Episode 59 Obstacles Preventing You From Unconditionally Loving Your Adult Child
Welcome to the podcast, loving On Purpose. I'm your host, Bonnie Lyman. If you're having trouble navigating through your relationships with your adult children, if you are struggling to connect with them or having specific challenges, you're in the right place.
This is Bonnie Lyman. You are listening to episode 59 Obstacles That Prevent Parents From Unconditionally Loving Their Children. Hello everyone. I'm so excited to be talking to today. I've just had a fabulous week. I'm in Hawaii, right? and I talked to my daughter two days ago and she said it was snowing.
So I go, yes, February in Spokane gets pretty old. It's gloomy. It actually starts warming up a little bit, but it's. Dreary. It's gloomy. We get, it's not like fog, but these low clouds, and I really don't like to whine about anything, especially the weather. It happens every year, but this year we decided to do something about it.
But I think, why am I whining about the weather when, what? , was it 49,000 people died in that, um, earthquake in Turkey and that war, that little country of Ukraine is just fighting with all their mite to maintain their sovereignty from Russia. And here we're complaining about the weather. We have warm cars.
We have warm houses, we can go skiing. But anyway, we decided this year that we were gonna come to Hawaii for two weeks. So this week was very heavenly for me. This week I worked, I did my coaching. I had several consults and I just can't tell you how much I love this work that I do. I love the women that I talk to every day.
even if they don't sign up to work with me, that's okay. I hope when we have these, I call 'em now a relationship. Fixed strategy call that I'm gonna give you one little tip one help. That hopefully is going to uplift you. And I've gotten such good response on those of you that listen to my podcast that it has really helped you and perhaps some of my Instagram post and some of the newsletters that I send out.
But you are all interest A. A fabulous, interesting. Yes. Fabulous, humble women. So sometimes it's our struggles that turns us in to the person that we really wanna be. I wanna be known that I was humble and I wanna be known that I'm mourned with those that mourned. I don't wanna be. Known for being prideful
and then just the industry. I work in this coaching industry. I have never worked with a group of people that we're so willing to help each other, to grow their business, to refer clients to them, to boil them up. They are the most wonderful, loving, kind people I have ever met. So I, I, I almost feel like I'm in the prime of my life.
Until I try to climb up five flights of stairs or talk about the latest TV series or the latest, uh, recording artists with my kids. I know what songs I like. I know which actors I like. I know which movies I like, but I can't remember the name of anything anymore, but I don't care. I've just come to a very comfortable place in my life.
I want to welcome anyone who's listening for the first time to my podcast, and if you really wanna help other people and you don't know how, just share my podcast with them. There's always somebody that can glean from it, but I appreciate all you return listeners if you wanna subscribe to it. I know you just go in Apple in iTunes, you go to the upper, um, right hand part of the.
Screen if you're on your phone and you just click the little check mark and then I think they notify you. When I publish my podcast, um, I try to get it, or I do, I get it published every Wednesday, but right now it's about eight o'clock. Hawaii time, so I know that's 10 o'clock Pacific time. And so for those of you in central time in the East coast, it's probably Thursday, but I do the best I can and I try to be.
As consistent as I can, and I have to admit, I'm quite proud of myself for doing this. I'm not arrogant about it, but it just fuels me when I hear somebody say, It, it really helped them. And that's all I wanna do. So today we're gonna talk about five obstacles that keep us from loving our adult children.
Now, first of all, I guess you have to decide if you really wanna do that. I'm just assuming you do because love feels so amazing and all you have to do is remember when you held that baby in your arms for the first time. you, you just loved. You love that little human. You couldn't believe that God could help you create such a thing.
So wonderful. And it's, to me, love is feeling whole and complete and warm and just content. And I really believe, and that's why I say love always wins when, uh, love trumps every emotion out there. And when we choose for whatever reason not to love our kids. Even when they're doing things that are very upsetting, even when they say things to us that hurt, then.
