Let Them Go When They Reach 18
It took me a while to understand what happened with my 44 year-old, college educated daughter told me on the phone that she would only visit me on condition that I wouldn’t bring up my “politics” which basically at the time consisted of voluntarily supporting the nation’s one and only civilian firearms training organization, the National Rifle Association.
Her husband had already told me he was disgusted by my support of this entirely beneficial organization whose charter was created shortly after the American Civil War proved what poor marksmen most American men were (some still are today — they don’t take the NRA certified training offered everywhere).
So that’s how I learned he’d been pressuring my daughter to follow his lead. Pretty despicable when your daughters husband pulls off that kind of betrayal using your own daughter just to prove a political point.
[Yep, you guessed it, he’s a California Bay Area Liberal.]
But my purpose in telling this story is to show other fathers who’ve experienced this how to overcome this kind of thing. It came almost out of the blue when I was still puzzled and hurt. One day I was watching a nature documentary which included the parental rejection of recently weaned bear cubs. It struck me then that humans are the only species which indulge in almost lifelong offspring support and dependence and faked affection.
Letting go of our adult offspring can be the most natural thing to do.
I should say at this point that prior to “being cancelled” by my daughter, she’d written a Fathers Day prose poem which ended as follows:
“Thank you for showing up for everything,
For cheering me on.
For being proud of me
And above all, for letting me know I was always and unconditionally loved.”
So my love for my daughter was, as she herself says, unconditional. But my daughter would later “cancel” me because of a condition she placed on me.
You totally loyal fathers with adult children: that’s the best message you may ever come across — that your matured offspring really should be let go entirely and the fictional “loyal children” let loose to make of themselves whatever they will. Let them go when they are eighteen years old and go on to make of your life whatever you can. You won’t have to worry about their bad driving and bad decision making as you reengage your own life. Nor will you have to bear their silly politicized thinking anymore.
Oh, and if they hang on while still claiming you are rigid and closed to argument, remember you have years of experience over them and know more than they do by 20 or 30 years. What’s got their goat is really that you are right most of the time and they can’t accept their own failure to match you.