Question: Dear Luise: I Have 2 adult daughters. They both hate me and I don’t understand why. I raised the by myself. No help from anyone, working 2 jobs when necessary. I grew up in the slums of Chicago and chose to give my daughters the best life in the the best atmosphere I could manage. I was a bit strick, but reasonable. I did spank them to maintain dicipline. I could not let my children grow up disrespecting me and everyone else. I have no clue why my eldest hates me. She purposly moved away and broke contact with me and her sister. After worrying myself into astroke, I realize there’s nothing I can do. I try not to worry about her and trust that God will look after her well-being. I learned that my younger daughter hates me because, according to her,when she was a pre teen I would beat her every morning before I went to work. For some reason she honestly believes that. The last time I touched her in a diciplinary manner, she was 6 years old and had some child in the house when I was not home. A definitely punishable offense. That was the last time because I felt so bad. I vowed then to use restriction rather than belts. I NEVER broke that vow! My daughter also accuses me of beating her with an extension cord. I NEVER did that. My younger daughter is really intelligent and at age 8 she read Mommy Dearest. I’m wondering if she somehow transferred that woman’s evilness to me. That’s the only explaination I can come up with. S.

Answer: Dear S.: If I had to guess, and that’s all it is, I think your daughter clearly remembers the strap. I have read that our whole make up is pretty well gelled at age 7 and we go from that foundation. I can’t begin to imagine how it would look to a little person from toddler to age six to see an adult advancing with a “strap.” And I doubt,  if I had experienced such horror, that I’d expect anyone to be baffled by my future conduct. There’s no need to blame it on a book. A strap doesn’t engender respect, it brings only fear to small children and rage to adult children.

They are gone. You did whatever you did with whatever justification you had until you stopped. It’s time to move on without them because you obviously don’t have any choice and create your life being what you want it to be beyond parenting. Blessings, Luise


One Response to Baffled

  1. N. July 23, 2012 at 7:51 am #

    S. – (Baffled) – I’m writing you in that I very much understand what you are going through as, I too, have experienced same, except, with three daughters with whom I was very close until they all reached the age of around 30, when, for some unknown reason, they broke off all contact with me…of course bewildering and devastating, especially, given, they were not exposed to anything adverse. I’ve received counseling and have studied on what appears to be a rampant phenomenon in our society…that is estranged adult children. Our culture does not herald elders. Rather than receiving a letter or card or such for you in particular….anymore everything is mass mailing, mass gifting with no thought. It’s no surprise this attitude graduates all to often into an eventual exclusion of family.

    The way our daughters remember their childhood is not necessarily a reflection of what took place, but, an excuse to themselves to validate their behavior. Interestingly one of my daughters, even when I made inquiries of the other two in her presence insists I used a belt on them. The other two not only don’t remember these events, but down right don’t agree with the recollection given my parenting style, and I most certainly deny the event. As Louise pointed out….there is nothing you can do about how your daughters’ recall things, and you could spend your entire life trying to figure where you went wrong, when in fact it may not have a hang to do with you. I’ve cried buckets of tears, and then, moved on. Not only did we do the best we could, we did it during a time when it wasn’t easy to be an employee, much less a mother…be proud in that knowledge, that but for us, our daughters have a MUCH easier life. Don’t expect them to appreciate this…in that they’ve no reference point in understanding what we went through in their behalf. I’ve learned to have no good or bad expectations of them…you need to arrive at a place where if they are in your life that’s ok, and if they are not, that’s ok too. They can’t make you feel bad or good if you don’t allow them to. N.

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