We're, we're the ones losing out. And so if you can't, if you don't know what I'm talking about, you may be thinking, how is it possible to love somebody? That is always, I call it shooting arrows at me. And yes, I always feel the sting. When one of my kids is Kurt with me or says something critical of me, but I've learned that it's my thoughts about what they did.
That's making me feel hurt. So most of the time I can pretty well manage my thoughts unless I'm really tired or really hungry and maybe I just want to feel hurt for a while or feel angry and I know how to do that and I teach people how to do that. So it lessens it. So that we're not resisting feeling those feelings when we resist them.
They just become more intense. But it allows me to love them, and most of my clients will say, yes, I love my children. Of course, I'm always gonna love my children. and I don't like what they're doing. You don't have to like what they're doing, but sometimes I feel like my client, they only love their children because they're theirs, because they aren't feeling those good feelings.
That when we love another report, another person, we actually reward ourself with a feeling whole, complete warm. and content. So I am going to give you five obstacles that I have found out that my clients deal with and keeping themselves from feeling this amazing feeling of love.
and they're not necessarily in any order of what was the most frequent or the most common obstacle, but this is just the order I put 'em in. When I came up with this list. First of all, parent. Often think that if they're loving their child, if they're still supporting them, if they're there for them, if they're telling them they love them, they think they are endorsing and perpetuating the wrong behavior.
but we can separate the behavior from the person and if we just focus on the things that we like about that person that we admire about that person, and so many times my clients will say, he is so good. At looking out for other people or putting other people first, but, and then they've just robbed themselves of feeling that wonderful feeling of admiring him and loving him am but he won't allow me.
To just drop by the house unannounced or he won't allow me to see my grandchildren, or he won't allow me to even have any contact with him. Now I realize that's a difficult situation, and yes, you're gonna feel sad, so you're just going to get really good at feeling sad. And if you process it right that if you wanna work with me, I'll teach you how to do that.
That de intensifies it because it's just sadness. . It's just your brain helping to protect you, but it, it's really not, but you can still choose to love him, even if it is not returned or if your love is objected, but you are not perpetuating the bad behavior or endorsing it. It's just like I heard a man that had a wife and as she got older, I don't know if it was dementia or what it was, but she got very difficult to live with.
Extremely difficult. And she was bossing him around and criticizing him all the time and telling him all these things about him that she didn't like, and yet he just hung in there. He just took care of her until he died because he could separate the illness from this person, his bride. That he married long ago.
So really it's our choice. I don't care what the book say, I don't care what Google says. You just follow your heart. And in my heart I don't, I don't think there's anybody. When they got ready to die. That said, I wish I'd love my children less. So. No, that's one thing we think we're enabling or just reinforcing this bad behavior to continue and I believe, I believe there's at least a 50% chance, but I believe.
More than 50% that we have more influence over our children to change their behavior by loving them. Number two is parents think it's their responsibility that this disrespect for parents and grandparents in this present generation has just gone rampant, which. , I would agree there. There seems to be more disharmony in families than there ever was, but there's all sorts of reasons for that.
But they think it's their responsibility to stop it. So they're gonna start with their kids and they're, they're not gonna have, they're not gonna have anything to do with 'em. They're gonna show them that this is not the right way to act, it's not acceptable. And if you act that way, then we're not going to love you.
We're, we're not going, we're just not gonna support you by loving you because it's got to stop.
Deep down they love you. And yes, I think the family unit has changed and maybe it's changed in a sad way. Part of it has to do with all the privileges and affluence we have. I think from living on the mainland in the United States, when I was flying to Hawaii, I was sitting next to a 23 year, year old young man who had lived in Hawaii all his life and he was coming from Spokane and he was so cold and he could not wait to get back home, and he had a girlfriend.
and he had several brothers and sisters and a mother, and he's got a dad. I don't know if they were divorced, but he said, I told him what I did and he just kind of looked at me and, and surprised that that was even a problem. He said, I see my sister and my. Every day and every Sunday we all get together and have dinner.
