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BlsdMama

Do ya'all honestly feel you should *control* your adult children?

  

201 members have voted

  1. 1. Adult child (19-21) - do you determine their choices

    • I'm wiser, I can see the mistakes they are making, yes, I determine for the greater good. If I have to manipulate or make subtle threats for the greater good, so be it.
      1
    • Look, mistakes will be made and ultimately, as an adult, they need to make them & learn from them. I try to minimize my input or mind my own business.
      61
    • I am an advisory role. My child is an adult. If I want to have input, I'd better focus on the relationship. They are free to disregard.
      142
    • Obligatory Other
      10


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I am navigating this now with our 18year old dd at college, along with how to be a mother-in-law to our 22year old dd's dh!  Exciting times!  My 18 year old dd called yesterday to discuss dropping a class.  She was upset and not sure what to do.  Her worries ranged from this week to next summer to her future career.  I let her talk, and talk and talk, and cry a little.  Her big worry was that dropping the class would make her lose her ROTC scholarship...  I suggested that we worry about next summer (and getting enough flight hours) later, and just do what we can today.  Then she came up with some options of things to do, and I supported her ideas.  

 

i didn't try to make her keep the class, even though that was my personal preference.  (last week she was wanting to drop the class, we suggested that she talk to the professor first. The professor talked her into keeping the class. She worked really hard last week to make it work, but it was literally taking 6+ hours a day to do the assignments. So, I did pressure her a little last week, but I think we both came to realize the class was not a good fit.)

 

She was able to go talk to the ROTC and found that dropping the class and changing majors would have no affect on her scholarship!  She felt much better.  They gave her some suggestions and ideas that I wouldn't have known.  She was able to drop the class, and pick up another general ed class, keeping her credits up.

 

I am really proud of her for seeing the problem, coming up with some solutions, choosing one, following through on talking to others about it, even though it was not easy.  I can see that I still have a lot of influence in her life and that she was looking to me for permission and help to make her choices, and I'm happy to listen and guide, but I hope to be able to be more of a mentor than a dictator.  

 

 

 

 

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Tiger moms.

 

I'm not exactly a tiger mom - maybe more of a bobcat mom - but I do try to get them to accomplish a lot during school age.  It's not because I expect to control them past 18, though.  It's because I want them to be ready for independence when they go to college.  It's because I know that my ability to "control" their lives diminishes day by day.

 

I am sure it's cultural, because I feel almost perverse when I think about "telling" my kids what to do after age 18.  Even now, I let them do things different from how I would choose.  How will they learn about consequences if they never get to make mistakes?  How will they develop a sense of self?  I don't own my kids.

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We may be a little odd in that we foot the bill AND still let them decide who they want to be and what they want to do.

 

We've been (mostly) advisers since our kids were young teens.  Discussions are super common in our family.  It's how we share knowledge.  Pending topic, we learn just as much from our kids as they learn from us.  Finances sometimes dictate decisions, but they do that for us parents as much as for our kids. 

 

Oddly enough, they've turned out just fine.  I'm not quite sure how that happened... :lol:

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We have some strings, but I think they are reasonable strings, attached to our money given to our adult children. I think that is expected.

 

If the child is doing something dangerous or not appropriate, we can pull funding

 

But they have never given us reason to do that so far.

 

18 is still very young.

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this is way too "common", but I'd never call it normal/healthy.  not for the relationship, not for the kid.  they have to actually do the school work.  I find parents who *tell* their children what to do, make everything about themselves.  besides - I spent years raising them, I want to have a life of my own without worrying what they're doing every minute. (though I'm now in the stage when every time 2dd calls with exciting news - I half expect/hope to hear I'm going to be a grandma. . . . .. I have never said anything to her, and I refuse to say anything. at this stage, I'll probably be surprised when she does.)   

 

the controlling parents I've known - don't generally have their own lives.

 

My grandmother was that way . . . . I have nothing nice to say, so I won't say anything.

 

I didn't see a lot of difference between the 2nd and 3rd choices.   much depends upon the child, as kids are different.  I make/made suggestions and asked questions.  some I've had to make demands.  (I don't care about the degree - as long as they can support a family. I assume it will be something they enjoy and for which they have an aptitude. 2ds did think I expected him to do STEM -I thought that was what you liked.  )

 

I may still have to do things to encourage them to be more independent.  some need more actual instruction in the subject than others.  some, make me think on a commercial with great fondness.  the adult son, who still lives with his parents - has finished medical school, his residency, his first few years of private practice, and is thinking of buying his own home.  he shows houses to his parents and asks what they think .  WE LIKE IT!!!!!  (to every house.  iow: pick one, buy it and MOVE OUT ALREADY!)

 

 


 

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Recently, my MIL tried to prove how nonracist she is by recounting a conversation he had when her kids were in high school and someone said "you would *let* your kids marry someone of a different race?!" And she said "of course, I would *let* them" My eyes rolled so hard it hurt. Ugh. Obviously, she had no input then or now. When my kids are adults, I will recognize the fact that I have no say in how they live. I hope I have a good enough relationship with them that they will want to listen to my advice. Time will tell.

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I don't think the attitude in the OP is healthy and I see it a lot. But I also believe once you hit 18 it's time to be an adult, warts and all. The weird coddling of college students as though they're still dependents, in the absence of any developmental delays or cognitive disorders? Totally bizarre and becoming increasingly common.

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I hope to strike a balance. 

 

My parents were remarkably unhelpful in giving me life advice.  Staggeringly so. 

 

Like when I was 16 they said, "Well...we have a little money.  You can use it to buy a new car or to go to college.  Your choice."  There was no discussion of the ramifications of either choice.

 

I chose the car.

 

OMG.  I never went to college.  

 

OMG.  That ranks up with the top 3 biggest regrets of my life.  

 

So, I don't plan on disowning my kids if they don't do as I say, but I 100% will be giving out advice.  And some of it may even be very strongly worded if it's something as foolish as choosing a car over an education.  

 

It also depends on the kids.  Some are very independent at 19 and some are very immature and need guidance.

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Not my style but then again, if I felt a grown child was setting a bad example for my younger children or undermining my parenting, then I could see doing that too.

 

It is normal in many cultures where the concept of independence is far less valued than the recognition of expected interdependence within family and the obligations that come with it.

 

Again, why is this your problem? It's sad to many I guess but it's not your problem and this adult should not need you or I to handle their parents for them.

 

 

Unfortunately very much my problem. :( Sigh.  It's been a long three weeks.

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Generally speaking, I try hard to step back and just give advice, rather than force my opinion on my kid.  My oldest is 20, going to be 21 in December...the rest are under the age of 8 and WELL within my control (she said sarcastically lol.) 

 

I will say, when my kid changed her major...I was NOT pleased and I let it be known.  Forcefully.  But, once I made my opinion known, I dropped, as I said I would.  Now, my reason for being displeased had nothing to do with the major she was switching to or what she was switching from, or even the fact that she was switching at all.  It was because of what I believed (and still believe) the underlying reasons were for the switch.  The major she switched to is really just as good as the one she switched from, and actually will still allow her to do what she wants to do.  But, I still think it was a mistake, not because of the action itself, but because of the reasons why.  And, I suspect that now, deep down, she probably feels the same, based on some of the things she has said and done. 

 

Some people might find that type of thing controlling.  But ultimately, there was nothing I could do about it really.  I mean, she was paying for everything anyway, so it's not like I could have threated any sort of financial removal anyway...not that I would have.  And, there are very very few things that would have me "disowning" my kid or refusing to let her see her siblings. 

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I am at a loss as to why this would result in the need to vent? What does it matter whether some adults try to control their own adult child? I guess if your own adult child was in a serious relationship with another adult whose parent were controlling, it might effect me indirectly, but then that would mean you want to control your own adult child, wouldn't it?

 

Other than that it's none of my business. 

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Well, it's not how we handle things with adult ds. It basically goes like this:

If I am - or dh - is asked for advice we listen and give it our best shot.

If he does not ask us for advice, we don't butt in...however, he lives in another state and perhaps the "butting in" would be more tempting if he was living closer. I would still strive to zip my mouth unless I am asked. He has made good and not so good decisions in our opinion - thankfully nothing life-changing. We hope he will learn and grow from those failures.

I also believe you cannot control others and when you try it usually breeds resentment on some level. This is different from offering advice.

 

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I don't think the attitude in the OP is healthy and I see it a lot. But I also believe once you hit 18 it's time to be an adult, warts and all. The weird coddling of college students as though they're still dependents, in the absence of any developmental delays or cognitive disorders? Totally bizarre and becoming increasingly common.

