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home : columns : dear harriette February 25, 2021

1/12/2021 8:06:00 AM
Kids throw childhood trauma in mom's face

DEAR HARRIETTE: I feel like my adult kids are losing respect for me. When your kids are young, they look up to you for everything and trust in you. My kids are all of college age and older. They are leaving the nest and not looking back. They throw their childhood bad memories at me, saying that I was manipulative and a liar. But as parents, we know what it's like when your kids throw a tantrum, or when they get into trouble as a teenager and just won't listen. I did what I needed to do to raise smart, strong kids, and I feel like I succeeded. All I want now is to enjoy a mature adult relationship with my kids, but they want nothing to do with me. I feel like I gave my life to them, and now I am hated and alone. Was I a bad mother? -- Miss My Kids

DEAR MISS MY KIDS: I'm so sorry that you are experiencing this break with your adult children. It sounds incredibly painful. To get past it, you may have to create space to let your children speak freely about whatever is bothering them. Clearly something happened that left a negative impression on your children. Whatever your intentions were, at this moment, your parenting style has left your children with a bad taste in their mouths.

Invite them, individually or together, to talk to you. Tell them that you hear them saying that you hurt them, and you want to know more. Promise that you will listen. Do your best to hear what they have to say. Do not make excuses as they talk. Be quiet. If you hear something that sounds legitimately off about your behavior, apologize. When it's your time to talk, admit that you know you weren't a perfect mom, but you did your best to give them the tools to succeed. Tell them that you want to cultivate a relationship with them. Ask if you can start fresh. It may take time, but don't give up.

DEAR HARRIETTE: From time to time, I have these nightmares about my fiance, of something happening to him or of him doing something to break my heart. These dreams are impacting my reality. Either I wake up crying, not wanting to get out of bed, or I wake up in a rage, upset with him over something that didn't happen. I'm finding it hard to separate what is real and what is a dream. I feel like my subconscious is either trying to tell me that this man isn't right for me or I just love him too much and too hard. It's got me scared for marriage. How can I deal with these dreams interfering with my reality? -- Deep Sleeper

DEAR DEEP SLEEPER: Talk to your fiance. Tell him about your dreams. Ask if he is nervous at all about getting married. This could just be jitters -- or it could be more. Talk it through. If the dreams do not subside, consider going to a counselor to work through your concerns.

Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to askharriette@harriettecole.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.





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