Dear Harriet: I feel like my children are losing my respect as adults.
When your children are young, they look to and rely on you for everything. My children are all college age and older. They are leaving the nest and not looking back. They project their bad childhood memories onto me, saying I was manipulative and a liar.
But parents, we know what it’s like when kids get into trouble or when they get into trouble as a teenager and they just don’t listen. I did what I needed to do to raise smart, strong kids, and I think I succeeded. All I want now is to enjoy a mature relationship with my children, but they want nothing to do with me.
I feel like I gave my life to them, and now I’m hated and alone. Was I a bad mother?
Miss My Kids
Dear Miss My Kids: For some families, intimacy between parents and adult children requires time and separation. Without knowing your particular situation, I can say that it takes a long time for many young people to leave home and make their own decisions.
On the one hand, they have the lessons and values that you have instilled in them. On the other hand, they have personal agency and need to act independently. This can cause friction for some young people and can trigger strong emotions in both parent and child.
You have done your job. Now you have to wait.
You cannot force your children to want to spend time with you or to be kind. They have to find their own way. Be honest with yourself. Continue to let them know that you want them to be a part of your life, but don’t push it.
Dear Harriet: My biggest goal this year is to stop playing to my potential.
With my busy schedule and starting a new job, I feel like God is finally opening doors for me and wants me to use my talents. There are so many opportunities coming my way, and I don’t want to miss out on anything that gets me closer to where I want to be.
But the truth is, I can’t do it all. If I try to achieve everything, I know that my effort and energy will not be strong enough and focused for every opportunity.
How do I decide which opportunities I’m going to take, and how do I decide which opportunities to reject?
I want it all.
Dear I want it all: As a person of faith, sit down and pray about it. Ask for clarification on next steps. Consider this question. Find the inner guidance that inspires you the most. You need to pick a path, at least for now, and focus your energy on it. That doesn’t mean you can’t add other ideas later.
Do your job and be good at it. Set aside at least one hour a day to cultivate the dream you have chosen to explore. Choose one dream at a time and give yourself time to see how it develops.
If you follow the discipline of focusing on one idea every day, you will see results within a few months that will tell you whether you should continue with that goal or choose another one. .
Harriette Cole is a life stylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.