still pretty hopeless about that one!  DD is very stubborn too, but she does at least have common sense.  Plus my sil doesnt seem to care about having a family, as his was not involved with him as a child.   His is a sad situation so that would make one think that having gp's around for his kids would make things much nicer!!! 
Its like many others here, he wants to seperate our dd from us completely.  Im thankful he is a good man to them, as he does love them very much, he is just selfish!


My od was married once to someone who tried to keep her from us, too.  We weren't totally cut off, but he sure made things difficult.  I sympathize with your plight and we are here to give you support and comfort.  Hang in there.
Hugs, Hope


July 03, 2010, 12:16:45 pm #42 Last Edit: July 03, 2010, 02:27:10 pm by luise.volta
It seems to me that expectation is as normal as blueberry pie. It just doesn't enter our heads to sweep them clean when our kids marry. Around us it may look like other families are merging and expanding joyfully, why no ours, if we gave it every good thing we had to give? All will be well, right? Not necessarily. There's a lot to factor in beyond our own personal contributions.

It took me a long time to even consider that "what is, is what is" and my expectations might not be met. However, I have been a lot more comfortable since that sunk in. Sending love...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama