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

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw asked Albertans to limit travel throughout the province as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Red Deer nears 900 active COVID-19 cases

Province reports additional 2,211 COVID-19 cases

David Eggen, the NDP’s advanced education critic, said the UCP government has been focused on cutting funding to post-secondary institutions across Alberta. (Contributed photo)
NDP worry new status for Red Deer College doesn’t mean more funding

This week the province announced that RDC will become a polytechnic institute

(Advocate file photo.)
Single-vehicle accident causes Hwy 2A closure Thursday

A single-vehicle crash on Highway 2A near Penhold led to a brief… Continue reading

(Black Press file photo.)
Olds College to welcome students with developmental disabilities

Students with developmental disabilities will soon be able to study at Olds… Continue reading

Hairdresser Frankie Genereaux applies some foils to Ellen Walker’s hair on Thursday at Abbey Road Hair Studio in Red Deer. Most salons have run out of appointments as clients seek to get in before a three-week temporary closure order takes effect on Sunday. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
Third temporary closure order frustrates Red Deer hair salons

It’s hard on small business, says an owner

Alberta Health Services locked the Whistle Stop Cafe in Mirror on Wednesday morning after owner Christopher Scott refused to comply with health orders. (Photo by Paul Cowley/Advocate staff)
UPDATED: AHS shuts down Whistle Stop Cafe for defying health orders

Justice minister promises to get tough with those ignoring public health orders

Nicholas Marcus Thompson is shown in Toronto on Thursday April 29, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Action needed to end anti-Black racism in public service: advocates

OTTAWA — The federal government must address anti-Black racism in the public… Continue reading

Victoria Police help BC conservation officers carry a cougar which was tranquilized in the backyard of an apartment building in the community of James Bay in Victoria, B.C., Monday, October 5, 2015. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Cougar believed to be responsible for B.C. attack killed: conservation service

AGASSIZ, B.C. — The British Columbia Conservation Officer Service says it believes… Continue reading

People line up outside an immunization clinic to get their Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine in Edmonton, Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Hospital investigating whether woman who died after AstraZeneca shot was turned away

EDMONTON — Officials with an Edmonton hospital say they’re investigating what happened… Continue reading

A sign is seen at a walk-in COVID-19 in Montreal on Wednesday, April 21, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
NACI chair says advice not meant to give AstraZeneca recipients vaccine remorse

OTTAWA — The chair of the National Advisory Committee on Immunization says… Continue reading

Minister of Employment, Workforce Development and Disability Inclusion Carla Qualtrough holds a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Liberals pressed to ease access to EI parental leave to help unemployed moms

OTTAWA — The federal government is being asked to give new and… Continue reading

An oil worker holds raw sand bitumen near Fort McMurray, Alta., on July 9, 2008. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta eases security payment burden for oilsands companies

EDMONTON — Alberta is changing how it calculates the payments oilsands mines… Continue reading

Most Read