S/O When does the attachment stop? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: When does attachment end/kind of support?
Never-child can get any kind of help from me, financial,emotional,etc. 112 68.29%
18-no more $ but I'll be there for emotional support 0 0%
18-no more support of any kind, on your own kiddo! 0 0%
19-23- no more $ but I'll be there for emotional support 9 5.49%
19-23- no more support after that, on your own! 0 0%
Whenever they finish college-no $, I'll be there for emotional support 15 9.15%
whenever they finish college-no more support ,on their own 1 0.61%
when they have their own family-only emotional support 3 1.83%
when they have their own family-no support 0 0%
Other 24 14.63%
Voters: 164. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As a spinoff to one of the current threads, it seems we've gotten sidetracked a bit .

When do we stop giving our support to our children? Should our adult children be able to count on us for anything? Why would we turn them down in a crisis? How would denying them support hurt/help the relationship?

Disclaimer: We're not talking about things like our 25 year old asking us to leave work to pick up their dry cleaning nor things like enabling or codependency issues.

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#2 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:03 PM
 
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I don't think of it as parenting- I think of it as part of family life, and there comes a point where the support goes both ways. It doesn't mean that you put yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable with your actions, it does not mean that you neglect yourself any more than you would for an infant or a young child: the principle of putting on your own gas mask first still applies.

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#3 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:08 PM
 
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I don't see this as just a family issue, but a broader social issue. What does it mean to love our neighbours - it isn't just about not drinking bottled water. It is about giving our time and energy to the people we come in contact with in the ways they really need us to.

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#4 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I don't think of it as parenting- I think of it as part of family life, and there comes a point where the support goes both ways. It doesn't mean that you put yourself in a situation where you are uncomfortable with your actions, it does not mean that you neglect yourself any more than you would for an infant or a young child: the principle of putting on your own gas mask first still applies.
Of course no one should neglect themselves. Support goes both ways in my family. Matter of fact it goes in multiple ways. I wouldn't ask my mother to cut off her finger to save mine but she'd sure ditch lunch with a friend if I needed her.

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#5 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:13 PM
 
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I wouldn't say, "When does the attachment stop?" but "How long are our parents responsible for bailing us out?"
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#6 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:14 PM
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I agree with pps -- it's a much larger question than just parenting.

We have been the recipients of some incredibly welcome family support this year (through a couple of serious illnesses, family losses and a massive home repair problem.) I have also given some of it in the past.

I hope to continue that tradition with my DS, keeping in mind that I can only do what I can. (I.e. Put on your own oxygen mask first.) My parents and in-laws have all helped us this year, but they have done so on their own schedule, they didn't say yes to all requests, and while sometimes that was disappointing, I don't consider it a failing on their part. I think that's perfectly fine that the support may not always be immediately available.

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#7 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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I have an amazing relationship with my parents. They live a few blocks away, and we get together for coffee nearly every morning. When there are big projects that need to be done here or at their place, it's a collaborative effort, we help them, they help us etc. When I'm having a really crummy day, I know I can swing by for a chat or even just for a cup of tea. When I had DS 1, they took care of DD at their place for a few days. When DS 2 came along, they stayed at our place with the kids.

My mom commutes every day for work, and when she's run down I often 'accidentally' make too much food for dinner and drop some off over there. When my dad fell in the shower, I was able to be there to keep an eye on him for a couple hours, get him some food, and make sure he was ok...

I don't think family support ever needs to end... it simply evolves.
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#8 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:17 PM
 
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I wouldn't say, "When does the attachment stop?" but "How long are our parents responsible for bailing us out?"
Exactly. Attachment has nothing to do with the question. Attachment never stops. I would hope that in any crisis, happy, or other life-changing event, my dd would think to come to me, no matter her age. Likewise, if I had something happen in my life, I would be able to talk to her about it.

She will always have my emotional support and by default, she'll always have our financial support. I may not always support her decisions, though, and with attachment parenting still in place, I will be able to talk to her about that.
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#9 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wouldn't say, "When does the attachment stop?" but "How long are our parents responsible for bailing us out?"
My mother is poor. She has never been able to give me any money, nothing. I was buying all my own school clothes at the age of 14. So if my DS ever needs some financial help for a good reason and I am able to do so, I will.
When I think of your statemnet, I think of a child who makes bad decisions over and over and expects their parent to keep fixing things. That is not what the topic of this discussion is.

