Posted by Tim Stobbs on October 23, 2007
Yesterday we covered your relationship with your spouse. Now I’m going to talk about your relationship to your children.
You will likely find that during raising your children that they say some of the oddest things. It’s like they forget about reality for a split second and try to ask for the moon (or in my son’s case reading Good Night Moon for the 3rd time in a row). In retirement you might find them doing a little relapse even if they have then own kids.
To demonstrate my point I will provide a story. I know one person who retired a few years back who was approached by one of her grown children looking for someone to look after the grandchildren. Up to this point the grandchildren had been looked after by the other grandparents, but they were now moving so the parents turned to the our retiree for help. The retiree agreed to temporary give them a hand while they looked for childcare. The parents couldn’t understand why they grandmother didn’t want to look after the grandkids permanently.
Um, excuse me did you just lose your brain or something? To me the answer was obvious, but the retiree had to explain to the grown kid “I’ve raised you and your siblings. I’m done with that now. I just want to be Grandma, not their primary caregiver.”
So often retirees have to put their grown kids back in their place by explaining to the: “Listen I’ve saved and worked my entire life to get to my retirement. I’m not going to start doing what you would like me to do just because you ask. I will try to help you out when I can, but you have to understand sometimes I won’t be able to.” I rather doubt they would be that blunt about it, but you get the idea. It’s time to be selfish.
Feel free to help the kids as much as you want, but don’t feel obligated to do it. You are retired now and you are beyond the realm of obligation. So learn to ignore those guilt trips and do want works the best for you. After all, you are still their parent.