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AIBU for wishing my children were a bit more grateful or showed that they appreciate me?

(56 Posts)
PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 19:43:03

Two boys - aged 8 and 10. They say thank you when expected e.g. thank you for my dinner, please may I leave the table. But more often than not they need to be reminded. E.g. we go out for a fab day that I have organised for them with loads of fun had by all, and they don't say a word. I then say: Did you boys have a nice time? (hoping that they might say: Yes, thank you for taking us) But I tend to get a shrug and a grunt. If I ask 'Have you got anything to say?' I get a mumbled 'Thank you'.

But it's not really the thank you's. It is a general feeling that I am 100% taken for granted. A friend of mine posted a picture on Facebook recently of a note she had found in a note pad written by her young son that said: I LOVE MUMMY!!!!!!

I can't imagine my children ever doing that. Nor have they ever done anything like that. Not even writing a thoughtful card on my birthday. If they wrote anything, it would be: To mummy, Love xx - minimum effort or thought.

AIBU unreasonable for expecting any gratitude or at least a sense that my children see me as more than just the person who feeds and washes up after them? I know children can be ungrateful little beasts, but it saddens me that my children seem so unable to show me that they love me (even though I am pretty sure they do).

Incidentally, I tell them I love them, cover them in kisses and cuddles, spend hours playing games with them, have good conversations with them etc. And if they do ever do anything thoughtful, I thank them and show my gratitude. So it's not like I'm not demonstrating how to show love and appreciation.

Any suggestions on either how to cope with these sad feelings or how to get them to express their love/gratitude a little more.

AngelsLieToKeepControl Fri 22-Nov-13 19:48:00

They spend hours playing games with you too, and presumably they are on the other side of the good conversations you have, and they say thank you when you cook and you have said they do thoughtful things from time to time.

What more do you want? confused

pianodoodle Fri 22-Nov-13 19:51:21

So they must do some thoughtful things then smile

I really don't remember being that age and mine are still very young so I don't know.

They love you.

You can't force affection as and when you think it's appropriate - as long as they are mannerly etc... that's the main thing for now smile

PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 19:57:24

I guess that is what I am asking:
kids talking to you, being willing to play games with you (even though I don't really want to play them but am doing it for their benefit and spend most of the time breaking up fights) and occasionally (very occasionally) do the odd thoughtful thing - is that it? Is that all that is reasonable to expect from a child?

Am I wrong to hope that my children could just come up to me, give me a cuddle and say: I love you mum. Or an occasional card that says: You're the best mum because...


SeeJaneWin Fri 22-Nov-13 19:58:41

It all sounds a bit formal. I would focus on manners outside of the immediate family.

It reminds me of a friend growing up. Her Grandmother asked "did I hear thank-you?" Friend: "no". OMG the consequences.

MortifiedAnyFuckerAdams Fri 22-Nov-13 19:59:47

just get a big bit of paper with "Mums Favourite" across the top and their pictures blu tac'd to the wall. Tell them whoever your favourote is will get their pic.on the wall

just a tiny bit serious

NewtRipley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:00:25

Are you a SAHM?

I became more appreciated when it became crystal clear that my only function was not to clean and look after everyone. I was a SAHM for 10 years and whilst I support anyone who chooses that, I do think it's harder work convincing people you don't exist solely for them.

But, despite what I've said above, their job isn't to make you happy. They will be grateful later. Children are, by their nature, egocentric. We are their buffer against the rest of the world.

PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 20:00:34

By thoughtful thing, here is an example:

This week I had a bad morning one day due to a stressful thing I had on that day. I explained the issue to the boys and said that I really needed their help in getting ready without me having to shout and nag. One of them then duly did what he was meant to do (i.e. get dressed, clean teeth etc) without me having to nag. The other didn't. But for the one that did, I told him how much I appreciated him helping me and how thoughtful that was.

So when I say thoughtful, I don't mean them spontaneously doing something for me, just doing something I ask without battling me!

AngelsLieToKeepControl Fri 22-Nov-13 20:00:39

They are showing they love you by spending time with you though.

