Family Dynamics

Our problem today is from one contributor struggling with family expectations….

Like a lot of adopters, I was childless for a very long time before I became a parent.  I was also single and pretty much used to doing things my own way.  I don’t have a bad relationship with my family, but they live far away and I’m not used to relying on them for anything really.

I have nephews, but my sister has lived abroad for over 25 years now so my Mum missed out on most of their growing up.  Now she and my stepdad have moved close to my sister to enjoy their retirement and suddenly, here I am with another grandchild.Help Line

To say it’s altering our family dynamics would be an understatement!  Now, from seeing my parents a couple of times each year, I find that they are over pretty much every other month . . . staying in my house!  It’s not necessarily as bad as it sounds.  My Mum is not particularly hard to live with – there are a couple of things she does with my son that I’m not keen on, but I can manage that most of the time.

No, the problem is the way our relationship is changing.  Or rather, how it’s not particularly changing and my Mum thinks it should.

  I think she’d rather I was on the phone, asking for advice and seeking the wisdom of the ages from her, but I’ve been used to being independent for 20 years so that’s not something that comes naturally to me at all.  On her last visit here, she said that she wished I needed her more.  This is after years of telling me how proud she is that I’m so independent!

So, I was wondering whether anyone else has found that the arrival of their children has radically changed the dynamic of their existing family, and how you’ve got round it . . . if you have!

4 thoughts on “Family Dynamics

  1. Three Pink Diamonds

    Hi, I haven’t had the same issue as you, however some of our family members have given us advice or opinions that they feel strongly about and the advice does not always match how my husband and I view things or the info that has been given to us by the professionals.

    I feel that due to the difference in opinions this has sometimes placed pressure on our relationships and the dynamics of our family have altered. I think when you introduce a new person into the family it is going to cause/create some changes. My husband and I are continuing to parent with help but being strong in that we choose what is best and how we want to do things.

    I think having children raises all sorts of emotions for everyone involved. I believe that you must stay true to yourself and follow your gut when making decisions.

    Hope this helps in some small way.

    1. Poster

      Yes, sometimes it’s so hard to resist well-meaning but unhelpful advice, especially if it calls your parenting decisions into question. I’m fairly relaxed about my son – I don’t mind if my Mum gives him sweets or buys him presents or lets him stay up a bit late (and she does usually ask anyway) or even if she makes excuses for every naughtiness while I’m trying to correct him – but there are a couple of things she does that are bordering on obsessional now. For instance, she’s determined to get him to like the shower (he’s terrified of it) and I think it’s become like a personal mission. She simply will not listen when I say very directly that I don’t want her to even put the shower head near him any more. I’ve kept her away from bathtimes, but while we were staying there this summer, she managed to get round it by trying to shower him with the hose at the side of their pool! He was hysterical, really sobbing, and after he wouldn’t even go in the bath – he only had 3 baths in 3 weeks, (which is bad because he needs regular baths for his eczema, which was in an awful state by the end of the trip) and every one was a trauma of immense proportions. *sigh*

  2. Anon

    Oh my goodness YES! Since my daughter arrived I have been really surprised at how my Relationship with my Mum has changed. She no longer wants to know about me, hardly asks how I am and is almost creepily obsessed with the little one. I feel like she doesn’t understand the way I think about parenting at all and it’s making me feel more distant from her. It’s even really making me think again about the way I was raised and about the neediness of my parents. It’s a total shock to me, I didn’t expect her to be like this, I thought she would be more supportive of my journey as a new parent. I feel like the dynamic has changed because I’m needing to move away (emotionally) from my parents/siblings in order to focus on my daughter’s needs. I wonder if things will change.

    1. Poster

      This is it! My Mum skypes all the time, talks about my son all the time and how much she’s missing him (with the occasional addition of “And you too of course, darling!”) and wants to come over and stay at my house at the drop of a hat! Very intense! Especially after years and years of a relationship that was comfy but . . . well . . . a bit distant really. I expect this isn’t really an adoption issue per se, but it’s certainly come as a surprise to me!


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