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Dear Adult Children: You Stink.

I have to promise you something.  And that is that your adult children are going to disappoint you.  They're going to live their lives in all kinds of ways you really, really wish they wouldn't.  And it's tough.  You want to support them without appearing to support all of their decisions. 

I can tell you that my oldest is 19 and it's already hard.  Do you know what it's like to chat with your son's old best friend's parents, and learn that their son is in medical school at an elite university, and what is Patrick doing?  Minecraft.

I was disappointed that he didn't apply to colleges.  And no matter what you say, it does reflect badly on me.  This is the little guy who learned to read before kindergarten, who used to have aspirations, yadda yadda yadda.  But it's his life.  I can be disappointed.  But it's his life. Even if his choices reflect badly on me, it is his life.

I came across this dad's note to his adult children, not in some bitty blog somewhere with a stock template and three readers, but in an international online newspaper.  Could you imagine reading a letter addressed to you, with your father's byline, stating that you can't keep your pants on, you can't stop whining at your mom, and you can't hold down a job, so quit being such a loser or stop contacting us?  And PS, your kids are really cute?  Could you imagine that?

"We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don't ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others."


Lately I've been very relieved that Patrick has recently applied to college and been accepted for next term.  I am proud that he is taking this step.  I am learning, however, to distinguish between his success and mine.  It seems when children are younger, they're so intertwined.

Have a great weekend, guys.  We are still battling some flu here in the house and so prayers are always appreciated.


  1. The real issue may be that he waited till they were in their 40s to tell them to stop thinking with their privates. I've seen too many cases of this in my own family to have compassion for these adult kids.

    Ps. Glad you son is now ready for college. A gap year for maturity sake is better than flunking out first semester ( like I did). Thank God I regrouped and started over.

    1. I don't really have an objection to the message so much if what is written is TRUE. But could you imagine writing this with your real byline for a large audience? Wow.

    2. There was a follow up story with one of his daughters defending him. Apparently the message was originally sent directly to the kids. I think she asked for it to be published or at least that is what I gleaned.

  2. knowing that they are separate people with "stuff" all their own is a hard, long lesson
    Jeffrey is 40 and I still have a hard time with it

    I'm thrilled that Patrick has decided to give college a go

    now go get some tea and take a nap

    1. "Having a hard time with it" is exactly it. Part of parenting is caring so, so much. Thanks for your good wishes, Dianne! :)

  3. My adult children are dee-light-ful, now that they're all in their thirties. There is one who has made poor choices (alcohol, funny tobacco), but the original boy is still in there somewhere and I have hopes...
    None of them went to university, all preferred to get jobs and earn money instead, but they have done further training within their jobs and they are doing well. Three of them anyway. The other is.....okay....and has a job at least.

    1. I know your original boy is in there somewhere, too. A lot of young men just take a good while to figure it out. There are a lot of theories as to why that is but when you're the parent all you can say is arrggg...

  4. From what I have read, he wrote the email and sent it to his 3 children. It was one daughter who made it public as she is promoting a book. I don't believe it was his original intention for this to be out in the open.

    1. Ohhh now that makes more sense. So the daughter's a go-getter author, eh? Dad should be proud!

      *shakes head*

  5. and I hope you are all feeling better soon!

  6. Wow, I'm so glad I'm not there yet. Oh, Lord have mercy.

    1. Yep. Just have mercy on those of us who are, wouldya? Thanks. :)

  7. Well, I think the oldest daughter proved her character when she published her father's PRIVATE email. And, I know exactly how it feels to have people tell you about their children graduating, getting a dream job, buying their first home... you just can't help but comparing that to where your children are. And, when your children are far, far from that... Well, I understand the emotions behind this. But, I still wouldn't have sent it.

    Because, it seems that none of his children are employed in an illegal venture. Even my dear husband has been known to say that he is only going to work hard enough to support the lifestyle he wants to live. Self determination is a good thing!

    1. I hadn't realized until I read all the replies that one of the adult children publicised it. It IS very hard to hear happy-happy tales from others about their children and know your kiddo isn't there, maybe never will be. People don't get it and they don't want to get it when there are other struggles going on. :(


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