 

 

You know, the funny thing it isn't coddling.  It's more of, "I know what's best for you.  Do this.  Don't do this.  Do what I want or else."  I get that at 10.  I get it to some degree at 14.  I get it when it's dangerous.  I get it when they are hurting themselves.  I don't get "I *prefer* you choose X" or "I think X is a better idea than Y and let's talk that through," vs. "You are not to do this," at adulthood.

 

Just a caveat, this particular scenario involves two college students who work their tails off, generally make great decisions, get excellent grades, and work 30-40 hours a week.  Have they necessarily made some less than awesome choices in the past few months? Um, yup.  But there comes a time when you have to say, "My child is an adult.  They are owning their decisions and those decisions are theirs to make."

 

 

Trying to handle life with grace right now and just going 'round in my head. Sigh.

 

Please don't quote. 

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My young adult consults us often for advice. I see it as my role to give counsel, help her see different sides of decisions, give her viewpoints and arguments she may not have considered - or supporting her and validating a  choice she has made. I am fortunate that we have a relationship that makes this possible.

Ultimately, her choices are hers. She is wise enough to listen to what we have to say, and then weight the arguments.

 

We are working on getting DS17 to this point. Technically, he is still a minor, but we turn as much control as possible over to him, while offering counsel. I cannot recall having to override one of his decisions in the past few years.

Edited by regentrude
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See with adult children working hard and making generally good decisions I think that doubly necessitates some trust and hands off by the parents. It's not like the kids are a walking train wreck!

 

Ugh.

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Is this one of your kids and their spouse and the other parents are being controlling?

 

If so, I would try to let them know that you are supportive of the choices they make and gently guide them on how to develop boundaries.

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So many factors here.  Anything from I think some parents don't know how to turn off the parent button once their kids hit a certain age.  Some people might feel as if the "elders" have the most wisdom and it's acceptable to be controlling to a certain extent.  And some parents are just bat shi* crazy.

 

 

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I haven't read any of the responses.  Telling a kid he has to go into debt to attend a particular college with name value is nuts in this day and age.  It's a personal goal to help my kids graduate college with hopefully little to no debt if they chose to go that route.  Financially it's rarely worth going into more debt over a high buck college. And we educate our kids with the goal of college in mind.

 

I think 18 year olds are a range.  There is no magic age where every young adult is 100% ready to launch and not be parented at all.  There have been posts on this board lately of young adults who can't/won't drive, who refuse college, who aren't launching.  Who am I to say what another parent does or doesn't do for their young adult child.  It's been scientifically show brain development occurs into the late 20's, particularly for males. 

 

If my kids chose to go to college with our help, it will be a group decision where they will go.  If my kids have a fancy, expensive program in mind, I'd encourage that direction for a grad school experience where financial aid/work study/grants are more prevalent.  If my kids want to get married young, that is the time I back off, both in terms of parenting and in terms of money. 

 

I allow more freedom for my teen than many I know and at this point there are more discussions with him rather than hard and fast rules that he must follow blindly.   Moving a teen to adult is a marathon not a sprint and not everyone "finishes" on the same time table.  I'm certain there are parents over invested in particular scenarios for their young adults that exist.  Just are there parents that think they're done parenting by the time a teen is 14/15.  I don't think either extreme is the norm. 

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Is this one of your kids and their spouse and the other parents are being controlling?

 

If so, I would try to let them know that you are supportive of the choices they make and gently guide them on how to develop boundaries.

I would keep my mouth shut. What boundaries and how to implement them should be between that adult and their parents. It's not for me to judge it or interfere in it baring some kind of actual abuse. Of which wanting their child to finish a masters before getting married is certainly not. Either the couple will work it out or the couple won't. Either the other parents will come to grips with the couple's decision or they won't. It is not my place to interfere with the other parents or tell my possible future son or daughter in law how they should handle their own parents.

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I chose "Mistakes will be made..."

 

My oldest will be 21 next month, lives at home, and works nearly full-time. Most people don't realize that he is not neuro-typical, but we've known for years that his brain is going to take a bit longer to mature than other boys/men his age.

 

That being said, we are actively pushing him towards the "you are an adult, this is your job/decision/responsibility" portion of his life. It is slow going, but he's getting there; however, there is still a lot of maturing and/or learning to do on his part. It is also hard to have to force ourselves to step back and make him fly by himself.

