July 15, 2008
July 15, 2008

Wise Animals

Animals are wiser than us. They bring up their young and then let the young fend for themselves. If they did not do that, that species would become obsolete. Yet some human parents hang on to their young way past adulthood, harboring them in their homes with all life sustaining particulars including extras such as fancy clothes, cars and entertainment. Then there are another type of parents who refuse to give up the reins when the children marry: interfering with their choice of mate, their choice of home, their choice of decor, their choice of disciplining into the next generation. This type of parent shows up unexpectedly without forewarning or invitation expecting to be greeted exuberantly. Often demanding that the adult children contact them at the older generation’s bidding.

These insecure elders wreck havoc on the marriages and families of the next generation. Dutiful offspring and spouses attempt to placate the demanding relatives. In none of the above cases is there respect or consideration for the younger group’s self-esteem which often results in lack of self confidence, tension, anxiety and resentment that becomes hostility (Often directed towards the offender, but sometimes directed towards the world.)

An excellent solution is to follow the advice of how to be assertive in the book, “When I say No I feel Guilty’ by Manuel Smith, Ph,D. One ot the suggestions by Dr. Smith is to repeat calmly and quietly a type of mantra. In these situations, I suggest stating, “I am an adult. I will make my own decisions. Call me before you come over to confirm whether it is an appropriate time for a visit.” Unfortunately those communications only work with independent self-sufficient adults. The adults who are free loading, have lost their initiative and motivation to be or even want to be free standing. The parents need to push them from the nest, but this counselor finds that the elders need the children in order to bolster their ego or sustain them from loneliness, so that damaging the youth gives the parents a martyr status which they refuse to relinquish.

Hopefully this article will be a WAKE UP CALL for the demographics for which it applies.