Parent-child relationships are constantly evolving, and as children grow, “Dear Therapist” writes, parents have to recalibrate what their role is.
In some cases, “Dear Therapist” columns help us understand a situation from another person’s point of view; in others, they give us the language we need to name a situation.
Moving forward doesn’t mean leaving the past behind—it means figuring out how to make sense of it in the present.
Talking honestly and openly won’t necessarily save a troubled relationship, but doing so can clarify whether one can and should be saved.
Change can bring on a mixture of feelings; compassion is how you navigate them.
I was not there for his last breaths. I was not there for his last words. I’m trying to combat my guilt.
Every holiday season, my siblings and I divide our time between them.
I know I sound naive, but this wasn’t like a “normal” affair.
They’re both angry at me, and I want to mend our relationship.
How can I be open and honest with him when he doesn’t know who I am?
They’re many years old, but they’ve totally upended my world.
They are judging me for not being a good mom, for not having a job, and for not losing my pregnancy weight fast enough.
I’m getting married, and I want her to be a part of my life.
I am incredibly worried that he’s not on the same page as me about moving our relationship forward.
She told me she would never want a child like my daughter.
Any time I want to talk with my daughter about an issue between us, she tells me she doesn’t have time and it’s not a priority for her.
He seems to think that because I don’t completely hate my ex, I must still love him.
I have extended a standing invitation to her friends to visit for playdates or sleepovers, but none has ever come.
I feel incredibly guilty and am worried that if we come clean, we will lose the respect of our children and become pariahs in our community.
I’ve wanted to address this with her for a while now, but I’m afraid she’ll scold me.
I can’t stop thinking about how much he suffered—and my own inability to save him.
I’ve known that my parents haven’t gotten along. They are polar opposites.
I can’t help but think he’s the cause of the growing rift with my relatives.
I do not want to lose her and I miss her terribly, but I believe I had no other choice.
My entire nuclear family is incredibly angry with me.
I’m so tired of people seeing only her bad traits.
I don’t know that I would ever be able to forgive him for taking this away from me.
She’s been having anxiety ever since the pandemic began.
And now my husband wants to move halfway across the country for his job.
I don’t know how to process what I’m going through.
I have no interest in becoming one big happy family.
I don’t think a day has gone by that she hasn’t cried.
He’s been cheated on before, and he gets very anxious that I will want to be with someone else.
I don’t think she truly understands the impact that seeing her only once or twice a year is having on us.
I’d like to meet her before she dies, but I’m worried he would see my fraternizing with her as a betrayal.
He told me he was going out for errands, but he was really meeting with her in a parking lot.
I’m trying to accept that the school I’m going to is where I am meant to be, but I feel like my accomplishments mean nothing now.
I don’t want to burden him with my feelings when he’s going through the exact same thing.
He’s being way too lax about things, and whenever we try to talk about it, we have a fight.
How can I balance her need for support with my own need for boundaries?
I used to daydream about spending more time with him, but now his habits are starting to get on my nerves.
Dear Therapist: What’s Your Advice to Parents Whose Kids Are Stuck at Home During the Coronavirus Lockdowns?
I’m making sure that our kids exercise, have a schedule, spend time outside each day, and try to maintain as normal a life as possible. What more can I do?
My father died, there’s a pandemic, and I’m overcome by my feeling of loss.
I don’t want to be cruel to her, but I cannot be her friend.
My sister is beautiful, talented, and successful, and I don’t understand why she’s wasting her time with this guy.
My son blames his father and won’t speak to him, but my husband is making matters worse by not apologizing.
Should I work on my marriage or leave to make myself happy?
Over the years, she opened several credit cards in my name and now owes more than $10,000. Whenever I ask her to pay it back, she gets defensive and blames me.
I’m worried that he hasn’t completely moved on and that this will hurt our future together.
My husband feels disrespected and unloved, and I don’t know how to bring harmony back to our family.
She wants to have a casual relationship with me while staying with him and I’m afraid to leave her.
Everything about her rubs me the wrong way.
He regrets retiring early to take care of me when I was diagnosed.
I haven’t spoken to him in months and I’m angry that my parents continue to maintain a relationship with him.
I’m happy with the way my fiancé and I are raising my daughter, but my mother isn’t.
He returned home a year ago feeling sad and anxious. We tried to be supportive, but he felt slighted and he’s not over it.
She wants to start a family now, but I don’t want to make a decision based on her biological timeline.
I’ve gone through life pretending, and my heart aches.
My parents recently divorced, and I’m not ready to spend the holiday with new people.
She’s been bringing a steady stream of men back to my house, and her behavior is testing my patience.