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Reader Challenge of the Week: My (Adult) Child Doesn't Appreciate Me

There are a lot of very wonderful parents in this world, who try to give their children every good thing. But sometimes the line can be crossed from helping your child to spoiling your child.

Below is part of an email I received from a lady named Tracey:

I take my adult daughter shopping and on vacations and I barely get a thank you. I try to do all I can to help my daughter but she barely knows I'm alive. She only calls me when she needs something. She doesn't even remember my birthday! I feel like she doesn't appreciate me. 

Here on CHONJ, we have a spirit of sensitive strength, because a balance is needed between both these attributes. 

First, the sensitive: Tracey, you are an amazing and generous woman. For you to take your daughter shopping and on vacation speaks to your desire to take care of and be close to your child. It is very admirable that you are continuing to do all you can to help your daughter.

Now, the strength: Tracey, you need some strong love. Your daughter is an ungrateful and inconsiderate person, who is very self-absorbed and rude.

Saying thank you for very small things is the polite thing to do, and when a person does something significant for someone - such as giving them a shopping spree or vacation - then not only is a thank you warranted but also an additional gesture such as a thank you card or a bouquet of flowers. That your adult daughter does not have the consideration to even say thank you properly for the things you do for her speaks very poorly of her character.

What I recommend is having a long face-to-face conversation with your daughter. Ask her open ended questions such as "Is there any reason you don't thank me when I do something for you?" and "Why do you never contact me just to say hello?" Try to have her put herself in your place by asking, "How would you feel if I completely ignored your birthday?"

Your daughter has become who she is because you have allowed that behavior. Meanwhile, in the present, you are enabling the person you helped to create. Without any negative consequences for her behavior, your daughter has had no motivation to change.

There is a chance that she will change her behavior after you confront her. However, if she does not, then you need to find something else to attach your generous and nurturing heart to. Focus your energies unto other family members, close friends, a church or community center.

Rather than spend the money shopping for your daughter, find a charity that you believe in to donate to. If you need a traveling companion, I can't offer myself (Husband and I have a family rule that we never spend a night apart) but I'm happy to introduce you to my Mummy, Nadia. She is the loveliest of ladies, and if you took her on vacation I can guarantee Nadia would give you lots of hugs, appreciation, a thank you note, and a bouquet of flowers. 
By: Kristia Markarian