Don’t let small grievances ruin relationship with your parents

I have plenty of reasons to resent my parents. They’ve never abused me or anything like that, but they do such stupid things.

Question: I have plenty of reasons to resent my parents. They’ve never abused me or anything like that, but they do such stupid things.

My dad’s work has been the only thing he cared about. My mom is a perpetual nagger. How can I respect people like that?

Answer: Let’s assume that your complaints against your parents are valid — that they didn’t do a very good job of raising you and your siblings. Nevertheless, I urge you to cut them some slack.

You’ll learn someday just how hard it is to be a good parent. Even those who are highly motivated to do the job right often make a mess of things.

Why? Because children are infinitely complex.

There is no formula that works in every case. In fact, I believe it is more difficult to raise children now than ever before. Be assured that you will not do the job perfectly, either.

Someday, if you are blessed with children, one or more of them will blame you for your failures, just as you have criticized your parents.

Let me share one more suggestion with you and others who have been angry at their parents. Given the brevity of life and the temporary nature of all human relationships, can you find it within your hearts to forgive them?

Maybe my own experience will be relevant to you. My mother closed her eyes for the last time on June 26, 1988.

She had been so vibrant — so important to each member of our family. I couldn’t imagine life without her just a few years earlier. But time passed so quickly, and before we knew it, she had grown old and sick and incompetent.

As I sat at her memorial service, I was flooded with memories and a profound sense of loss. But there was not the slightest hint of regret, remorse or guilt.

There were no hurtful words I wished I could have taken back. There were no prolonged conflicts that remained unresolved between my parents and me.

Why not? Was I a perfect son born to flawless parents? Of course not. But when Shirley and I had been married two years, I remember saying to her, “Our parents will not always be with us. I see now the incredible brevity of life that will someday take them from us. We must keep that in mind as we live out our daily lives. I want to respond to both sets of parents in such a way that we will have no regrets after they are gone.”

Again, to those of you who are in need of this advice, I urge you not to throw away these good, healthy times. Your parents will not always be there for you.

Please think about what I have written and be careful not to create bitter memories that will hang above you when the record is in the books. No conflict is worth letting that happen.

Question: Are all forms of child abuse illegal?

Answer: Not in any practical sense. Within certain limits it is not illegal to ignore a child or raise him or her without love.

Nor is it against the law to ridicule and humiliate a boy or girl. Those forms of rejection may be more harmful even than some forms of physical abuse, but they are tougher to prove and are usually not prosecutable.

James Dobson is founder and Chairman Emeritus of the nonprofit organization Focus on the Family, Colorado Springs, Colo. 80995 (www.focusonthefamily.org).

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Some workers are terrified at the prospect of returning to work at Olymel, where hundreds were infected with COVID, says a worker.
Advocate file photo
Second death linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta Health confirms

A second death has been linked to the Olymel COVID-19 outbreak, Alberta… Continue reading

A health worker holds up a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine against COVID-19 in Rome, Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Cecilia Fabiano/LaPresse via AP
Health Canada approves AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine

Canada has pre-ordered 20 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine

A fallen Western Red cedar tree at Francis/King Regional Park in Saanich, B.C., Thursday, May 26, 2016. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Logging delay agreement for B.C. old-growth tree stand helps endangered spotted owls

Deal announced to hold off logging watershed for a year

An arrest by Red Deer RCMP is facing online scrutiny. No charges have been laid and the incident is still under investigation. (Screenshot of YouTube video)
Red Deer RCMP investigating violent arrest caught on video

Police say officer ‘acted within the scope of his duties’

Emily Keeping of Wetaskiwin, Alta., was last seen at 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin. Supplied/ Wetaskiwin RCMP.
UPDATE: Wetaskiwin RCMP seek assistance in locating missing 11-year-old

Emily Keeping was last seen on Feb. 25, 2021 at the FasGas on 49 St and 50 Ave in Wetaskiwin.

FILE - Cameron Forte (right) and his Fraser Valley Bandits are 2-0 at the Canadian Elite Basketball League Summer Series after being the Saskatchewan Rattlers. (CEBL photo)
CEBL releases 14-game 2021 schedule, hopes to see fans attend games in person

Season will kick off with the Edmonton Stingers and the Fraser Valley Bandits

FILE - Keegan Messing performs during the Men’s Short program at the 2020 Canadian Tire National Skating Championships in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. If the world figure skating championships do go ahead in a bubble in March in Sweden, there is a good chance Canada won’t be there. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Messing leads Canadian figure skating team at world championships

Messing was the only Canadian to compete on the Grand Prix circuit this season

Nurses episode, titled “Achilles Heel,” was first aired on Global in February 2020. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)
Global pulls ‘Nurses’ episode after scene with Orthodox Jews deemed anti-Semitic

TORONTO — Global TV says it has pulled an episode of Toronto-set… Continue reading

Lady Gaga is offering a $500,000 reward for the return of her two French bulldogs. (Photo by THE ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Lady Gaga’s dog walker shot, French bulldogs stolen in LA

Dog walker expected to survive injuries

Calgary Flames defenceman Mark Giordano tries to help goaltender David Rittich stop a shot from Ottawa Senators right wing Drake Batherson during first-period NHL action Thursday, February 25, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Colin White scores two goals to lead Ottawa Senators to a 6-1 win over Calgary Flames

Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy Vice-Admiral Art McDonald is seen during an interview with The Canadian Press in Ottawa, Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Military reeling as new defence chief steps aside amid allegations of misconduct

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney speaks during a news conference in Edmonton on Feb. 24, 2020. It’s budget day in the province, and Kenney’s United Conservative government is promising more help in the fight against COVID, but more red ink on the bottom line. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Alberta’s budget promises more help for COVID-19 with a hard deficit

Most Read