My brother and I often say to each other, “The best thing we could ever give our parents is our children.”

My parents derive so much joy from the grandkids.  They would bustle around happily, fussing over food and drink, and listen with big smiles at their grandkids’ lives. They – my parents – are absolutely besotted with their grandkids.

My son Kit took his new bike to visit them. Er, he actually left his bike at their house and went off for a date with a girl who lived near my parents’ house. My parents were absolutely delighted!

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My mum still talks mistily about the day Kit walked down her garden path in his uniform to bring her a big bunch of flowers.   28 years ago, Kit’s father walked down this very path to tell my parents that they grandson had been born that very morning at 7.28am at St Mary’s Hospital, Portsmouth.

And over the years, the grandchildren walked down this happy path to visit their beloved grandparents.

This is a meme from The Creative Child magazine:

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BUT you could have just the most beautiful home and your children will not come and visit, expect perhaps out of duty, once or twice a year.  I once visited a superficially perfect household but it was empty of warmth and there is always the mother’s harsh judgement of others, cruel words and unhappiness soaked into the walls. Everything was run to military precision in that house and it was cleaner than an operating theatre in a hospital.   It wasn’t a place you could walk through the front door without knocking and know that you will be welcomed with open arms.

And therein lies the crux.  As we grow older, we have to let go of the notion that we are always right and our children are wrong, mistaken, misguided. We have to stop lecturing them and stop trying to impose our views on them and telling them what they should do, why they are wrong and we are right. Because children come home to relax, to find respite and softness from their sometimes difficult life, not for lecture or judgement.

Amazingly, I am learning from my parents how to be softer and yes, less judgemental, towards my children whenever they come home. For example, my parents were totally relaxed about my son “sleeping over” at a date’s house and casually sauntering back a couple of days later!  They said nothing to him!

This cartoon by Tom Gauld in New Scientist sums it up nicely:

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Yes, the world is changing.

A friend of mine wrote poignantly about her son, “He’s our only surviving son and I don’t want to lose him because I was being a pigheaded, ‘I’m-always-right’ parent.”

Food for thought…..do you bash your kids’ heads in with your version of morality OR love them back to the path of goodness????