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What are your (non-manipulative) "strategies" to make your adult kids call or visit more often?
I miss hearing from my daughter more often. I don't want to manipulate her like my mom somewhat did to me. Yet, I wish this could change. I try to always be upbeat and positive when she calls. I understand that's she's going through difficult times right now, but we've always been very close and love each other dearly, I know that. My counselor says she just has a different concept of what is comfortable space. Sometimes I can't sleep for the sadness of it all. (She doesn't know I write under this name, so no worries).
I'm really not sure how you make them think they had the idea on their own. It seems the one who lives the furthest from me visits more often, but neither of my two kids keep in touch that well. They get busy, I know. Maybe contacting them more often will help. Greeting cards are designed for any occasion. E-mail is a click away and personal hand written letters add a special touch. Good luck.
I'm thinking I should do the greeting card thing. Getting something in the mail is so sweet. My daughter doesn't respond to ANYONE's emails at the moment. She's going through an existential crisis I think. When we're together we laugh and laugh!
When my son who is now approaching fifty left home at age twenty, I hadn't heard from him in over a year. I was becoming frantic to know that he was okay, after months of sleepless nights filled with tears and the fear that he might not be okay, I found the phone number on one of my old phone bills of a friend he had called from my phone the month he left home, who lives in the same area he had moved to, I called the friend and asked if they had seen my son. They got a message to him letting him know I was concerned and asked him to call me. He called, let me know he was "still kicking," and three months later I still hadn't heard from him again, but he had given me his post office box address, so I sent him a stamped self addressed postcard along with a pencil and asked him to check off "I'm fine," "I'm sick," "I'm in jail." About a week later I got the post card back with a large happy face scrawled on it with his signature. Months went by again without my hearing from him, so I sent him another postcard warning him that I was about to call the police department in his area and file a missing person's report because I loved him, and I was concerned because I hadn't heard from him (this is a very small area where everyone knows everyone in town.) Needless to say, he finally got the idea after he received that card that he needed to touch bases now and then. Now, nearly thirty years later he calls me every few weeks and comes to visit at least once a year (he lives two states away). If he is in a "bad place" emotionally he refrains from calling, and I give him the space he needs. When he calls he might talk for two to three hours at a time. Things change with time as our children "mature" and they get a grasp of their own lives and realize the importance of family. Letting go of our children isn't always easy, but it does get easier with time.
This is a very touching story MJeannie and I think it's more common than we think. My daughter does the same thing when she's in a "bad place" - she withdraws and tries to sort it out. I think your right about the different developmental phases.
As a therapist, I would recommend that my client talk directly to her daughter about this. Maybe let her know how much her calls mean to you, etc. Have you considered talking to her about this one on one or writing a letter?
On a more personal note, I love that you are not trying to be manipulative. My mother can be that way and it can be very damaging. All it does drive me away. Recently, she recommended the book "One More Day" by Mitch Albom. (She's often recommending books and I admit this could have been a manipulative tactic on her part). HOWEVER, the book is about a man who has lost his mother and has been gifted just one more day to spend time with her. It made me want to call my mom. It also made me proud of how, as a mother, I love my kids unconditionally. I recommend that to you and your daughter.
At the end of the day, mother's aren't around forever and we are so very lucky to have them while we do. Start with being honest with your daughter about how much you love her and how you'd love to hear from her and perhaps she will be honest with you in return about what she needs from you. How could it hurt? Best of luck!
That has to be heartbreaking. I think I would talk to her and ask her if she minds if you call her once a week. That way you aren't waiting for a call and I am sure she would love hearing from you rather than having to call.
Duffsmom, good idea. I did try that, but I can try that again. Her friend has been diagnosed with Huntington's disease and is in her 30s, so that is weighing heavy. I have to "buck up" and be supportive and find my own distractions so she has space.
Despite being 56 years old, my oldest child is 17, my middle child is 14 and my youngest child is 10. I am not qualified to answer this question, because unlike my friends who have grandchildren as old as my oldest child, I do not yet have adult children. But I am curious of the answers put forth herein for future reference if needed.
I was fortunate to be able to run my practice from my home and raise all 3 of my children from diapers to now. I literally bottle fed, burped, napped, diapered, cuddled and comforted from birth to now. I was very fortunate to be able to do so. So I have a very close relationship with my children now. They ask me to do things with them. But I am not naive. I know once they meet someone to share a life with and raise a family with, their time and devotion will move elsewhere. I will miss them. I miss them now just thinking about it. All I can hope is that they will visit me when they find the time.
