My parents’ generation greatly suffers from the following: over-protectiveness, refusal to let go, and being control freaks.
They grew up in the late ’50s towards the end of the “baby boomer generation”. My grandparents were war veterans, born during the sinking of Titanic, and survivors of the Great Depression. They were aptly named “the greatest generation”. And the differences of these parenting styles are tremendous.
My parents began caring for their own parents at the ripe ages of 20. My dad worked through high school and his wages went to either the family’s grocery bill or to his college savings fund. My mom stayed at home to care for my 2 sisters and I as toddlers and avoided any assistance from my grandmother. Mom knew that she would end up waiting on my grandmother and the three of us instead of receiving any extra childcare. At ages 25 and 26, my parents were hosting entire Christmas holidays for their respective families as it was very much expected of them.
The tables have turned and at 30, my experiences with my family is a complete 180 departure from what mom and dad knew.
They were raised to be independent and respectful and learned adult responsibilities at extremely young ages. My grandparents had already lived a thousand lives by the time my parents came along, and my parents grew up in households where they were raised to be ever-grateful for the lifestyle they had been given (no matter how cramped it may have been).
So of course it is only natural that they would grow to despise this way of life and do everything in their power to treat their children differently. We were handled with kid-gloves and we could do no wrong in our parents’ eyes. They spent so many hours with us as children, never wanting to be apart, relishing in family vacations, taking us out to fancy restaurants, paying for college, happily inviting us back into their homes post-college, and loving every opportunity to continue to maintain complete control over our lives.
Naturally they would become super over-protective of the lives they’ve invested so much energy, time, and wealth into. How does one let go of that?
Now, as a 30-year-old adult I’ve grown exhausted of my parents’ controlling relationship with myself and my sisters. For once I would like to be the one to host a holiday, with absolutely zero interference from mom (yes, that is exactly how I am going to cook the turkey, thank you very much). I would welcome the opportunity to call a professional to re-paint my home (yes it is costly, but sorry dad, they get the job done in 1 day…not several weeks). And not every vacation I spend with my sisters and their significant others needs to include mom and dad.
How am I coping with these frustrations? Communication is key. Talk to your parents – let them know that by letting you go, they have more time and opportunity to make the most out of their own lives. Act immediately. Avoid arguments and complete blow-outs by communicating often – be upfront. And always maintain calm tones – never judgmental, never accusatory. Help them understand that less control allows you the ability to prove to them just how capable you really are. After all, they’re the ones who raised you! You’ve learned from the best.
I greatly appreciate everything my parents have done for me over the years, however I think it’s time they begin to focus on themselves and understand that we wish nothing more than to be trusted with the sacred task of taking care of them.