Edited by Noreen Claire
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I could only imagine doing any of the above if I was, in some way, helping to foot the bill. On a similar note, I can see rules, regardless of age, if our child(ren) still lived with us. 

 

ETA: My husband wishes he had had more direct guidance from his father regarding adult life. While my FIL was always there to pick DH up if needed (metaphorically), and was always supportive, he was TOO supportive, I think, offering essentially only one piece of advice - don't attend college just to major in music (FIL was a music teacher, lol). 

 

Edited by AimeeM

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Young adulthood, particularly if the new adult has chosen the college path, is such a weird time. It's exponentially weirder if you have offspring with some sort of chronic illness, and especially one that impacts mental function, as I do.

 

The colleges require full access to parental financial records in order for the student to receive financial aid, including student loans. Not all colleges, but some, including my daughter's school, do not offer student health insurance, which requires the out of state student to remain on a parental plan. Just a couple of examples of how the system keeps us involved and financially liable during the college years.

 

My daughter's decisions (impacted by her illness), into which I had no input, HAVE cost us financially, including a dip into retirement plans. Now, we could have completely abandoned her, of course, but that would be fairly heartless. I could have given up pushing for treatment and solutions, nagging her as needed, traveling to where she was at times, but no doubt in my mind she would be deceased at this point had I not taken on the "controlling mother" label more than once.

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Unfortunately very much my problem. :( Sigh. It's been a long three weeks.

But... Gently treading here....That makes no sense? According to you neither you nor the other parents should be having any say in this. So it isn't your problem unless you insist on making it your problem. In which case, you become just another version of the same problem you are venting about?

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This behavior might well be more common than I'm aware of, but it is not healthy.  I witnessed this with my grandmother and my mother.  I witnessed it and felt it with my mil and dh.  I see it happening with my dd's best friend and her mother.  It's easy to say that controlling adult children is just an illusion, but those parent/child relationships are multi-faceted and deep.  The roots go all the way back to the beginning.  It's not always so easy to just say 'mom, I love you but I'm making my decisions now so back off' or whatever.  Parent/child love can be a strong tool; not that that is real love, but it's a great way to control adult children.  And it's not just a case where the parents ends up losing; the adult child has lost, too.

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But... Gently treading here....That makes no sense? According to you neither you nor the other parents should be having any say in this. So it isn't your problem unless you insist on making it your problem. In which case, you become just another version of the same problem you are venting about?

No, I don't think she's making herself another version of the same problem. There's a huge difference between telling your kid they better do life the way the parents want or else, and guiding them on how to make choices for themselves and letting them know it's okay to make boundaries.

 

My grandmother was very much the people the OP described. And part of the reason my mom married my dad was because he was willing to stand up to her on her behalf. I don't think it's healthy to treat adult children that way.

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This behavior might well be more common than I'm aware of, but it is not healthy. I witnessed this with my grandmother and my mother. I witnessed it and felt it with my mil and dh. I see it happening with my dd's best friend and her mother. It's easy to say that controlling adult children is just an illusion, but those parent/child relationships are multi-faceted and deep. The roots go all the way back to the beginning. It's not always so easy to just say 'mom, I love you but I'm making my decisions now so back off' or whatever. Parent/child love can be a strong tool; not that that is real love, but it's a great way to control adult children. And it's not just a case where the parents ends up losing; the adult child has lost, too.

I'm not saying it's easy to navigate or that there isn't any such thing as dysfunctional levels.

 

But yes, control IS an illusion. However difficult and upsetting it might be to handle it, at some point people either decide to accept how they are treated or not. And we can't make that decision for them. And getting upset about it won't change it. They don't have any obligation to do what we think they should about it and it's not for us to decide we know better how they should handle their relationship with their parents.

 

As I told my mil once. I've known my parents for 20+ years. She doesn't get to tell me how she knows how I should handle that relationship after only knowing me for 2 years. It's not her problem. It's between me and them. And all that matters is whether my husband is on board or not, which is also not needing her input.

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But... Gently treading here....That makes no sense? According to you neither you nor the other parents should be having any say in this. So it isn't your problem unless you insist on making it your problem. In which case, you become just another version of the same problem you are venting about?

ETA: So I'll share a bit more - it is indeed our problem. 

 

Good theory, but no.  I'd like to let the young adults make choices... And deal with consequences.

