When to get engaged in your kids' problems?

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
When to get engaged in your kids' problems?
4
Wed, 02-23-2011 - 8:48pm

I try very hard to see both sides of every situation. It's my day job and I'm really good at it. However, I tend to lose my perspective when something is upsetting one of my kids. How would you handle the following situation?

Talking to DD on MSN today - she tends to pour her heart out better in words than in person or by phone. She is tired & upset with her fiance. As I listen to the issues, my rational side is telling me that most of this is normal partner stuff and I just listen while she vents. But then the Mom in me starts to get engaged & I quickly lose my perspective. DD is exhausted. She works shift work, rarely has 2 days off together & her schedule changes constantly with at most 7 days notice and sometimes it is with less than 24 hrs notice. Their son has special needs & shift work helps as he has many appointments that she takes him too. She can't afford to screw up at work as she is responsible for drug testing & one screw up can cost thousands of $s. Her fiance works for a friend of his Dad's in a job his Dad got him. He has no real responsibility and has no interest in doing anything more than what he does. Which is fine. However, he is now complaining that DD has no time to

Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Thu, 02-24-2011 - 3:13am

I probably would have done the same as you. Listen, try to be objective, keep my feelings to myself... and then when I heard something outrageously unfair I likely would have forgotten my good intentions and blurted out what I really thought. Its so hard when our kids vent to us about things that we would be better off not knowing.

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Thu, 02-24-2011 - 8:22am
Thanks for listening & making me smile with your last comment. If dh had a talk with dd's fiance, it won't be pretty! Fiance is a nice guy and he loves dd & dgs very much but he needs to grow up. He only looks at things as how they affect him and doesn't see what dd is dealing with or understand how hard it is to get a job. He wants a life including dd & dgs where he goes to work each day, does a job then comes home to play. Playing may mean being with dd & dgs, being out with the guys or he & dd being out with friends. It rarely means just being at home doing housework, laundry, etc.. He is a small town boy with no dreams or wants but a fun life. Which is perfectly acceptable if this makes him happy. Problem is dd was a small town girl & then she traveled. She has a university education & wants a career. They had realized a few yrs ago that while they loved each other, they didn't have much in common & were painfully drifting apart when dd got pregnant. They see dgs as a sign that they were meant to stay together but it hasn't been easy.

DD & I are very close and we each know that we can express our opinions while still loving & supporting each other. But in spite of that, I try really hard not to criticize her fiance as I don't think it's healthy for our family relationship. I wish DD had girlfriend to talk to but she has never been a "girlie" girl and as a result doesn't have a close girlfriend. Her female friends are all so/dws of fiance's friends/family as he only wanted to be with his friends/family. So I listen & try to be fair & try to stay objective. If she didn't talk to me, she would have no one as she has no time to even try to make friends on her own. I say little to dh or he would rush to dd's defense.

Sad thing with this couple is that they truly love each other, they just don't have much in common but their son. Their goals, their dreams even their "fun" is very different. They try to support each other but dd gets exhausted & witchy as we call it in our family & he gets lonely or bored then the fights start.

Dee
Avatar for shirley_v
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-29-2000
Thu, 02-24-2011 - 12:17pm

Dee, only one of my sons will turn to me when he is emotionally upset with something or other, and I have had long talks with him about some SO a the time (since broken up from and no SO these days).

Avatar for deenow17
iVillage Member
Registered: 10-12-2004
Thu, 02-24-2011 - 9:26pm
Yeah, I'm still loved! I was so worried I had upset DD and it turned out that she stopped talking on MSN to take a call then forgot we were still chatting as she was rushing to finish her laundry, get dinner ready & then pick up DGS. She never gave my slip up another thought. In fact, all she remembered me saying was that they should get DGS to bed & sit down to talk things out together. Which apparently they did last night. DD said she didn't push much but basically they made a deal, he will do more around the house, he will let her get some sleep on her days off & she in turn will stay up past 9, try to be more fun & agree to do more things with just the 2 of them.

So while life isn't perfect, at least they are trying to work it through.

Thanks for your thoughts, Dee