couples

How to avoid ruining your relationship with your adult kids.

As my husband and I prepare to welcome our second child into this world, our relationship with one set of our own parents has soured. And by soured I mean gone to absolute sh*t.

It’s been a slow burn. First there were just one or two things that we took offense to, then it was a series of things and now it’s been more than a year of fairly out of order behaviour from them.

We’ve tried chatting to them about it, repeatedly, but it hasn’t worked. Their behaviour has continued and managed to sour some huge life events for us, including our son’s birth and our wedding. It’s sad because we used to have a great relationship with them and we’d like our toddler and new baby to be close to their grandparents.

Image via iStock.

It has made me think (and worry) about how my husband and I can hopefully stop the same things happening with our son and daughter when they get older, and my husband and I are, like our parents, pushing 60 or 70.

So here are a few tips from us kids to our baby-boomer parents…and a warning, I’m not holding back here.

1. Don’t take your mid or later life crisis out on us.

We get it – since your child had a child themselves, you’re probably questioning your place in the world a bit (“How on earth does my baby now have her own baby?” etc etc…) You’ve retired as well, and that’s a huge adjustment. We have sympathy, but only up to a point. Don’t let it make you self-obsessed, clingy and no fun to be around any more.

2. If you’re not happy, do something about it.

Yes, getting older is hard. But surely life is too short to spend all your time b*tching and moaning about it instead of actually fixing whatever it is that’s wrong? You’re getting older yes, but that doesn't mean you can’t still make decisions.

3. Don’t send long texts or emails – they won’t get answered.

We just DON’T. HAVE. TIME to listen to every little detail of your day, particularly when you've not asked how we are. See self-obsessed point above.

adult kids
Image via iStock.
ADVERTISEMENT

4. Don’t send bad presents.

Do us a favour – if you don’t know what to buy us or your grandkids, just ask. Call us ungrateful if you want, but surely it’s much better to ask for help than repeatedly buy horrible stuff that we just don’t need or want and will only throw away?

5. Understand that your kids’ big moments are just that – THEIR moment, not yours.

For example, DO NOT buy anything that even remotely resembles a wedding dress to wear as Mother of the Bride, or make the whole day about you (no, you don’t need your own ‘entrance’ or special moment).

6. Respect our wishes.

If we ask you to give us a few days after the baby is born before you come over, be gracious about it. Likewise if we ask you not to post certain photos or announce anything on social media before we do. Respect that we are old enough (and ugly enough) to know what’s best for our family.

7. Don’t ring at stupid times and get annoyed when we don’t answer.

We're in the middle of the bedtime routine with our kids, so why on earth would 6pm be the best time to call? We don’t care if it’s the only time that suits YOU.

adult kids
Image via iStock.

8. Don’t become best friends with our friends.

Enough said…but further to that, also don’t talk to them about us. You’ll look like a child who’s been gossiping in the playground.

Now, how do I file this article away so that I can read it as a 50 or 60-something year old and make sure I’m not doing the same things?

Have you ever had problems in your relationship with your parents?