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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.


by on Nov. 20, 2012 at 7:49 AM
Replies (21-23):
by Bronze Member on Nov. 21, 2012 at 8:22 AM
1 mom liked this

Yeah - Dissappointment does NOT mean I don't love you anymore. It simply means I don't like youro choices. Of course, today, with everyone being under employed and such... all of us are grateful to HAVE a job at all, even if it's NOT in our field and woefully underpaid. I know a LOT of parents who would like to write that letter. Including mine. :-(   (And yes they've verbalized it, although not in that succulent of language!)

Quoting dinc:

The dad was judgemental but he has a right.  He raised his children the best that he could.  It sounds like they were given all sorts of opportunities to make something of themselves and they chose to do their own thing.  That is ok.  They have to live with the consequences. 

The parents do not have to like what has happened or tell the kids they are wonderful when they are not.  Children can be very ungrateful and very willful no matter what the parents do.  If parents have high expectations, that shows they only want the best for their children.

Parents have the right to be disappointed.  They also have the right to say so.  We think that all we should do is praise our kids, even when they don't do anything that wonderful.  Over praising kids has produced a generation of people who think everything they do is wonderful.  Kids need to know when they are not right.  They are not in charge.  The parents should be.  I see a lot of scenarios where the children pretty much make the rules. 

Parents need to parent and tell their kids what they expect and provide consequences both good and bad.  Our society would be better for it.  Most families would too. 

by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 9:24 AM

I think my dad spoke to my very heart when he said he was dissapointed in me but it wasnt til later i realized he was right, he really cared and it wasnt unitl i grew up alot to realize it

by on Nov. 21, 2012 at 11:11 PM

I've told my girls that I was disappointed in the way they acted. They need to know that they aren't perfect and they will do things that disappoint me but I will always love them. Hopefully they will learn from it.

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