But that is a cultural thing and things are very, very expensive over here. So there's a huge division of classes of people, the haves and the have-nots, and the have-nots. What they have most of is family and so that that becomes their focal point. But I wonder if we have so many things available to us to entertain us.
of being able to have comfortable lifestyles. I don't know. I'm not gonna try to figure it out, but I can still benefit even if my children don't wanna get together every Sunday for dinner. I am gonna savor those moments when I do get together with them. And you know what? They feel even better. And so nothing has gone wrong.
They, they are living their lives and it's not my responsibility to try to fix this generation. . My responsibility is to show them what a person does and acts like and feels like and what they say when they unconditionally love as many people as they can, regardless of what they're doing.
Love has such great influence.
Number three, a lot of adult parents think that their, or did I say that right? A lot of parents of adult children think that their children owe them something. Because of all the sacrifices they made for them when they were raising them.
We had a choice then, and we all made good choices, but we didn't have to think about it.
It, it wasn't like, okay, you get one dirty diaper a day. , and then you're just gonna have to wait till the next day because a normal person only has one dirty diaper a day.
And so we didn't do that. We just, we set our desires aside for their needs. Our responsibility is to fulfill our own needs. It's not our adult children. They have so many things that they're trying to figure out in their life. I can remember mainly my husband's parents talking about this. They just didn't know how we could raise children in the time we were raising our children with all the influences and distractions of the world that were pulling them in the wrong direction.
Well, there are even more today. There are more things to worry about. I never had to worry about this screen time thing with my kids. And yes, everything is goog, but are you gonna believe that or are you gonna follow your heart and your own intuition? I'll never forget my daughter talking about they took their kids and went to, I believe it was Minnesota.
And visited her husband's sister and were there for four or five days and got really close to all the cousins. And when they left, they came home and they were on screen with their cousins day after day. And I thought, what a wonderful connection. They were still keeping up, even if it was remotely, there was a connection there.
I am not saying you don't limit the screen time, but I believe every family is different. And yes, you can study out and find whatever answer to support your belief that you want, but it comes down to you know what's best for you and your kids. And you might even know, don't know that, but you just do what feels right.
And then if it was a mistake, then maybe it was supposed to happen. We don't want our kids living the perfect life because we live in an unperfect world, so let's get used to it.
Number four then is parents. Often think they can predict their children's future better than they. These children can predict it, so they feel like it's their responsibility to interfere perhaps with who they marry or when they marry. or I even had someone tell me that they had a friend and their son, they, they lived on the west coast and their son, their adult son move to the west, to the east coast and how dare they do that?
Because that means it would be impossible for their families to ever get together, and in the long run, there would just be no relationship. We have to stay out of our children's business. They have their agency just like we do. and we, we use our agency though to make decisions for ourselves. We don't use our agency to make decisions for somebody else.
Now, if they ask for our input, sure, give it. or if you just can't stand, not to say something, say it in a kind way. I can remember one time wanting to tell my son something. And it was about, he and his fiance had bought a house and they were going to move in together six months before they got married.
And mainly it was. So they weren't making a house payment and two rents, but I knew there were other things going to happen, so I can remember. I, I really believe by going through your gut feeling and my gut feeling said, just say it. Just tell him. So I said, as your mother, I feel I need to tell you this Now.
I belong to a Church of Faith that doesn't believe that it's the right thing to do, to have intimate relations prior to marriage. . So I told him, as your mother, I feel like I need to tell you this. When your dad and I got married, it was God's gift to us that we could now sleep with each other for here on out.
And he said, I know Mom. I. , and then I just said, I love you, son.
So don't get in a place where you think you can predict the future for your children, and that all things that they're doing right now are taking them to a path of destruction. because we don't know and they don't know. Okay, so the fifth thing is parents would rather be right than feel good. And a couple consults I have had, I could tell they weren't ready.
