“Being a parent is the hardest job in the world” are the words my mum said to me when I had my first child, and my goodness how right she was.
No-one can ever tell you how difficult it is until they are a parent themselves.
Of course once a parent always a parent, it isn’t a role that magically disappears when children reach a certain age, it is permanent, or at least it should be.
Part of good parenting is acknowledging your mistakes, and we all make them, and hopefully learn from them. When our children are babies and little it is very different from when they become adults in their own right.
We bring them up to become mature and independent people, to hopefully be caring and kind to others.
So when an adult child turns on us the hurt is immeasurable.
The child who wants nothing more to do with you or stop you seeing your grandchildren, is exactly the same person who you have cared for and loved for many years, the child who ran to Mum and Dad when they fell over, the same person who cried out to Mum and Dad in the middle of the night for reassurance.
What has happened for this to happen?
Of course, as I have said before, if abuse or neglect has occurred during childhood then that is totally understandable.
But this is not the case in the vast majority of alienation situations.
I support thousands of grandparent who are experiencing this devastating separation.
The question is always the same, “Why does my daughter/son hate me so much?”
Hate. There is that word again, how do we reach a place where our children hate us?
I have read many, many responses to this from the child’s point of view, and the vile,vicious words that are written are truly horrific.
Most children have had a good life, have been cared for and loved, educated, financed, in fact given almost everything they have asked for. Some see it as a right, that their parents give them everything they ask for.
Maybe that where we went wrong?
When parents have to say enough is enough, maybe there is no more money, the child starts to stamp their feet, just like they did when they were 3 years old.
Of course you can’t put a 36 year old on a ‘naughty’ step, or count to 10 until they calm down.
The point is that they are no longer children, they are adults with children of their own.
I have heard parents being blamed for almost everything that has gone wrong in the child’s life.
Isn’t it time that the ‘children’ took full responsibility for themselves?
Parents also have their own lives to lead, of course always to be there to offer support whenever they are able, but they are not people who should be treated with utter disrespect.
The ultimate thing is of course is to use the grandchildren as weapons, to stop any contact at all. Children who have no voice, no choice, children dragged into adult conflict.
When children are small, we all will have taught them how to say sorry, it is a word that is not used enough in adult life, and yet it is one of the most powerful.
As I say, being a parent is the hardest job in the world, and each and everyone has and no doubt continues to make mistakes, are we all to suffer for those mistakes for the rest of our lives?
We don’t have to live in each others pockets, we don’t even have to get on brilliantly but we can agree to disagree, to respect each others points of view, and we all need to learn how to say sorry.
I listened to someone saying sorry for all the lost years they had caused , someone who was so distressed by there actions in the past and was desperate to try and make amends.
“Mum, I am so, so sorry.”
A five letter word, that could be the beginning of a long journey of bridge building, nothing about blame but someone saying that word and someone receiving it with both hands.