I guess I'm weird but I think it's a very normal, healthy part of a familial relationship to be able to depend on one another for support. My mom may not have $ but she has a huge heart and always and ear to listen. That's fine by me. She has taught me that it helps just to be there for your child, let them vent or cry or rejoice. Just listen sometimes.

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#10 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:27 PM
 
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i did not vote.

my dd is 7 now.

i can never deny her support - any kind. provided i have the ability to.

i look at her and i cant imagine that i could ever deny her. even as a 59 year old.

so in my books. NEVER!!!

provided we both are on the same page.

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#11 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:29 PM
 
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I think that sometimes what the giver of support means by "support" is different from the recipient's idea.

Would I support my child in a way that they would be happy with, if they continued to go back to an extremely abusive spouse? No, it's likely that I would not.

Would I support my child in their quest to get my grandkids back if my child had beaten them and/or had a pervasive, uncontrolled mental illness? No, I would not.

Sometimes support is less about hand holding and more about not shielding someone from the consequences of their actions. Or it may mean acutally distancing yourself a bit so that they can come to their own conclusions and own their own conclusions.

Sometimes it means swooping in to save the day, absolutely.

I have absolutely no illusions that my children will always be 100 percent satisfied or even happy with the support that I offer. But I will always act in what I perceive to be the best interests of my child and their family. Chances are I'm going to be wrong some of the time. And chances are that my kids and I will not always see eye to eye on what that is.

I can only hope to build a good enough relationship with them that they will love me despite my mistakes, and there is enough of a connection there that we can agree to disagree or talk it out.

But hell no, I will not say that I'll always be there to give whatever support my children may ask for in any circumstance. If they end up having addictions, I'm not going to cook meth or buy crack for them no matter how much they beg for it. And while emotional issues may not always be so obvious or cut and dried I do think that sometimes rushing in to the rescue can be just as dangerous and descructive and unhelpful.

And unlike some folks, I don't think that good parenting will always prevent adult children from going down some very dark paths, so I also have absolutely no expectation that I can control the choices they may for themselves by being the perfect parent. I think that probably every parent had to deal with a child wanting or expressing need for something that they simply don't feel they can or should give.

I hope I'll be brave enough to make the right choice when and if that happens to me. But I'm not stupid enough to make declarations about what I'll do before I'm there--every time I do that it always comes and bites me right in the butt, so I'm pretty much superstitious about it now. :/
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#12 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:31 PM
 
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I wouldn't say, "When does the attachment stop?" but "How long are our parents responsible for bailing us out?"
I think it's pretty clear that the OP is not talking about "bailing out" our children, but perhaps we have different ideas of what "bailing out" means.

I can't imagine not being there for my children when they need me. Part of attachment parenting, for me, is forming a life long bond. I want my kids to know I will support them if they need me. And one of my goals is to also teach them to be willing to support each other, and dh and I, and others they are close to, if they need that support.
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#13 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:40 PM
 
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I think it's irresponsible for an adult to rely on any one other person in the way a young child relies on a parent. Adults need to have more than one person to call upon for help, and they have to be able to take care of things themselves if it comes to that. It just isn't the same thing as a child who is still under the care and supervision of a parent. I honestly don't understand how people can think otherwise. That doesn't mean there is no longer an attachment, or that there is not a lifelong bond, just that the parent is no longer ultimately responsible for an adult child's life, and adult children can't expect parents to drop everything for them in the way children can rely on that.
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#14 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 07:41 PM
 
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I will absolutely always be there for my child, but it was too hard to pick one answer. There are too many variables. I have watched my grandmother unconditionally support her daughter (my aunt), which turned into supporting her grandchildren and great-grandchildren (my cousins and their children). It is not a healthy dynamic by any means. It started with very simple things that quickly spiraled out of control.

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#15 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 08:22 PM
 
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I will never stop loving my children or feeling attached to them. I am sure some of their adult decisions will break my heart but I will support them. However, they are responsible for their adult decisions and I will not tell them what they want to hear if I don't agree. For example I will celebrate a marriage that would not be my preference but I will not stand by my son if he has an affair leaves his kids etc I will love him and support his efforts to do what's right but in the meantime I would support my SIL and the grandkids. (a more extreme example but one I seem to see in real life all the time)
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#16 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 08:26 PM
 
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I voted it never stops. My children will always have my love and support.