 

So, in the, pour your guts on the floor, my DD is expecting a wee one with her fiancee... Good intentions and all that jazz.  DH and I were boggled, but at the end of the day, two young adults now have to own their choice.

 

And they are.  Actually, with flying colors.  I'm a little amazed by how well they are owning the responsibility and making plans.

They met with their pastor, decided to do premarital counseling and are planning a marriage in November time frame.  They are working very hard to be up front with everyone, including the church, their pastors, and their families.  Now, decision time.  The young man in question was asked to leave his home for attending community college.  He did so.  He was then told there will be no marriage.  And he has decided ultimately he is joining the Air Force.  

 

And now the fallout.

 

And can I just say, they are adults making adult decisions.  And am I thrilled about how this played out?  Heck no I'm not.  I could have passed on the whole sin and repentance thing frankly.  But I am OWNING my part in this too.  They had two sets of parents asking them to wait indefinitely to get married and be chaste with no end point in sight.  

 

But, truly, what's done is now done.  So now they are trying to make adult decisions and I don't understand how folks can't just say, "New plan.  How we can be supportive (emotionally) of you wanting to support your child?"

 

So it is NOT that i am unhappy because they aren't doing things "my" way.  It's that I think they should be supported in good decisions, thinking things through, making a plan.  And if they don't feel they can do that, that's okay too.  But just vetoing ideas (school, job, marriage) under the threat of disowning is a little .... unfathomable?

 

I'm not sure it's relevant.  He isn't the type to just say, "Well, my mommy or my daddy said I can't play so I'm going home.  Don't call me anymore, we can't be friends," like a six year old.  But let it just be said -   They screwed up.  They're sorry.  This whole repentance thing?  Basis of Christianity.  You can discourage a plan but don't just throw it all out and say there is only one plan, my plan, and if it's not my plan, then I'm done with you. Because this is a whole new scenario and you can't just gather up your bat and glove and go home.

 

I'm not dealing well.........  I recognize I'm not dealing well.  I'm just not sure how to resolve that.  

 

 

Edited by BlsdMama

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I'm not saying it's easy to navigate or that there isn't any such thing as dysfunctional levels.

 

But yes, control IS an illusion. However difficult and upsetting it might be to handle it, at some point people either decide to accept how they are treated or not. And we can't make that decision for them. And getting upset about it won't change it. They don't have any obligation to do what we think they should about it and it's not for us to decide we know better how they should handle their relationship with their parents.

 

As I told my mil once. I've known my parents for 20+ years. She doesn't get to tell me how she knows how I should handle that relationship after only knowing me for 2 years. It's not her problem. It's between me and them. And all that matters is whether my husband is on board or not, which is also not needing her input.

 

 

But, said as a 40ish year old woman confident in who she is, kwim?

 

It is an easy thing for us to say, "So make a good decision, if they can't deal with it, such is life, you pick up and carry on."  Which is where he is, sadly. :(

But it is a damn shame the consequence of him taking responsibility, staying out of debt, and "carrying on" is that he no longer has parents or siblings with which to communicate. 

 

:(  

 

Frankly I think he's doing well under the burden but it breaks my heart to see it.  And I just feel if I could understand the motivation behind it, then I could help them understand why support is important?  We are supposed to attend a counseling session with the young adults this weekend, as are his folks.  I don't know if they will come or not but I'd like to understand where they are coming from so that I can find SOME level of compassion.

 

But I'm coming up dry.

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I'm not dealing well.........  I recognize I'm not dealing well.  I'm just not sure how to resolve that.  

 

I can understand being rocked by events. Totally. But you said you're not dealing with it well. I guess it depends on what "well" means. From my far-off vantage point, it looks to me that you aren't the one threatening to disown anybody. You're the one who acknowledges they're adults making adult decisions and that, in re-evaluating their plans, you think they're doing a pretty good job. My guess is you're going to be there both practically and emotionally for these young parents-to-be. That sounds pretty darn good if you ask me. (Best wishes on the unexpected, but will-be-much-loved grandbaby.)

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Oh mama...

 

First, I assume this is your 20 yr old DD and not your 14 yr old DD?

 

I got pg at 17.  I was a junior, he was a senior, in high school.  Both of our parents FLIPPED out.  My parents on the conservative, YOU MUST GET MARRIED NOW side, and his parents on the YOU MUST ABORT NOW side.  (not that it matters, but my parents had no partners before marriage, but his parents also go pg at similar ages.)

