I want to say this quickly, and hopefully respectfully:
Parents of Jez, I understand that when you read a post like this, you worry about people judging your own relationship with your children.
I understand that you will naturally feel sad when your kids leave home, and that you don’t want to be made into some kind of overbearing monster for your perfectly normal emotional response. Of course you’ll miss your kids, of course you’ll wish they’d call more, of course you’ll be annoyed when/if they don’t.
I understand that you want, and will continue to want, regular contact with your kids, and you want them to be grateful for the things you’ve given them.
That’s fine. That can be totally and perfectly normal. And if you’re willing to set reasonable boundaries and schedules with them —that they agree to and are comfortable with — then more’s the better for everyone! That’s healthy! That’s great!
But please stop invalidating any suggestion that kids can be, and routinely are, manipulated and emotionally abused by their parents. And please stop spreading the myth that all children owe their parents fealty, and that we’ll all “understand” when we’re older. Or that a child ignoring her mother’s daily calls and texts is a rude little bitch.
Those of us who are victims of emotional parental abuse know the warning signs. We’re not projecting — we’re picking up on clear red flags.
Believe us when we say that the woman in that article comes off as a classic abuser, and understand that we wouldn’t be saying that just because she wants to talk to her daughter a little more, or because she’s a bit lonely. We’re also not saying that picking up the check for an ivy league school is nothing, or that a child — with a HEALTHY relationship with her mother — shouldn’t be grateful for that, and shouldn’t show that gratitude in ways that would make said parent happy.
But emotional abuse, particularly through financial strings, is common and it’s extremely hurtful to see people dismiss it as ungratefulness or naivete.