My mom is like this, and yes, she would drop everything when I need her to be here for me. When I was unexpectantly hospitalized last year DH called her at three AM to let her know and she was on the earliest flight from Denver to be by my side by the time I got out of emergency surgery. Not only was she there to support me, but my DH so she could take over watching the kids so he could devote his attention to me. My dad came down at first chance as well. That's pretty much what loving parents do, IMO.

Emotional support, financial support, etc. I'll always do whatever is in my power to help my children out. Doesn't matter how old they are. Of course, when there are addiction or abuse issues, it's a bit different... ie a druggie who says they need money... but family equals support, to me.

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#17 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 08:42 PM
 
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I think it's irresponsible for an adult to rely on any one other person in the way a young child relies on a parent. Adults need to have more than one person to call upon for help, and they have to be able to take care of things themselves if it comes to that. .
Well, I fully expect that Dh and I are going to end up caring for one or another of our parents as they age, and I don't think it's "irresponsible" for them to expect that to eventually happen any more than I think it's "irresponsible" to think that, should our family have a serious crisis (a death or serious illness, for example), we could count on our parents to help us.

At the same time, I think there are plenty of parents who help their kids too much. My parents supply my college-aged brothers with more food money *each* than I spend on our family of three-- which has led to my brothers eating lots of take-out all the time and having a very unhealthy lifestyle.
My Dh stayed for years at a college he HATED (and he didn't make much of an effort to succeed, either, IMO) because his parents were paying the bills without question. I really believe if they had just said, "Well, we've paid for four years-- you're on your own!" he might have either buckled down *or* chosen a program he actually cared about. Now he has a degree which took almost six years of his (our!) life to complete, and he's never used it at all.

When Dh and I sold our house sooner than we expected, both sets of our parents immediately offered to let us come stay with them. As it turned out, just after they offered their hospitality to us, my mom and dad discovered that they would need someone to take care of their house for six months-- so they were going to be doing US a big favor, and now we're doing THEM a big favor at the same time

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#18 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 08:48 PM
 
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I think there are alot of terms being defined differently between these two threads.

What is a crisis? Is a situation of the person's own making which doesn't have any immediate consequences a "crisis"? Different people are going to define "crisis" differently. Is having a crappy day a "crisis"?

And then there's the question of what is "support". And that's going to depend on both parties. I see it already with my DD. She wants different things WRT "support" from DH and I. If she's having a hard time putting on her shoes, she wants him to physically do it for her. If she's with me, the mere offer makes her really mad. And again, DH and I have different ideas as to what's "reasonable" in terms of support. He grew up with bail-out parents. He thinks it was really sweet that when a girl at school turned him down when he asked her out that his mom went out and bought him flowers and a card. I think that's creep and crossed alot of lines. In my family I would have gotten a hug and asked what I wanted for supper. I'm the one who's able to deal with disasters when they happen and my DH is the one who has no clue what to do because there's no one holding his hand.

And then there's the age old debate about "what is attachment parenting"... If you take the most basic definition, it's about meeting your child's needs. Those needs change as the child grows. It wouldn't be appropriate to breastfeed you married son if he was having a bad day. How you comfort and keep an attachment to an adult child is vastly different from how you do so with a younger one, and that's vastly different from how you do it with a baby.
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#19 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 08:50 PM
 
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Well, I fully expect that Dh and I are going to end up caring for one or another of our parents as they age, and I don't think it's "irresponsible" for them to expect that to eventually happen any more than I think it's "irresponsible" to think that, should our family have a serious crisis (a death or serious illness, for example), we could count on our parents to help us.
Why wouldn't it be your parent's responsibility to make sure they were looked after? I think it is irresponsible for parent to expect/rely on their children to care for them in old age. It's an incredible drain on that generation. I've been watching my boss over the last couple years just be torn apart trying to be a grandmother to her children's children and a caregiver to her elderly mother. The poor woman is simply done.
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#20 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 08:51 PM
 
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I think it's irresponsible for an adult to rely on any one other person in the way a young child relies on a parent. Adults need to have more than one person to call upon for help, and they have to be able to take care of things themselves if it comes to that. It just isn't the same thing as a child who is still under the care and supervision of a parent. I honestly don't understand how people can think otherwise. That doesn't mean there is no longer an attachment, or that there is not a lifelong bond, just that the parent is no longer ultimately responsible for an adult child's life, and adult children can't expect parents to drop everything for them in the way children can rely on that.
Ditto this.