 

Major fall out, major arguements, discussions, etc.  All cards on the table....he and I decided on abortion.  All cards on the table, he talked me into it.  Details of the situation aside.....

 

 

Here's something I personally learned...as the pregnant mama in the situation.....Ultimately, my life is MINE.  And, it's going to be OK based on my decisions or not.  And, in that vein...STOP "owning your part."  You didn't do this.  She did.  It doesn't help her feel like she's making an adult decision to have you "own your part."  You weren't there in the bedroom (sorry if that sounds crude.)  She isn't a 10 yr old.  I own MY PART in getting pg with DD20 and my parents.....honestly...had no part.  They taught me all about the consequences of my choices, and I didn't care.

 

And...this is exactly what I told my mother, who called ME for advice/comfort, when my brother, at age 20, found out his GF was pregnant.  She called ME crying about how it's happening all over again etc etc.  At that time, DH and I were already married, we owed a house, I had my degree, he was working on his......and my mother was STILL calling me freaked out about my brother's future and feeling responsible.

 

 

Which is all to say....THIS one individual problem....isn't yours.  Give your opinion.  Give your advice.  KNOW that your own child is listening.  Base your opinions on the person you child is with...and not the issue of the grandchild on the way.

 

 

ETA: ONLY incase it wasn't clear....he and I decided to abort...I decided against it.  I had DD20 just 2 weeks after turning 18

Edited by happysmileylady
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::Hugs:: It sounds like such a difficult situation. Did I understand that right, that the ILs still don't want them to get married?

 

I think the ILs are going to push the young couple away entirely if they don't ease up and allow them to make their own decisions.

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I think the 'new plan, moving on now' is definitely kindest and most respectful of the young adults. And this is also why I don't counsel for long courtships - it's so hard! But I'm biased since I decided marriage and kids earlier was a better path for me than trying to split the difference, too.

 

Hugs to you - that is rough on the whole family but it sounds like both of the parents to be have good heads on their shoulders and are doing their best of a situation that wasn't their first choice. Bravo to them. Nothing about the plan you've outlined sounds unsound to the point of disowning, that's for sure!

Edited by Arctic Mama

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But... Gently treading here....That makes no sense? According to you neither you nor the other parents should be having any say in this. So it isn't your problem unless you insist on making it your problem. In which case, you become just another version of the same problem you are venting about?

 

It makes sense in one situation.  If it is the OP's spouse who is the one wanting to be controlling.  It would put the OP in a very difficult situation. 

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Good theory, but no. I'd like to let the young adults make choices... And deal with consequences.

 

So, in the, pour your guts on the floor, my DD is expecting a wee one with her fiancee... Good intentions and all that jazz. DH and I were boggled, but at the end of the day, two young adults now have to own their choice.

 

And they are. Actually, with flying colors. I'm a little amazed by how well they are owning the responsibility and making plans.

They met with their pastor, decided to do premarital counseling and are planning a marriage in November time frame. They are working very hard to be up front with everyone, including the church, their pastors, and their families. Now, decision time. The young man in question was asked to leave his home for attending community college. He did so. He was then told there will be no marriage. And he has decided ultimately he is joining the Air Force.

 

And now the fallout.

 

And can I just say, they are adults making adult decisions. And am I thrilled about how this played out? Heck no I'm not. I could have passed on the whole sin and repentance thing frankly. But I am OWNING my part in this too. They had two sets of parents asking them to wait indefinitely to get married and be chaste with no end point in sight.

 

But, truly, what's done is now done. So now they are trying to make adult decisions and I don't understand how folks can't just say, "New plan. How we can be supportive (emotionally) of you wanting to support your child?"

 

I'm not dealing well......... I recognize I'm not dealing well. I'm just not sure how to resolve that.

I don't see why you or the other parents are at fault. These two had sex before marriage of their own choice. Sin or not, it's not your fault in any manner.

 

It sounds like this is going very well and totally proving my point about control being an illusion. And that at some point, an adult has to make some tough relationship decisions.

 

He should be leaving home anyways since apparently he needs to make a new one with his wife and child, so leaving early because he decided on community college might suck but oh well. Same goes for the Air Force.

