Hello..My Name Is Robin Wilks and I am an Enabler. As self admitted enabler, I’d like to rant.
* DISCLAIMER ALERT! * To avoid nasty emails from my own children, I must say that they are and have been very independent for the most part… in light of my enabling habits.. This rant is not directed at them, but at the many parents out there that are experiencing adult children that just will not leave the nest.
We baby boomers are a different breed of parents. Most of us were born to parents or grandparents who experienced WW2 (you know, the war AFTER the war to end all wars…ahem). There wasn’t a lot of money, and in some cases, our parents experienced rationing..Times were tough. Tough? Tough? A term that is foreign to many young adults today. Oh I get the hardships of the economic times of today…but let’s be real – when the rubber hits the road – it can be very rewarding.
This blog (rant) is dedicated to the mental health of my friends who are going around the twist trying to live out their much deserved retired years in peace and their adult children who may not realizing they are preventing the same….
Actually, Psychologist Prof. Haim Omer describes the world-wide phenomenon of a dependence on parents that doesn’t stop. He calls this “entitled dependence.” He discovered that this is a worldwide phenomenon. Instead of leaving home to embark on an independent life, young adults remain dependent on their parents. There are other terms for this phenomenon…bamboccioni [literally, big babies] in Italy, [living at] “hotel mama” in Germany, boomerang children in Australia, parasaito shinguru [single parasite] in Japan.
As a young adult, my dream was to “get the hell out of dodge”….I didn’t want to follow the house rules (they were strict back then). I wanted to be independent; to forge out into the world and make my mark. I moved into a bachelor apartment, by myself (well, I did have a bazillion cockroaches and a few mice to keep me company), over a stinky fish store in Cabbagetown (downtown Toronto). I WORKED. In a Factory – determined to make it on my own. There were days back then that I had to push my way out of my tiny apartment and step over a homeless person. I had no education at that time, hence the factory job, …just the motivation to make it on my own. I was 15 years old. I was the extreme opposite of the entitled dependence syndrome. Would I NOT recommend leaving home at 15…of course not, but it did make me the person I am . INDEPENDENT.
Do we as parents subconsciously want our son’s in particular to be dependent on us? It seems that they are the worst perpetrators of “entitled dependenced”.
I didn’t realize when I was blessed with parenting my own children, is that learning lessons in life the hard way is what made me the person I am today. I didn’t want my kids leaving home at 15 – I was over-protective. My girls will say that I parented my son differently than I did them. Looking back..I did. When I looked at my daughters, I saw strength and independence…I just wanted to mother the hell out of my son…go figure. Shame on me for not seeing his own strength. Throw in a particularly messy divorce…(GUILT.)..Give ’em everything they want, even before they knew they want it (GUILT) to suppress my own guilt for tearing them away from their cozy life with a mother and father that actually lived in the same household. It’s a wonder my kids turned out as wonderful as they did. We can only do our best.
Retired parents in their 60’s are looking forward to their reward for having worked hard most of their lives, yet many aren’t finished supporting their adult “kids”. They are held hostage by anger, frustration, disappointment, guilt and fear the consequences of throwing their adult birdie out of the nest. The reality is…we don’t have as many years left as the one’s that many are still supporting.
To all of you bamboccioni (BIG BABIES), boomerang children and parasaito shinguru [single parasite] get out of bed before noon, get a job and
GET THE HELL OUT OF DODGE!
Too all of you enablers, here is my own recipe to get those little blood suckers to move into a more independent self. –
STOP COOKING WITH CHEESE!
Give them the tools and encouragement to move out into the world…Let’s treat them as adults instead of children…it’s really ok…there’s isn’t a boogey man out there..and if there is, there is a safety net. As parents’ we will always be there for their emotion support and in these hard economic times, to assist financially…TO A POINT. Set boundaries! Set rules! Insist on their participation in household chores! Most important, together, create an exit strategy TOGETHER. Otherwise, the loving and mature relationship that we strive to achieve with our adult children may indeed turn into a dysfunctional or even non existent one.
As a retired enabler, I’m hoping that I will one day, somewhat turn the tables and hope that my children will be there for me when I need them! When I’m too old to figure out how to open the frustrating plastic packaging to remove the tiny object that manufacturers feel the need to challenge us with. When I need someone to clip the hedge, cut the lawn, clean the gutters – FOR FREE. Payback’s a bitch kiddo’s. In return, I promise I will remain independent and live as long as I can on my own and then, heck, I may even want to move into a senior home and play bingo with all the other old farts.
RANT OVER…just sayin.
I’ll leave you with this…
Life is Good…..