How to Cope With the Generation Gap

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Mothers: You love 'em, you hate 'em. Worse yet is when you’re one of them yourself, and know how tempting it is to stick your nose into your kids’ business, handing out unsolicited motherly advice. Even if you’re well past the half-century mark, and maybe even a grandmother, your own mama can still press your buttons. She is the master at this. You’re still her little girl and need a talking to. Here are some suggestions on how to relax and not go ballistic when your well-intending mother annoys you to extremes.

Things You'll Need

  • Patience, patience, patience!
  • A good sense of humor

Don't Take the Bait

  • Breathe. Count to 10. Realize going in that your mother is probably going to talk to you as if you’re 16 and don’t have a lick of sense.

  • Smile and change the subject if it’s veering off in the wrong direction. Don’t engage in a battle. You won’t win (or so history decrees), and you’ll just end up getting riled and miffed. Life is too short for that.

  • Be discreet and selective regarding what information you share. Don’t tell her everything. She doesn’t need to know all of the rotten things that your children have gotten into because you just KNOW that she’s going to say, “And what are YOU going to do about that, Missy?” (Wave your magic wand and fix it because you’re the mother, that’s what!) At that point, you become defensive, and the fight is on. You know you can’t fix it and wish she hadn’t implied that it was your motherly responsibility to do so. In her eyes, you’ve failed again.

  • Don’t alarm her. If she’s old --and she is if her daughter is past the half-century mark -- she is probably not in top form and may be in poor health. Don’t needlessly provoke her. She can’t do anything to help you out of your quandary. Grow up and deal with it. Your days of needing mama intervention are long over. If you lay it on her, she’s going to sit around her house, wringing her hands, fretting and getting all worked up. What’s the point in that? It certainly doesn’t solve the problem.

  • Tease her. Lighten up. There is a reason we have a sense of humor.

  • Realize that your time with your mother is limited. Don’t screw it up or waste it fighting over silly stuff. Don’t get in a nasty contretemps and say things that you’ll regret. Time is not on your side. You may not get the chance to apologize.

  • Realize that she means well. Mothers generally do. They just don’t know when to shut up.

  • Learn from your mother’s behavior and don’t subject your children to the same scenarios.

Tips & Warnings

  • Mothers and daughters are sometimes a hazardous combination.

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