 

I don't see the fallout? Listen. If those parents are genuinely toxic controllers? Then thank goodness they are now out of his life and your daughter won't have to put up with their interference in her marriage and child raising. Blessing in disguise! If those parents are actually just not handling this well and making some dumb brain fart parental decisions they will eventually have the wisdom to regret? Well in time one hopes they will slowly come around and the relationship damage can be repaired. They wouldn't be the first parents to freak the heck out and lose their decision making skills about their kid getting a girl pregnant and then up and joining the military.

 

For MY part? I'd be more upset about joining the military than the pregnancy! I'd rather they marry and live with us and finish college while working than see my dd practically raise the child alone while he is in the military. And for my sons, I'd feel awful that they would be away so much from their new child. I would worry an unplanned marriage/pregnancy AND joining the military would make it very difficult for the marriage to succeed, which would be my primary hope. But if they didn't want to do that, well... I'd be very upset about it, but I wouldn't disown them for it. Partly because as a mother of many sons, I'm well aware my future dil is likely also a gatekeeper to my grandchildren and I'd be more upset about losing contact with my future grandchildren than with my son joining the military. Not all parents think like I do though.

 

(((Hugs)))

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I read your update.  It sounds like these young people are dealing with this situation as well as could be expected and that should be supported and honored. It's done now.  It is happening, and even for the most conservative of believers, you have to recognize that these young people are doing the best they can to make it right.  I can't imagine who would disapprove of that.   I'd be more concerned if he did just say that mommy and daddy are telling him he can't make decisions now.  

Edited by TranquilMind
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I think a lot has to do with how much of the YA's bills the parents are still covering - college? Car insurance? Health insurance? Cell phone services? Those are things which enable the child to become independent, but I often see as abused privileges when spoiled 20-somethings decide they want to be independent, but don't actually fully take the reins of their own life's expenses. As long as I am providing financially for that sort of thing, I expect my kids to give an ear to my advice and recommendations. But really, I don't make demands of them. 

 

I do think they need to understand that poor choices have consequences, and that some of their funding may dry up if they make unwise choices. I know that sounds like a threat, or maybe controlling, but dh works well with our kids as they transition to adulthood, and he has a very calm and reasonable way of saying "these are things we can help with, but xyz are behaviors we cannot support."

 

I also agree with others above that if the oldest comes home with opinions and behaviors to intentionally undermine my parenting of younger kids, that's not okay. We can have differences of opinion, differences in lifestyle, and still get along, but undue pressure on a much younger sibling is not cool.

 

If any of my YA's are being totally foolish, totally dangerous, or totally selfish about something, they are almost certainly going to get called out on it by mom. But that's not being controlling, that's just me being mom. 

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 I've worked my ass off for 25 years to form these relationships and it makes my heart all warm and gooey that when the test comes - they don't live here - these bonds and a desire to maintain them have remained.

 

 

 

Amen, sister!!!

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His parents need to get over the the fact their original plan is no longer valid nor do they get to have any input on what the new plan should be.  He is going to be a father.  Time to man up.  He needs to tell his parents how it is going to be.  Your daughter and your soon to be sil need to be making the decisions and if they want input they need to initiate  that.

 

DH and I were in a similar situation.  Got pregnant early(in our 20's) and not married.  My parents were supportive.  Dh's parents were used to calling the shots.  He should have stood up to them from day one and he didn't and it set the tone for most of marriage until he started standing up to them.

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But, said as a 40ish year old woman confident in who she is, kwim?

 

It is an easy thing for us to say, "So make a good decision, if they can't deal with it, such is life, you pick up and carry on." Which is where he is, sadly. :(

But it is a damn shame the consequence of him taking responsibility, staying out of debt, and "carrying on" is that he no longer has parents or siblings with which to communicate.

 

:(

 

Frankly I think he's doing well under the burden but it breaks my heart to see it. And I just feel if I could understand the motivation behind it, then I could help them understand why support is important? We are supposed to attend a counseling session with the young adults this weekend, as are his folks. I don't know if they will come or not but I'd like to understand where they are coming from so that I can find SOME level of compassion.

 

But I'm coming up dry.

No, I told my mil that when I was 21. I wasn't particuliarly confident in myself so much as confident I knew my parents better than my mil.😋

 

The bottom line here is they don't think he is making good decisions. And that's okay. What they think matters less than what he thinks and what his future wife/mother of his child thinks. And it sounds like he has the good sense to recognize that priority shift and place it accordingly in his decision making. That's wonderful. I think they understand support is important. That's why they have withheld it - they do not want to support this situation or these decisions. And that's okay. It has absolutely nothing to do with what you are going to do or how you are going to support them. Let him deal with his parents without comment from you. He gives every indication of doing so just fine IMO from what you've said.