I also want to add, as an adult, my relationship with my parents have changed from one where my parents provide emotional/financial support to me, to one that is a bit more equal... they support me when I need it, and in turn when they need it, offer them the same kind of support.

My parents and IL's are still working (well, except for my dad who recently became permanently disabled), and DH and I respect that their free time is valuable, that they have other responsibilities outside of their roles as "Mom and Dad", so we try to be mindful of that when we ask for help.
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#21 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 09:08 PM
 
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I think it's irresponsible for an adult to rely on any one other person in the way a young child relies on a parent. Adults need to have more than one person to call upon for help, and they have to be able to take care of things themselves if it comes to that. It just isn't the same thing as a child who is still under the care and supervision of a parent. I honestly don't understand how people can think otherwise. That doesn't mean there is no longer an attachment, or that there is not a lifelong bond, just that the parent is no longer ultimately responsible for an adult child's life, and adult children can't expect parents to drop everything for them in the way children can rely on that.
Taking your post literally, in that a grown person depending on their parents like, say, a 7 year old might, I totally agree with. But in a broader sense that encompasses not only my immediate family, but my close friends as well, I am most definitely a part of a social network that helps people out when they need it.

Do I rely on people for support? Sure. Can the relationship equate to a relationship between a mother and small child? Absolutely not. I am an independent adult, but at the same, I think there is tremendous merit to having a support system in place where there is a certain degree of unconditional love and support so you can call people up and say "I'm having a rotten day, could you come help me out?".

Will I always be able to drop everything to help my daughter? Probably not. But I don't see the harm in wanting to or trying my hardest when she calls upon me.

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#22 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 09:12 PM
 
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There was a very similar topic to this in TAO no long ago. Here's a link for those interested...

http://www.mothering.com/discussions...663&highlight=

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#23 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 09:17 PM
 
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Taking your post literally, in that a grown person depending on their parents like, say, a 7 year old might, I totally agree with. But in a broader sense that encompasses not only my immediate family, but my close friends as well, I am most definitely a part of a social network that helps people out when they need it.

Do I rely on people for support? Sure. Can the relationship equate to a relationship between a mother and small child? Absolutely not. I am an independent adult, but at the same, I think there is tremendous merit to having a support system in place where there is a certain degree of unconditional love and support so you can call people up and say "I'm having a rotten day, could you come help me out?".

Will I always be able to drop everything to help my daughter? Probably not. But I don't see the harm in wanting to or trying my hardest when she calls upon me.
I bolded the part that I'm taking exception to on this thread. Some of the other posters are suggesting that a parent should always respond the same way you might with an upset 7yo. That if your child calls you up crying, no matter what the reason, if you are physically able to go to them you should.
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#24 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 09:25 PM
 
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Never-child can get any kind of help from me, financial,emotional,etc.

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#25 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 09:44 PM
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One thing that I think is important here is that how you raise your child(ren) will influence everyone's expectations around support.

I hope and expect that DS will know that he can call on us if he needs or wants our support, but I also hope that we do a good enough job that he doesn't truly need us too often.

I think that it starts to get sticky on the parental side when you have an otherwise capable adult child who is somehow non-functional without parental support.

I am grateful for family emotional and logistical support we have received in difficult circumstances. But we didn't need it and our parents clearly felt comfortable saying no when they needed to. I think that's a healthy situation.

For babies and young children, some sort of adult support is a must-have. For most adults, support is a really-really-nice-to-have (and, IMHO, something to which all families should strive), but if it becomes a must-have, that suggests a situation in which someone is not fully functioning as an adult. Fine for temporary situations, but not a good long term situation.

