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Monday, July 13, 2015

When Families Expect a Return on Their Investment - Food, Shelter, Sacrifice

No matter how much you or someone else thinks that a parent, grandparent, or other relative should be paid back "...after all I did for my son...my daughter..." think again!  The parent did nothing more for children then what is required by law--food, shelter, etc.  Now if Mom, Dad, Grandparents went above and beyond, that's great, but if all one receives is a "Thank you," be happy for that.  Don't expect frequent phone calls, cards that say "You're the best!" and other similar things. 


Sacrifices are made everyday for sons and daughters from the mother who chooses to quit a job and stay home with children to a father who takes on a job that pays him less so he can be available to his family.  So when that inevitable decline in one's bond with offspring begins here and there over a lifetime (20s, 30s 40s plus), why badmouth children, shoot messengers, act prideful, self-righteous or anything else?


The negativity arises in so many families when enablers act as if what a parent, grandparent or others have done is justified such as:  expecting a son or daughter to acknowledge a holiday, visit a relative, provide service, appreciation, etc.  Most enablers have not walked in the disappointed daughter's or son's shoes with a toxic family.  So they become nothing more than mouth pieces, not necessarily peace-makers, who attempt to make themselves feel good by saying nothing new, different, or beneficial.  They talk only to hear themselves speak and at times they are parakeets for the toxic relatives.  Getting involved in disagreements, especially involving mothers and daughters and fathers and sons as well as others, is tiresome and usually no good deed goes unpunished.


Consider what a parent or grandparent has done over time that has caused distance between not only one's children, but others in the family, friends, neighbors, etc.  Take notice when you or someone else is being used in a way that makes the trouble-making relative feel good.  Sooner or later he or she will be a problem for you or others you know, if not already.


Much of the fuss goes back to those days when a troubled parent felt he or she could control his or her children.  They used what they could like:  providing basic needs, periodic gifts, and service to gain control.  They convinced children that they sincerely cared, but in time selfish reasons were revealed. 


To think that one should receive a return on investment from children is unintelligent.  Think about the financial obligations they have that parents didn't or wouldn't help with.  The pain of losing a near and dear relative that may not have been that parent's favorite person.  The issues sons and daughters have to deal with in marriage, divorce, parenting, and more.  How foolish a parent, who has caused his or her share of emotional and/or physical drama with children on and off over a period of years, to even think sons and daughters should/better/ought to have a close relationship!


The truth is a family reaps what they sow even with descendants.  Take a moment to ponder on what you are permitting to go on with your own children and how your actions or in-actions are affecting your relationship with them in the short or long-term.  No matter what you do or don't for children, there will come a time or many times when they just aren't into family particularly when they are tired of being hurt by them.


Nicholl McGuire author of When Mothers Cry and Tell Me Mother You're Sorry.  

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