 

I'm not sure why everyone needs to go to counseling. Or why the parents of the adult couple would be included. That seems weird to me because these two people need to make their own decision and to ME the first rule of marriage is to put each other first, which means parents don't get a vote. So there would be no purpose to including them in the couple/marriage counseling to me.( ETA: I don't really care actually if the parents go. I just think it's odd. 🙂)

Edited by Murphy101
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And fwiw, I think it sounds like you're handling things okay. It's always hard t watch your kids make difficult choices and it's hard to watch your kids try to navigate difficult relationships. Put the 2 together and I think the angst is totally understandable.

 

What this couple needs right now is a lot of love and support. It sounds like they are owning the decision and making the best of it. And if they are going to make a go of this and form their own little family, the ILs need to step back and remember how they wanted to be treated as yound adults/newlyweds.

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Congratulations on the grandbaby! Timing might be less than perfect, but the wee one will be. Speaking as a mom of a 20 yr old son (who is in college on our dime, car and medical as well), I would not be super thrilled and be irked that a new plan was even needed. BUT.... I would put my irritation aside and do what ever I could to support the young couple, because success in their marriage will be the best gift I could ever give my grandbaby. 

 

You do your best, pray hard that the other set of parents will see the light. This is not about them. It is not even about your kids anymore. It is about an innocent babe who needs a loving family. 

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I can understand a general parental desire for finishing higher education prior to marriage BUT if there's a baby coming, that changes everything. There's the ideal and the reality, KWIM? People plan and God laughs as the Yiddish saying goes.

 

The Air Force will provide a stable job, health coverage, housing, and either loan forgiveness or tuition assistance (maybe both? not sure about that) so it's a great way to provide for his family.

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What is it with the parents of the men? Or is it more of a first pancake problem?

 

We were not even pregnant, but dh's parents lost their frickin minds when he announced we got engaged in high school and going to be getting married after I graduated. They threatened everything under the sun and almost didn't come to the wedding. Totally screwed up their relationship with him. He still doesn't have much of a relationship with them 25 years later. In fact, after 25 years it's worse bc as dh has gotten older, the less interested he is in bothering.

 

But if I have a choice between indifferent uninvolved in laws or PITA in laws always telling us how we are screwing up and punitively messing with us? I'd rather be disowned!

Edited by Murphy101
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Congratulations on the new grandbaby.

 

I don't understand his parents at all.  What do they want their son to do? Dump your daughter? Ignore his responsibility? Or provide financial support but leave it at that?  This is their grandchild, too. Not only would they be disowning their son, they will be disowning their grandchild.

 

They need you and your dh to support them in their good decisions, and it sounds like they are now making good decisions.  Not what they originally planned, but they're dealing with reality.  They will need you even more if they're lacking support from his parents.

 

And, it will be okay.  My oldest was also pregnant before she and her dh got married.  Plans changed (they often do). Anyway, we now have three beautiful granddaughters, and my dd has a good husband.  They are a beautiful family.

 

Feelings can change.  If his parents don't change right now, maybe they will after the baby is born.  Babies can bring about big changes in people.  I hope they do.  You can't do anything about his parents' behavior.  But your dd and her fiance are so blessed to have you.

 

eta:  deleted quote

Edited by Ishki
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Feelings can change.  If his parents don't change right now, maybe they will after the baby is born.  Babies can bring about big changes in people.  I hope they do.  You can't do anything about his parents' behavior.  But your dd and her fiance are so blessed to have you.

 

:iagree: Honestly, I wouldn't get too upset about the other family's opinions and rantings right now.  They are in shock.  THEY aren't handling it well and that shows in different ways for different families.  There is a good chance things will settle down and all will be well in time.  The thing is the young man IS an adult and he needs to show his commitment and responsibility level now.  It would be nice if his family were supportive and they may be in time, but that shouldn't be the primary concern.  This is a time to support your own child the best way you know how and don't get too invested in things you cannot control. 

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No, though sometimes I would like to!   :D

 

ETA:  Oops, sorry!  I skipped over way to much!  It sounds like they are doing the very best they can now, and hopefully his family will come around soon.

Edited by J-rap

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