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Dr. Mark
Dr. Mark, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5220
Experience:  Dr. Mark is a PhD in psychology in private practice
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I have a problem with my grown children two daughters age 39

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I have a problem with my grown children two daughters age 39 and 45 and have grandchildren I have done for many many years for youngest daughter took her children to school, doctor,dentist really depended on me which was ok and oldest not as much but some a couple years ago I remarried their dad only lasted 1.5 yrs anyway he never did anything for them or children before didn't know much about grandchildren. I have gave them lots of money he has not. since I retired and divorced their dad I wanted to get a life not taking children everywhere. So I was trying to dedcided between two men I have finally dedcided we are going to get married I guess the problem is they aren't in control of me anymore so they seem a little colder to me and now their since I want my on life and they are favoring their dad who has never done anything for them and was a alcoholic but he claims to always be sick

Hi! I'll be glad to be of help with this issue.

I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. You are clearly a loving and caring mom and grandmom. And it is indeed so frustrating that your adult kids are reacting this way.

I wish I could say that this behavior they are exhibiting is rare or even so unusual, but it is not. It really is not unusual at all. This is because there are two forces operating here: there is the force of their expecting you to still be "mom" doing things for them, like you are talking about. But there is also the force of your marrying someone else.

I know that they are adults and moms themselves. But you'd be surprised how even when adults, kids have feelings of betrayal when a parent marries someone other than dad. That feeling isn't as strong as if they were teens or preteens, and it's often not even conscious with adult kids, but it's there. And so, just like teens and preteens, they all of a sudden want to take the other parent's side--even if the other parent was a jerk to them the whole time. Why? Because they feel in their heart of hearts there was a betrayal.

And what makes it even more frustrating is that this is most common when the good, caring, loving, attentive, giving parent like you is the one who wants to get married and be happy. Because they are so used to you being caring and attentive and giving that their world is shaken up to some extent. Yes, even though they are adults. It's not, again, so conscious.

So what to do?

I recommend in these situations that the parent stay steady in her course and not overreact. And I recommend this to you. In your case it means: keep on with your plans. And when you are with them on the phone, texting, emails, in person, be happy and pleasant.

Avoid at all costs complaining about their sudden allegiance to dad. That's a trap they're setting (again not consciously) to make you out as the disloyal one to the family. The key here?

Remember that this is temporary. They will get used to the new dynamics. If you can, keep offering to do things for them. The more that you show that your new life won't completely sever you from them, the more relaxed they will be and sooner.

Because really, their connection to you has been by having you do things with their kids for them. That has been how they feel connected to you. And now it's being severed. So if you can keep some of it open and active, do so. Follow these principles and you will see that this is a temporary phase of months or a year that they are going through before they calm down. And if you can stay pleasant and have the opportunity to sometimes do what you used to do, that can shorten the time frame.

Okay, I wish you the very best!

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