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#26 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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I bolded the part that I'm taking exception to on this thread. Some of the other posters are suggesting that a parent should always respond the same way you might with an upset 7yo. That if your child calls you up crying, no matter what the reason, if you are physically able to go to them you should.
I think the difference is that an adult calling a parent crying would presumably be doing it for a very different reason than a 7 year old. If an adult child called me crying because she skinned her knee and wanted me to come kiss it better and put a magic bandaid on it, I would be concerned about her mental health. If she called me crying because her husband cheated on her, I'd think it was normal and I would try to figure out what she needed from me in the way of support - be that just a kind ear to listen, money to move out, help making a plan, help deciding if she wanted to try to work it out, someone to come watch the kids while she grieved over her marriage, someone one to hug her, etc.
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#27 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 10:05 PM
 
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Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
That if your child calls you up crying, no matter what the reason, if you are physically able to go to them you should.
This is where I'm getting stuck. It's sounds as if you're saying that offering support to someone who is crying (which for an adult usually goes a lot deeper than a broken toy or someone not sharing with you) is akin to coddling a 7 year old. It's not. Emotional support is so important, and to say someone is just crying is really dismissive of their emotional state. I don't understand why a terrible flu or a broken leg is more worthy of support than "crying".

I've helped friends a family before who were emotional basket cases. I can't imagine not helping them. And I don't equate taking someone's emotional state to a parent-child relationship. Everyone cries. Everyone gets upset. Why is it that adults shouldn't be loved and supported through that? And if they are, why is it down played or compared to childish, immature, co-dependent behavior?

Support is support is support. For us it doesn't really matter if the person is crying from marriage troubles, collection calls, or just got into a car wreck, or their mother died. When someone calls me up, upset, and begging my help, I do what I can to help! It would really never dawn on me to scrutinize someone's need for my support and use that as a determining factor for whether or no I'll oblige. This may be due in part to the relationships I have with anyone who would be calling me up for help, my first reaction would be to attend and work through the issues first, and if needed analyze my reaction later, like in the case of being taken advantage of. Again though, that's unlikely in my circle of friends. But if it happened, I wouldn't use someone's emotional distress as a teaching opportunity. But again, I recognize that this is probably due to the nature of my relationships. I think the waters get muddied when there are issues of taking people for granted, etc.

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#28 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 10:24 PM
 
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Never. My mom still buys things for me and is there for me emotionally, and I plan to do the same for my kids. If I somehow end up really wealthy when they're adults, I'd happily support them to the point that they wouldn't even have to work a paid job. Why wouldn't someone want to do that for their kids?

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#29 of 104 Old 11-28-2009, 10:25 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by North_Of_60 View Post
This is where I'm getting stuck. It's sounds as if you're saying that offering support to someone who is crying (which for an adult usually goes a lot deeper than a broken toy or someone not sharing with you) is akin to coddling a 7 year old. It's not. Emotional support is so important, and to say someone is just crying is really dismissive of their emotional state. I don't understand why a terrible flu or a broken leg is more worthy of support than "crying".
No! I'm saying that the response to a crying person will change based on their age.

What's reasonable to do for a 7yo isn't reasonable to do for an adult.

I probably am dismissive of adults crying. It is such a breakdown of control.


Quote:
I've helped friends a family before who were emotional basket cases. I can't imagine not helping them. And I don't equate taking someone's emotional state to a parent-child relationship. Everyone cries. Everyone gets upset. Why is it that adults shouldn't be loved and supported through that? And if they are, why is it down played or compared to childish, immature, co-dependent behavior?
They should be loved and supported. I have never argued against that.

What I think is ridiculous is the expectation that another adult should have to drop everything they are doing to give that love and support immediately. Apparently, waiting until the next day isn't good enough. Talking on the phone isn't good enough. Does that mean that parents should never move to a different city? If a child moves, should the parents follow?

I also think that adults should have additional sources of support. Children don't have that luxury, but adults do.
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#30 of 104 Old 11-29-2009, 12:00 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JL83 View Post
No! I'm saying that the response to a crying person will change based on their age.

What's reasonable to do for a 7yo isn't reasonable to do for an adult.

I probably am dismissive of adults crying. It is such a breakdown of control.




They should be loved and supported. I have never argued against that.

What I think is ridiculous is the expectation that another adult should have to drop everything they are doing to give that love and support immediately. Apparently, waiting until the next day isn't good enough. Talking on the phone isn't good enough. Does that mean that parents should never move to a different city? If a child moves, should the parents follow?

I also think that adults should have additional sources of support. Children don't have that luxury, but adults do.
To the blue part- Wowza! I'm all for a good cleansing cry, it's cathartic. I can't imagine thinking of it as a breakdown in control. We're human, humans cry, even adults. I even bawl at HAPPY things.

To the red part- I agree! I don't think anyone here said that parents should be the only source of support.

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