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“Time makes bolder,
children get older
I’m getting older, too.” ~ Fleetwood Mac

My friend’s voice cracked and tears spilled from her eyes as she recounted the last meeting with her 30-something daughter. “My therapist says my relationship with you is toxic. I can’t be around you.”

I’ve known this woman for more than 20 years. I’ve watched the sacrifices she made for her children and the life she devoted to them: countless hours spent chauffeuring them to lessons and events; cookies and cupcakes baked for school parties; athletic games suffered through, and all the tears she dried, due to life’s disappointments.

When I heard such a cruel statement come from the daughter she adored, my own gut ached. Somehow with all the love we gave, and all the lessons we tried to instill, we forgot to teach our children to respect us.

Simply because they now earn a paycheck (and are less dependent on ours,) many adult children believe they can speak to us differently, condescendingly…as they might speak to a dim-witted peer.

In our constant attempts to bolster their self-esteem, did we diminish their regard for us?

Generational expectations often differ because ideas about relationships change over time. Mothers understand that behavior which is appropriate between parents and small children will change as the children grow. But respect is non-negotiable.

If you’ve never been a parent, let me assure you that caring for children is not always a rewarding enterprise. To hold a little person in your hands and in your heart every minute of your life is one tough task.

We all have similar hopes for our children: good health, happiness, fulfilling work and financial stability. Perhaps we should add one more: Always treat us with respect.

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