And I hope the same for all of you reading these answers.
Very astute.The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.Make your home happy, fun, not serious, full of laughter. Keep writing hubs like ur "Tribute to My Wife" and your children will want to be there. Divorce did us in.
KatyWhoWaited. This has nothing to do with the question, but I have to ask. How did you come up with the tag "KatyWhoWaited?" I don't know why, but I love it!
My son rarely called me for 4 years and he lived 3 states away. I stopped trying to ask him to call me more often to let me know how he is doing. Once I sent him a self addressed stamped envelope to me along with a sheet of paper. At the top, I wrote Dear Mom, and left the middle empty. At the bottom I wrote Your Loving Son, and underneath a blank line for him to sign his name. He never wrote, but he did call and he and his friends thought it was a great idea. I guess it took some of the seriousness of my concern out of the picture. I think there really is empty nest syndrome in all parents. I'm just thinking, but maybe next time compliment her for her independence first and then say how much you would love to hear how she is doing now and then. Then leave the ball in her court so to speak. Hang in there! Your not alone. It gets better.
Somehow you need to develop happiness whenever you are with them or when they call (if they are married it may have to result in accepting the spouse the same way). Your time together must be positive and associated with happiness; nothing else. Thus, eventually the children will long for that and will indeed initate continued contact.
This does not mean manipulating them. It simply means that when you are together there must be happiness and positiveness. Now positiveness can simply mean lsitening to them and not passing judgment or it colud mean giving them reinforcement or other ideas to resolve their situation.
If there is any thread of guilt or suspected disappointment in what they have done or haven't done; this will interfere significantly with continued communication. So one must forgive and make sure they known they are forgiven (don't just assume it).
I just tell my daughter that I miss my granddaughter CyeCye (or Palang, my endearment to my granddaughter, her daughter) then she would see to it that she visits me once a week or once every two weeks. She knows how fond I am with her daughter.
I understand how you are feeling and admire your awareness of how your mom affected you and that you do not want to repeat that.
My mom and I are very close. We are so close that we actually live together, so the calling issue isn't a problem. I'm sure sometimes she wishes she had more time to herself with my daughter and I living here.
When we did not live together there were times when I would talk to her daily and time we would talk less often. The key to great communication is no expectation. If you want to talk to her, give her a call. If she is busy, understand and just tell her you love her. The less she feels pressured, the more positively she will respond.
Also, take into account perhaps her personal communication choices. Is she maybe more comfortable with email? If so, write to her and encourage her to write back when she has a chance. Sometimes our loves ones have communication styles they find more comfortable.
It is great to be upbeat and positive when she calls. This gives her a safe environment and keeps her comfortable. The best advice is to be supportive, let her know you are there for her and likewise, let her know if you need her. She may simply not know that you need to hear her voice more often. Your needs are important too.
Good luck and let us know how it's going. Wishing you all the best. You sound like a very loving mama.
Best wishes to you and your family.
Perhaps you could call your daughter every now and then with a quick question or a quick piece of news. It might be as simple as asking her to remind you of the name of someone's daughter. "I keep seeing her mother in the street and I can't remember her daughter's name. It's embarrassing." Just thank her and hang up when she answers you.
Or perhaps you might ring and ask if she has the tv on and has seen the news. If there's something significant happening, she might be happy to see the story breaking.
I suggest you get in the habit of just touching base for short moments so she doesn't feel as though a conversation needs to be too long or too draining. Perhaps then she'll be more inclined to phone you if she has a question, or to tell you a piece of news.
I hear from my adult daughters regularly - sometimes every day for months. But then other times weeks or months might pass when I just give them a quick call to touch base. If I call them, I aim for a short call.
Of course there are times when they call me and I offer to call them back when they talk for a long time, to share the cost because they travel a lot, like their mother.
Don't always wait for your daughter to call you ... and don't lose sleep over it. Just pick up the phone and make a quick call with a purpose. Then end the call promptly ... "Okay, thanks. I know you're busy. That's all I needed. Talk to you later. Love you! Bye!"
If there's more that she wants to say, she'll feel comfortable about calling you - knowing that you'll just listen to her and let her hang up when she's finished.
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