To make a change in their thinking because they, they would rather be miserable and stick to their guns. That I know it's best for my child and what my child is doing right now is wrong and that it's not gonna lead him to anything good. And you know what? They could be totally right, but when they withhold their love from their child because they don't like what he's doing, they're miserable.
They're only hurting themself, but it's their right to be miserable if they want to. So I just let them be miserable. I don't try to talk 'em out of it.
So when I work with people, I just assume they don't wanna feel miserable anymore. We don't wanna be happy with those things that our kids are doing that we don't.
And we don't have to give up wanting them to change, but you know, we can still have those desires and yet still love them with all of our heart.
So, Those are some thoughts to think about. Those are obstacles that we, as parents need to learn to get over,
and so just go over the obstacles again.
If you think you are endorsing or perpetuating the wrong behavior, and so you are not loving 'em because you feel like you're supporting a behavior you don't agree with, if you love them, you're missing out and your brain's lying to.
If you think that you're helping out society in general to stop this disrespect that seems to be surfacing a little more of adult children to their parents, that's not going to stop that. Loving them is gonna have a greater influence of them to turn that around in their own life. And we do that by loving one person at a time, five people at a time, as in my family with my adult children.
and they, they will come to see, especially as they start to have adult children, that maybe there were some things they could have done better, but even though maybe sometimes. They don't give me as much attention as I like or, or cur with me or critical with me. I don't believe for one second that they don't love me.
Number three is parents think they are owed something. By their children for all the sacrifices they made in raising them for the first 18 years of their life. And that is another lie that your brain is telling you. Nobody owes anybody anything
who we owe. Is love and respect for ourself who we can fix and make better and be better and serve the world for good is working and fixing ourselves.
Number four was they think they can. Adult parent parents of adult children think they can predict the future better than their children can. And why would we ever think that they are adults now? You're still the parent, but you're no longer parenting. They are equals. and their mind can see further into the future than what I can see.
And number five is so many people cannot let go of the rope of feeling that they are right. , they are wiser. They have more experience. They know what's best for their kids.
And so your children, you get this feeling of entitlement that they need to listen and follow your advice, and you would rather. Believe that you are right and you know best than to feel the amazing feeling that love and peace, and contentment and compassion offer. I wish the very best for you and your families.
I hope you can figure out this relationship thing. You listen to my podcast, I can make it sound very easy. We all like some validation. We all like some positive feedback, but what are we gonna do if we don't get it from our adult children? Maybe we're gonna have to look someplace else from it. And I suggest the first place you look to is yourself.
Learn how to love yourself. Work on being a better you. Celebrate those things that you like about yourself, and tell yourself every day that you are an amazing person who also makes mistakes. I want you to have a great week if I can pull it off. I have a super fun podcast next week. I'll still be in Hawaii next week, so I look forward to talking to you then.
I would love to help anybody My, my. Coaching business is just about full, and I'm not taking any consults, any strategy calls next week. But if you go to bonnie lyman.com. I have a free resource available on how to be yourself around your adult children, and I have a place that if you wanna sign up to get on a call with me starting February 27th, I would love to do that.
And again, I hope you have just the best week ever. and just focus on those things that you love about your kids. And just kind of ignore,
if you like this, be this episode and you felt it was of benefit to you, I ask you to share it with somebody that perhaps it could also benefit. But if you're still feeling kind of stuck in that you don't know how to apply what was talked about or. Where to start on, on changing your thoughts, on changing your perspective, on bettering your relationship.
Get on a call with me and we can have a discussion. And I can tell you how to apply it and where we start, and then you get to decide what you want to do about this relationship that maybe you're struggling with with your adult children. There's no reason to go on the rest of our lives struggling with our relationships with our adult children.
Let's assume the best. Let's assume that we all love each other and we're just trying to figure out how to maintain our own boundaries and respect another ones. But I can help you with everything. So just go to bonnie lyman.com and book a call. I can't wait to hear from.