Before I start to get into writing this I want to make it clear that I am not much of a religious person. I do however have morels that I try to live my life by. Those morels as much as I like and at the same time dislike it they are tied to religious beliefs. I am adding religion to this. Remember the title of my blog site is Things to ponder….. This topic is one I ponder, mainly due to having and adult daughter and having a mother/father in-law but also my parents as well.
I often wonder do parents have the right to butt into their children’s lives? Do they have the right to throw a fit when their child(ren) do something they do not agree with? At what point/age is your child an adult? Is it when they are married? When they turn 18? When the child reaches that “adult” status do they have the right to tell their parents to butt out? What do grown children owe their parents? Do adult children owe their parents for what they’ve done while growing up? What does honor thy father and honor thy mother really mean? So many questions, so many view points so much so I do NOT think I will ever know the correct answer and I do NOT know if my husband and I would ever agree on it. I think that is wonderful, if we all agreed on everything than I feel that we would have a boring world and no individualism!
In a pagan Roman family, the children were to obey their father until he died, in a Christian home children are to obey their parents until the parents die or the children marry. When Christians marry, they establish a new unit wherein the husband is the head. So “children” here can mean infants to adults who are not married.
Reality of it is all over the world people have a different view of when you “come of age.” And the fact of the matter is that it really doesn’t matter what you believe, at some point in life you come of age/ become an adult. The question is, after you become an adult do you have a right to tell you parents they are wrong, demand an apology, not take care of them when they are not longer able to care for themselves, stand up for what you believe in even if they do not agree?
In the Old Testament rebellion against your parents was a capital offense. Exodus 21:15 says “And he that smites his father, or his mother, shall be surely put to death.” And verse 17 says, “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death.” The God of the Old and New Testament is the same God so a physical or verbal attack on your parents is punishable by death! I wonder if that would hold up in court if a parent killed their child for being disobedient? Yeah, right! I think 99% of folks that call themselves Christens and believes in the King James Version or a similar version of the Bible has been disobedient to their parents. So how literal do we take the Bible? Many more verses say to honor your mother and father but I am unclear and cannot find anything that says if that is forever or until you reach adulthood! But I guess that would be me taking the Bible literally and I know that can’t be done or I guess I would have never made it to adulthood! J
I would have to say that to me a person becomes an adult when they live in their own place at which point I believe that is when they say “I am ready to take on adult responsibility, make my own decisions and pay my own expenses.” That is when I backed off and let my oldest child live her own life. No, I do NOT always agree with the decisions she makes, and of course as a parent you never stop worrying about your child. But I feel you must butt out and let them learn their own way.
After reaching adulthood, shouldn’t respect go both ways? Sure I believe you should honor your mother and father to a point but I do NOT believe after you are deemed an adult that they have the right to disrespect you and your decisions. I don’t believe you have to obey everything they say. Sure I realize everyone’s emotions get in the way at points and things are said that shouldn’t be said and sometimes you may not mean what you say. At which point I think that to show respect an “I am sorry” should take place. I am one that give my parents respect when they deserves it but if they step out of line, I make it clear that they have and I expect them to apologize to me or to the one that has been disrespected. I would expect my husband to be the same way but that is NOT the case. He will not stand up to his parents and would NOT make them apologize for disrespecting me. That boils my blood, but I try to respect that he doesn’t have the kind of relationship that I believe should be in place. Does it make me right and him wrong, or him right and me wrong. It doesn’t matter~ The fact is we do not agree but we love each other have agreed to disagree. Which for the most part works, but I don’t not think he understands how much an apology would fix. I am bitter and I will NOT get over the hurtful things that have been said about me until I am shown respect and get an apology. Until then I tolerate them for they are my husbands parents and the grandparents of my children but I will NOT forgive them and become unbitter without it!
Which brings me to another question. If you have a spouse it only makes sense that they are different from you and your beliefs are similar but by all means not the same. If your spouse demands an apology but you feel that what was said is in the past to just pretend it didn’t happen, does your spouse have the right to confront and demand an apology anyway? Or is your spouse suppose to bow to what you say and go with the flow? Does it make it wrong for your spouse to be angry and hurt when you have moved on? I don’t know and I never will know what is really right. Thankfully we live in a society that says we have the right to have different ideas! I indeed love and respect my husband and try to be as respectful as possible to his ideas. I admit it is so hard not to just speak my mind and get things off my chest completely but as a spouse to a man that is my best friend, lover, soul mate and father of my children (we have became our own family) I do my best, but I am not perfect!
If you believe in God, God created family. Following his purposes for marriage and family life may give us the best opportunities to have family fulfillment. Genesis 2:18 “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. Matthew 19:4-6 “And he answered and said unto them, Have ye not read, that he which made [them] at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh? Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder“. I guess I found something that states that you shall leave mother and father and be one with your spouse. I like reading that, I find myself saying a lot this person or that person needs to get off the nipple so to speak. I personally feel that at the time that you are married your parents are your parents but they need to stay butted out, for you and your spouse are “the flesh of one” Therefore, shut your mouth and do not disrespect your child’s spouse and if you do then you have disrespected both of them and how do you expect to get respect back if you don’t show it? Sure, it is not always easy. Life isn’t easy so bite your tongue, forget about nagging, curb the urge of being judgmental, accept what you can’t change and avoid alienating your child’s spouse! And that goes to adult children too… heck… if you just could curb the urge to be judgmental many people would live much happier lives!
I have reading and studying a lot of cases of children being abused and neglected by their parents, I think they have every right to give those parents no respect and I don’t think any off us will be going to hell for putting our parents in their place as adults and I think we have every right to do so!
In the end there is NOT a correct answer, we can only go by our own individualism and support your spouse as an individual as well. I will end this by a few rules I try to abide by to my adult child and I wish every parent to adult children would abide by some sort of rules as well!
1. Your son or daughter has a new allegiance that you are NOT a part of. You will lose every time so butt out!
2. Respect their financial decisions unless the money comes from you! You may secretly question their choices but do NOT talk about it to them!
3. Include your in-law and children in “your” world.
4. Do not give unsolicited suggestions, You may ask, “Have you thought about doing it this way but don’t get offended if they ignore your suggestion!
5. Just plan and simple enjoy your role, enjoy the time you have with your child(ren), their spouse and grand children!
As far as do you have to honor your parents after you become an adult, well probably not! I think if you expect respect show respect!