Seniors With Disrespectful Children

by Lena M. Darling

I am a divorced, 69-year-old senior with four adult children. I saw these people through some difficult teenage years, some young adult jail stints, and many other not-too-pleasant life challenges, but nothing prepared me for the disrespect that came after the two of them were grown.

It behooved me that they could so easily disregard me as their mother and talk to me any way they pleased.

For twenty-plus years, I allowed this behavior to happen. I agreed to unreasonable demands and gave money, time, and whatever it took to keep the peace with these two. Several times, they would move back into my home, and I would immediately lose control of my life and self-worth. I would have to get into an unpleasant altercation with them before they would leave. Then, the cycle would start over again. I found myself low in spirit with health issues. I didn’t like the person I had become. When I would see their phone numbers on the caller ID, my heart would sink. It was never a pleasant conversation; it was always about themselves and their needs.

On January 12, 2012, a simple phone call from one of them caused me to have a mini-meltdown, and I decided to take control of my life and step away from theirs. These types of people verbally abuse their senior parents which at times is more hurtful than physical abuse. I believe there’s a great number of seniors out there that have this same problem but are too ashamed and feel so dishonored that they can’t share with anyone. They go on pretending that their children are wonderful and doing well.

We lie and cover-up, and, because we love them, only a few know about the problems. We try to stay away from these people, never ask them for anything, and rely on community services, neighbors, and friends to help us. Seniors, please demand your respect. Even if they don’t honor us as parents, they should respect us as they would any senior. We are valuable citizens, worked hard, and gave up dreams and visions. We deserve our respect and dignity.

May God bless and keep us strong.

-Lena D.

Copyright 2012 – Lena M. Darling, All rights Reserved. No part of this commentary may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author.

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  1. avatar NNNN says:

    I have a 27 year old son who has been disrespectful for years. Today, he spat on me. I agree with everything you said. It is time for me to gain control. He called me a hateful word, said he hoped a gang would rape and kill me. Then he spat on me. I raised him alone. My ex moved out of the country was a rare voice on the phone. I don’t deserve this and I don’t think anyone does. I find it amazing that kids of drug addicts and prostitutes often get more respect. Maybe unconditional love is dangerous to mothers.

  2. avatar Tony Johnson says:

    Ms.Darling reading this was an indeed reflection on my childhood and the way I treated my mother, I actually wrote an article on here about it “My Thoughts”- Jan 20th which reads

    “I began disrespecting her(My Mom)by bringing girls over to the house having pre-marital sex while she was at work, bringing alcohol in the house and violating any kind of rule that she had set. I was even bold enough to cuss in front of her. Yes my mother should have picked up a brick and thrown it upside my head but during that time my mother’s health was starting to deteriorate even though she did whip me when I was younger but being the only child my mother loved & spoiled me because I was adopted when I was 3 days old (I didn’t find this out until I was almost 30 yrs.old) and even though I knew I was just back-lashing at her (for the breakup) my mother was indeed a prayer warrior and everyday she would plead the blood of Jesus on me.

    One day I remembered having one of my disrespectful moments and my mother clearly said to me in a cool calm voice. “Tony, One day when I’m dead and gone. You’re gonna regret everything you said and done to me” and when my mom took her very last breath on September 3, 1996 and on September 7, 1996 at Mount Zion Baptist church looking at my mother in her casket for the very last time. Those very words uttered across my mind. “Tony, One day when I’m dead and gone. You’re gonna regret everything you said and done to me” Talking about crying like a BITCH that’s exactly how I felt because I lost a jewel that I should have treasured till the end”.

    You never miss your water til your well runs dry and so many times I cried wishing I could turn back the hands of time and just spoil my spoil my Mother to death.(I even teared up while writing that article) Now when I see children disrespecting their mother it takes everything in my might not to slang their ass across the room and say to them ..DON’T EVER DISRESPECT YOUR MOTHER, THE ONE WHO BROUGHT YOU INTO THIS WORLD, CLOTHED, FED & CHANGED YOUR DIRTY DIAPERS YOU WHEN YOU COULDN’T DO IT FOR YOURSELF!

    It took my Mother’s death to make me realize that you only have ONE Mom and nothing will ever replace her.

    God bless you dearly Ms. Darling

  3. avatar Me'lena Laudig says:

    To my uncle Chris-your wisdom and humility inspire me. I pray to always treat my mom with respect and take responsiblity when I’m wrong just as you have. Love you.

  4. avatar Lena D. says:

    I truly hope that seniors will benefit from this article. Thanks to all of you for commenting.

  5. avatar Christopher R Williams says:

    Mom if i tell you everyday for the rest of my life that i am so sorry for the abuse you have endured, it would still not stratch the surface on just how deeply i regret what i have done and how i have treated you. I wish i could exclude myself as being one of your children who abused you, but i cannot. I am just as guilty, guilty by association. Forgive me mom for not standing up for you. I should have said something or done something to help you. I thank God for giving you the strength to take back control of your life. You are a wonderful mom the greatest ever and i love you with my whole heart. Thank you for speaking out. For all you children who are aware of their mother being abused please do not just stand by and do nothing like i did. DO SOMETHING, your mother deserves better.

  6. avatar Christie says:

    Ms. Darling,
    Nowadays, children talking back and distrespecting their parents is common and almost expected. But its appauling, distasteful and disgusting for a grown adult to treat their parents in such a manner. Today’s society lacks many moral values. It saddens me to know that you have endured this abuse from your own children. But I appauld you for standing up for yourself and taking your life back. As a young adult, I now more than ever appreciate and respect my parents hard work and love. And it is my prayer that other senior parents who are experiencing this treatment will follow your lead and speak out against this. Your latter days are meant to the best days, and don’t let anyone take those days away from you.


  7. avatar Cathy Williams says:

    I love you so much mom. You were and still is the best mom any one could ask for. Thanks for taking control of your life-I am so glad you have taken a stand. I have and always will look up to you. You’re MY mama!

  8. avatar leigh cravin says:

    Thank you for having the courage to speak out on this topic. Don’t ever think that you are alone. I was not “blessed” with children but I have dear friends with adult children who treat them horribly. One of them called me a few months ago about how her adult sons treat her. When they are broke and hungry they come to her house, eat plates full of food, bring all their nasty clothes, use her washing machine, and use up all her detergent, run up bills, borrow money, won’t wash a dish, won’t run a vacuum, and won’t offer to help her even though she is on dialysis 3x a week and is often too sick to get out of bed. One of the sons went into a tirade when she asked him to help pay the high water bill and he told her to her face, “you are dead to me,” then tried to run over her with his truck. She cried for days over his conduct. My dear, you are not alone. I know others who have given their all to raise children as best they could only to have the same children talk to them using profanity and ugly curse words. We know that most children are not raised this way. So what happened? I don’t know. But I know that if I ever even “rolled my eyes” at my mother, young or old, that she would knock me into next Juvember. Some adult children are so into “me, me, me” that they don’t care who they use to maintain their images and addictions. As you so brilliantly said, you have to stop this madness for your own health. Stress can take you down faster than anything. Nothing hurts worse than to be betrayed by those you have helped the most. But there comes a point when you have to turn them loose. Tell them you love them, but you can no longer participate in family fights and arguments. Put time and distance on it. Pray for them, but take care of your own mental and physical well-being. When you’ve done your best, let it go. Stay strong, but know that you are not alone.