When Our Adult Children Disappoint Us

In the Process, we address issues caused by how we were raised as children. But what happens when our adult children disappoint us?

Why do our adult children disappoint us? It is not about them: it’s about us. What are our expectations for our children? If our own expectations for our adult children are not met, then we get disappointed. Usually we expect them to become, as adults, like us. But they don’t. They develop their own values, likes and dislikes, and their own behavioral codes. They become NOT like us. And when we see this, we often become disappointed.

There are four attitudes toward our adult children that we can develop to help us through this disappointment:

1. Let go of who they become.
2. Pay attention to “non-attachment to outcome.” (see my January 25, 2015 post)
3. Forgive them for being imperfect human beings.
4. Love them anyhow.

When my daughter was 14 (yes, I know, that is not nearly an adult, but please bear with me), she started developing friends and values that I didn’t like. As I thought about it, I realized that I wanted her to be more like me. Then my epiphany: Did I want to be like my own mother? No thank you. So why should my daughter want to be like me? With that understanding, I was able to let go of who she would become. (And she did develop into an adult with many values similar to mine, but not all.)

So when you are disappointed in your adult children, or in anyone else, look at why you feel that way. Your children are not responsible for your feelings, you are. So you must address them within yourself.