Archive for May 6th, 2018

May 6, 2018

Abandoning mother?

by Rod Smith

Somewhat of a theme has emerged of late in my private practice. I’m seeing several parents, particularly mothers, who have difficulty treating their adult sons and daughters and their families as whole, separate entities from themselves. They appear to want mothering to continue when their mothering is over.

Yes. Mothering ends.  I’ve written on this theme often in this column.

It is as if the adult women are saying, “I raised them to have wings but I did not expect them to use the wings,” or, “I gave them wings but they need me to show them how to use them and where to fly.”

I have compassion for these parents. It is pronounced for those who have lost a spouse to death or divorce and who then see the natural separation their adult sons and daughters rightfully and appropriately enjoy as another evidence of abandonment.

If the adult sons or daughters are prone to guilt they will quickly capitulate to the pressure to take care of mother and/or come under her control. This will often expose stresses and stimulate conflict within the marriage.

It’s even more complicated when both spouses each have a parent who inflicts a couple with such expectations.

Am I suggesting abandoning mom? Of course I am not.

Remain loving, remain out of control, and remain connected. That’s what loving adults do. 

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May 6, 2018

Essential equipment to be an adult

by Rod Smith

The Mercury – Thursday

Essential equipment for adulthood

A humble heart. A playful spirit. An eye for beauty. An affirming vocabulary.

A thoughtful mind, an assertive voice, and a strong backbone – and the willingness to use them.

A role in a family – and the willingness to embrace it. A place in a community – and the willingness to exercise it.

A supply of “thank you” cards, a fine pen, a supply of postage stamps – and the willingness to use them.

Punctuality. Trustworthiness. Respect for others.

An ability to discern and appreciate the impact our lives have on each other and the willingness to make repair when repair is necessary.

The capacity to think ahead, remember the past, and yet also enjoy the present.

The capacity to forgive and to forget when forgetting is helpful and to forgive and remember when remembering is necessary.

The capacity to be clear with others and yet to know what can remain unsaid.

The capacity to know what battles to embrace and which to ignore.