Do Our Children 'Owe' Us?

What do we owe our children?  What should we expect from our children?  I have been doing battle with my daughter for some time now.  She left home at 14 during the summer, which was to be her regular summer vacation with her Dad in Pittsburgh.

Right before she was to return, I received a call from her Dad informing me that she wasn't coming home.  She had chose to live with him and go to high school in Pittsburgh.  I was devastated.  How could this happen?  Why would my daughter do this to  me?  And why would her Dad make the call, and she refuse to do it herself?

To be fair, I was married to a bi-polar man and there was a lot of arguing in the house.  She told me years later that this was the reason.  It didn't stop the pain.  I will never forget it.  A loss that went right to the heart.

I cried until there were no tears left in my body. My  neighbor, and friend came over to comfort me.  I remember every detail of the day.  I shall never forget the day.

Throughout the years, my daughter went on to graduate from college, and became a Probation Officer in Florida.  She had a relationship with a college boyfriend that lasted 9 years.  They lived together, (which I initially suggested rather than rush into marriage).  This back fired.   Four years, went onto five, and I expressed my concerns and thoughts about marriage and family.  Last year, they bought a house; got a second dog - company for the min-pin my daughter has had for 10 years.  I also expressed my concerns over my daughter purchasing a house with a man who had not committed.

I have only seen my daughter three times in the 10 year period.  I could have visited her more, but financial obligations kept me from doing so.

I missed her terribly.

Roughly two months' ago, she announced she was going to meet her cousin, whom she had come to know on-line through Facebook.

 Hmmmm...she was going to New York, and I was concerned.  I told her that my niece may not be the most reliable person in the world.  That she should confirm her willingness to put her up for the few days she would be there.

To my dismay, my daughter told me that she told my niece exactly what I said.  I was incensed.  I explained that was not for publication, but something that was for her ears only.  Her comment?

"You should not talk behind people's backs."

 I couldn't believe my ears.

At any rate, as predicted, my daughter did not stay with my niece because, as I understood; my niece's boyfriend was not in agreement.  So, she ended up staying with a friend of my niece, a  40 year old man.  My daughter is 29.  I thought it odd that my daughter's boyfriend wasn't going along.  She had always done everything with this man.

I told my daughter that it was obvious that she was angry with me and had no respect for me.  I suggested we take a break and not speak.  I heard through the grapevine, that after a month returning from her trip, she packed up her bags, went to a motel, left her 10 year-old dog and the house she owned with her boyfriend.   She was moving to Connecticut to be with the man she had met - and stayed with on her trip- for just 3 days.

Just like that.  Quit her job (without notice) and left.

I was in total shock, as was the rest of the family.  What can you do - at 29 our children are adults- we have no control of their lives.  I communicated with my daughter today, and things went from bad to worse.  I was angry, and said some things better left unsaid.

I am now officially "unfriended"  from my daughter's Facebook page.  I am certain I deserved this after my lecture.

The point is, what can we expect from our adult children?  Do we have a right to tell them we don't approve or agree with their decisions?  Should we be disposable if they don't agree with us?

I am not the greatest diplomat with these matters.  I let it all hang out, and my temper gets the best of me.  Honestly, if someone told me they weren't speaking to their children and had written them off, I would be the first to judge and think how wrong they were.

Until it happened to me.

What do you think?  Is it better to come clean with your kids and let them know they are disrespectful?  Even if it means severing the relationship because they treat you like one of their friends instead of a parent?

I know many would bite the bullet and make up with their child.  I just can't, because I feel I am not getting the respect as a parent.  The only thing I wanted was an apology.

I never got it.


  1. First of all, Denise, let me send you all the cyberhugs in the world. Your daughter has treated you shabbily, there's no doubt about it.

    My children are grown. I have swallowed buckets of blood from biting my tongue. I try my best not to give advice of any kind. But that isn't always so easy. And sometimes I don't adhere to that, and usually it doesn't go very well.

    I'd like to think that my children appreciate all the effort I put into raising them and that out of that appreciation would come love and respect. But that isn't always the case.

    I do think that not speaking is likely not to lead to your relationship healing. It is unfortunate that you don't live closer because maybe some family therapy would help.

    But right now it sounds like your daughter is acting out of her emotions and not a place of rationality. To abandon her dog of 10 years sounds like she was very unhappy. My advice is for you to re-establish contact with your daughter and just try to listen to her without judgment on your part. That has seemed to work best for me when I'm in a tough place like this.

    God bless. Adult children are hard!! I admire your willingness to be honest

  2. I have extended her an olive branch, with an apologetic email, and two voice mail messages, and a text. There comes a point where you have to let things be. However, if I drop dead tomorrow, I know I have done the best that I could. Thanks for the comment, Chloe, I LOVE your Blog and graphics, where is it you live?