The Meddler | Mark’s Remarks


Michelle and I watched a really funny Susan Sarandon movie the other night. It was called “The Meddler” and was all about a 60-something mother who got involved in everyone’s business – especially her long-suffering daughter.

It was hilarious, but there was a lot of truth in the movie. And Susan learned a few life lessons about how to parent as an older person.  It’s on Netflix.  Watch it.

Parents, please let go of your children. Let go in a healthy way, I mean.   When they are adults, you can no longer be in their business all the time. If you are doing it, knock it off. 

We had someone come up to us the other day and let us know that our adult child had not responded to an invitation. 

Our son is an adult, is married, has a job, and is on his own.  We no longer get involved with such things, nor do we hover around our son and make sure he’s eating his vegetables or putting money into his savings account. We stay out of his business, because we don’t have time to be in his business. If he doesn’t get something accomplished or send someone a Christmas card, that’s on him. Sorry.  Not my problem. We also think it’s wrong to hover and be a helicopter parent to our adult children.  Heck, it’s not the right thing when they are younger either.

Do we get concerned, do we worry, and do we give advice?  Yes, of course, and only when they ask. We do not start sentences with “you know what I’d do.”  We might ask a few questions and say something like “Well, I feel that I must give you a little advice.”  But for goodness sakes, it’s no longer our job to get involved and try to run the lives of our adult children.  

They’ve got to learn sometime.

If you are a parent who hovers over your children, getting involved with every little aspect of every little detail of their lives, you are causing harm. You cannot, as bad as you want, control every little thing.  Kids are going to fail and you need to let them fail. Kids are going to wear clothing that someone makes fun of and they need to experience the heartache of that sort of thing.  They need to learn to interact with other kids without you butting in. 

Kids have to learn that there are bad things in life that are their fault and they need to take ownership.

I’ve known parents who get involved with what I call “girl drama” at school.  I kid you not. Parents have their children recount what other kids said and get involved, telling their children what to say back and how to act.  Ugh.  I’ve seen it over and over again.  

In a few cases, the parents ended up duking it out as well. Ridiculous, sad, and really disgusting, in my opinion.

I shouldn’t be so sexist with my “girl drama” remark, but boys rarely get into such things. Boys are different. They have their own drama in their own way, and parents get involved there too. And boys get over things faster.

There are parents who fret if their kids don’t have matching pajamas on pajama day. They do their children’s homework for them. They hate coaches and teachers who don’t put their kids on pedestals.  They smother, they hover, and again, they harm.  In my eyes, this type of behavior should be likened to abuse.

You might hear about parents who balance the checkbooks or do the taxes of their adult children. Some parents continue to shop for the clothes of their grown children. I’ve known parents who go and clean the homes of their adult children who have moved out, buy them cars, bail them out of every financial problem and who pay their way as much as possible.

In turn, these adult children often experience anxiety, depression and all sorts of mental issues. You see, they haven’t been allowed to develop the way they are supposed to. Why would they?  Parents are trying to develop them in their own way.

This is detrimental, folks.  It’s not going to end well, I guarantee.

Let your kids go, folks.  Do not raise them to think they can do no wrong. Let them know other kids might do a better job some time and help them be realistic about their own abilities.  Talk to your kids, have conversations with them, and by all means listen to them.  Let them know you think they are important, but not infallible.   Allow them to fail and then talk to them about it.  Set them up to learn from life’s lessons, as hard as it is to watch sometimes.  

Enjoy your kids.  When they grow up, you can start treating them a little more like friends.  Support them, love them with unconditional love.  Let them explore and learn.  Observe.  Bite your tongue if needed.  Remind them that they can always count on you.

Stop meddling in your kids’ business.  You have enough business to take care of in your own life. 

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