Becoming the Ear

Children, young and adult, will be some of our greatest teachers.

Parenting is not an easy task. We spend years protecting, mentoring, and giving advice to our children as they grow older.

At some point, the parent realizes that the adult child has been innocently conditioned to become dependent upon them.

Researching adult children issues, void of any tragedy, I was amazed at the number of parents facing the same issues, particularly those who had been trying to cut the cord, but to no avail.

Practicing tough love seems to be the most popular way to be successful in assuring your adult child will become independent of a parent.

The current generation of those between the ages of twenty and forty apparently carries a strong attitude of "expectations." Did we as parents contribute to this? Yes, we did.

To begin with, the majority of us had parents who came out of WWII and the depression. They were strict and overly cautious.

They believed they were protecting us with the mental attitude of "I want a better life for my children", better life meaning more money, more material things, more food, and better shelter.

There is nothing amiss with this, other than it became a root of control.

It was misplaced love and a mentality born of fear. Some of us brought up in this fashion became rebellious and wanted our freedom.

Freedom became a huge issue and was brought forth during the sixties, although well out of balance during that time, this period of time left lasting effects on us as a society.

Those born after WWII up until the early sixties became known as the Baby Boomers.

As we grew older, we adopted the attitude to be friends with our children rather than fit the parent role as we had experienced. This concept with some became out of balance.

We took on female equality and the mother removed herself from the home to gain a career in order to "find herself." This also happened during WWII when women had to leave the home to work because the men were fighting freedom in other countries.

Eventually, divorces became the norm. Families were split up in the twinkling of an eye.

A new era was born. Women were finally able to leave abusive relationships without being judged a failure or being labeled "not able to buck up" and be strong to a commitment that was never fully understood.

If someone discovered they were living a "lie" in a relationship, ties could be broken easily.

We as parents began to evolve into something our children had never seen, much less understood.

Now, we have adult children who missed out on having a parent teach them how to be respectful and responsible for their own actions or reactions. Creating disrespectful and irresponsible adults was not ever our intention.

Unknowingly and unfortunately, the expectations of these adult children are way out of whack. Deep within each one of them, all they want from a parent is love and attention.

In truth, all they desire is to be heard, to have a voice.

Most of them do not even realize they operate their lives from the center of this pain inside... what could have been, what should have been, etc.

Sadly, in reality, they are living in their past and allowing fear to control their actions. How, as a parent, can we truly help them now that they are grown?

Many of us have given advice over the years to our children, whether asked for or not.

In the present moment, one can look at where their child is in their life and know in their heart if this has helped them or not.

There are some who have made it into adulthood just fine without too many bruises and scars. Then there are the others who have not.

The ones who bear these scars of the past are the ones who sincerely desire a parent to "be the ear".

They may think that if given money, shelter, vehicles, and whatever material thing they ask for, will "fix" their lives, but it will not.

Giving them these things without limits actually damages and encourages dependency more than it helps them.

I am not saying it is wrong to help your child, what I am saying is when you help your child and you don't see them help their self, then there is a huge issue.

Somewhere along the journey of life, things got distorted. Distortions happened because of choices, those we made and those others in our life made.

The answer is simply: Silence. True golden silence says more than words could ever say. When we learn the value of silence, this becomes a crucial tool in parenting.

This silence is not about never communicating with anyone. The silence spoken of here is a loving one.

A silence defined as "listening, hearing and feeling" the other persons feelings, pain, their thoughts and plans for their future.

A good counselor does this, they listen. They give feedback when asked and function as a mediator.

Some parents carry guilty feelings into their elder years and even allow their adult children to impress this feeling upon them. It is not the fault of the child; we are all responsible for our individual feelings.

When a parent allows guilty feelings of not having made better choices in the lives of their children to consume their being, these feelings are in dire need of healing.

Becoming aware of the fact you are also living in the past, is what lies at the core of these guilt feelings. Now, you, the parent, can begin the healing process.

We too must realize, be aware, and more importantly... KNOW... the past cannot be changed.

As you heal, you become the ear, listening with an open heart, without judgment or condemnation.

Encourage them by listening with your heart and allowing your adult children to:

  • Express their feelings, you are not obligated to explain anything. Nor are you obligated to give your opinion.
  • Share their plans for the future. This allows them to think for themselves.

Never give up hope for them, there will come a day when their awareness awakens within their own hearts.

In time, they will appreciate, respect, and be glad that their parent was saying "no" in a loving way.

Understanding this... becomes a simple truth.

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