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Is it ever ok to tell your kids you are disappointed in them?

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Here's a letter in the news right now in Britain.

(full story)

Dear All Three

With last evening's crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.

It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.

We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don't ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.

Fulfilling careers based on your educations would have helped — but as yet none of you is what I would confidently term properly self-supporting. Which of you, with or without a spouse, can support your families, finance your home and provide a pension for your old age? Each of you is well able to earn a comfortable living and provide for your children, yet each of you has contrived to avoid even moderate achievement. Far from your children being able to rely on your provision, they are faced with needing to survive their introduction to life with you as parents.

So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.

In each case we have been expected to acquiesce with mostly hasty, but always in our view, badly judged decisions. None of you has done yourself, or given to us, the basic courtesy to ask us what we think while there was still time finally to think things through. The predictable result has been a decade of deep unhappiness over the fates of our grandchildren. If it wasn't for them, Mum and I would not be too concerned, as each of you consciously, and with eyes wide open, crashes from one cock-up to the next. It makes us weak that so many of these events are copulation-driven, and then helplessly to see these lovely little people being so woefully let down by you, their parents.

I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children's underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don't want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it's not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won't do it by simply whingeing and saying you don't like it. You'll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn't possible, or you simply can't be bothered, then I rest my case.

I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.

Dad

by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 7:49 AM
Replies (11-20):
EireLass
by Ruby Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 10:27 AM
2 moms liked this

As they were growing, my kids were aware if they disappointed me. That in itself is a great disiplinary tool. Very easily talked about, very easily understood.

1likeme
by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 11:27 AM
His letter is very non specific and highly damning. It sounds like the daughter who did respond has been a SAHM and moved to a different country to support her husband. If that's how he addresses his children to the public it's no wonder none of them consult him for advice. it's a shame that he can not find a single positive thing to say about his children or grandchildren. I actually feel for his kids and I wonder what their perspective is of their father.

To answer the question, no I would not speak to or about my children this way. I would tell them I was dissapointed in a choice they made but I would not ever express that kind of sentiment towards my children.
GertieK
by Silver Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 1:36 PM

Heck yeah, kids need to know when their parents are disappointed in them.  In the real world, that is what happens when you are a slacker.  Never experiencing the reality of your actions letting someone important to you down does not do the child a service.  Human nature consists of the desire to act in a way that garners the respect and admiration of people in our lives who are important... and even people we do not even know.  When a child is given the impression that everything they do is wonderful every time, at what point do the learn to improve and expand and grow?  I don't mean hammer them every time, but when their behavior or lack of concern causes problems, they need to know what they have done, and that their actions are a source of disappointment.  They also need to realize that it is up to them to fix the problem.  This whole generation of people and those coming up seem to have been raised with this weird idea that how they feel about any given situation is the way to make a decision.  The country is even been run based on what feels good, and not on reality.  Love your kids enough to be clear and honest with them, even if it hurts some times.  That is your job as a parent... to prepare them for reality.  I understand how the writer of this letter feels.  My husband and I handled our own crap, and asked no one for help... most especially our parents.  To me, while the writer isn't thrilled that they are not making very good decisions.... what he is most tired of is that he and his wife are the ones who seem to be expected to fix it all, and hear it all.  With 6 kids, he has to be overwhelmed, especially if everytime they call or talk they are pouring out their woes and sorrows and problems.  These are little kids with concerns about getting valentines, or not being able to hit a ball.  These are adults who sound like a buncher of whiners.  All of us screw up.... we all did and so will they.  But, kids today are surrounded on all sides by media that has taught them that it is someone else's responsibility to solve the problem, or someone else's fault, or to run to the government for assistance.  GB is basically socialist, and this guy's kids are part of that generation that has been part of that system for a long time now, and it is the pervasive attitude.  What he is experiencing is the same thing America has chosen for ourselves. 

Clairwil
by Silver Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 2:22 PM
Quoting 1likeme:

If that's how he addresses his children to the public

Wasn't it something he sent them, which one of them then passed on and it went viral?

LyTe684
by Tasha on Nov. 20, 2012 at 3:25 PM


Quoting atlmom2:

Absolutely!


Insulin is not a cure, it's life support.

robyann
by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 3:59 PM

 Well his children are all adults now, he really doesn't have much right to demand them to do anything. IMO he and his wife should look for the good in their children. Find happiness in their children in some way. Feeling as they do they will only be unhappy themselves. They will only push their children (thereby their grandchildren) away. Of course as parents of adult children, we wish our kids had a better life, or wished they had done something better. We don't want to see our kids suffer or struggle BUT we do love them and have to accept what they have chosen. We are better off finding the good and focusing on that.

If the adult kids are ungrateful and disrespectful to their parents, that would be partly the fault of the parents and how they raised them.

Of course we can be disappointed in our kids at times, and it's ok to even tell them how we feel....but also making sure to tell them although we are disappointed we still love them and only want the best for them.

typingMom to 6~MawMaw to 9 & counting!

kingkongsmom
by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 4:43 PM

for those thinking he was judgemental,........ He said he was tired of hearing them whine and complain to their mom and him.........they made poor decisions, refused to listened to motherly advice in even a nice way,......and kept complaining, SO yes he had every right to tell them what he did. Kids grown or not need to know they can dissappoint a parent just as much as they need to know they will be loved either way, loving and liking them is not the same. My kids know I will love them regardless and stand by them However, if they made repeated mistakes and cry about consequences of that, I am gonna tell them I don't want to hear it  until they change their choices in life.

GertieK
by Silver Member on Nov. 20, 2012 at 4:54 PM

AMEN!  Unless you have grown kids, you cannot get hold of how hard it is to not be burdened in your heart when they tell you everything and every problem, and whine.  You love them, and they are your kids, and it is hard to see them suffer.... just like when they were little.  BUT, these kids are gorwn, and part of being grown is to STOP WHINING, SUCK IT UP, PUT YOUR IG GIRL PANTIES ON, and deal with it.  Quit repeating the same stupid mistakes over and over.  I say, applause applause.

Quoting kingkongsmom:

for those thinking he was judgemental,........ He said he was tired of hearing them whine and complain to their mom and him.........they made poor decisions, refused to listened to motherly advice in even a nice way,......and kept complaining, SO yes he had every right to tell them what he did. Kids grown or not need to know they can dissappoint a parent just as much as they need to know they will be loved either way, loving and liking them is not the same. My kids know I will love them regardless and stand by them However, if they made repeated mistakes and cry about consequences of that, I am gonna tell them I don't want to hear it  until they change their choices in life.


pasteeater
by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 5:23 PM
I have told my oldest son I was disappointed in him. He and his friend broke in to a bunch of houses. Yes I was disappointed. Then when pushed me while I was pregnant made it worse. We worked it out and now he's doing real well. But of course I was disappointed. Why wouldn't i be?
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StrawberryCool
by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 6:02 PM

i will tell addison that i am very disappointed in her if she does something wrong. 

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