Cards and the like will come as they get older.

NewtRipley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:01:10

Also, are you loved and appreciated elsewhere?

ApocalypseThen Fri 22-Nov-13 20:02:25

I think it'd be lovely and all but I think they're too young to understand that you work hard for them and they should appreciate it. I know, since becoming a granny, my mother gets (almost!) tearful gratitude from her sons who constantly say they had literally no idea what kids put their parents through, and what a parent a love is.

Keep on going. It'll come but kids are all about their wants and needs, but no notion of yours.

NewtRipley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:03:01

X pst

I also have 2 boys. The older (13) is more attuned to me and is thoughtful - but then I don't want to worry him.

Vivacia Fri 22-Nov-13 20:03:52

If you think that's a lack of appreciation, wait until they hit their teens.

I want my kids to mind their manners, but I want them to grow up with not thinking that their parents' love and kindness and consideration is anything other than their due. I grew up constantly being told how lucky I was to be fed and to have a roof our my head. I don't want that for my kids. To be honest, I feel their happiness is gratitude enough if I make the effort to take them for a picnic, for example.

Are you still with their father? Is he expressing his gratitude to you and earning your trust and respect?

ApocalypseThen Fri 22-Nov-13 20:04:17

What a parent's love is, obviously. Stupid autocorrect.

Meow75 Fri 22-Nov-13 20:04:36

I didn't have that sort of relationship with my mum - the one that you would like with your children - and I regret it massively now because she died when I was 22 years old, just 13 days after marrying DH.

BUT ... I also would have been quite embarrassed if my mum had been like that. I don't remember saying thank you for anything like days out, family holidays and things like that, nor did we hug and kiss much or tell each other how we felt.

That's not to say that she wasn't expressive with love ... but it was all directed towards my dad. And that felt right to me, married adults telling each other they love each other, but not parents to kids.

Not any sort of solution for you, but just my take on things.grin

Have thanks and wine cause it's Friday!!!

NewtRipley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:04:46

re: your example - you asked and one of them did what you asked. The younger one is probably just too young.

PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 20:07:12

I am currently a SAHM - fulltime SAHM for the last two years. Before that ran my own business. Perhaps that's why I feel like this: if this is my 'job' I get not 'performance appraisals' smile - hence the reason I feel like I'm failing.

It's just that I see my friends and their kids and they seem so much more loving and appreciative and concerned and thoughtful about their mums - whereas as my boys, it's all about them! Which I guess is what kids are like. But it still makes me feel sad.

PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 20:07:59

Newtripley - it was the younger one that did it. Of the two, he is more loving and thoughtful.

NewtRipley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:09:37

I wonder if you feel a bit down, and therefore notice the negative things.

Also, when you are down, children are (perversly - to us), not extra loving. In fact, it worries them and they can be more distant.

I might not be right about this but I am wondering if this could be part of it.

iHateMrTumble Fri 22-Nov-13 20:10:12

Who cares that some other kid wrote a note in a book, if that was everyday life for her kid it wouldn't be pasted to her fb.
Your dc's are perfectly normal. smile

NewtRipley Fri 22-Nov-13 20:12:08

I think you'd feel better if you had some structure and some thanks. That's only human and as you say, you do get that in a job outside the home. It's one of the hard things about being a SAHM, IME.

Maybe a Voluntary job?

PTFsWife Fri 22-Nov-13 20:12:36

Vivacia: Are you still with their father? Is he expressing his gratitude to you and earning your trust and respect? - yes and yes. He is trying hard. And he sets a good example in terms of trying to say thank you and encouraging the boys to do the same. But good point re their happiness being their gratitude. I guess perhaps it's because they never seem happy with what they have - they always want more. Whatever they have doesn't seem enough. In general I think they are happy. But it's hard to tell!

And NewtRipley - perhaps you're right. I have been down. Perhaps they pick up on that

gamerchick Fri 22-Nov-13 20:12:57

I actually winced at the post about explaining your hard day to your kids. I'm not sure why.. I'll have a think.

AngelsLieToKeepControl Fri 22-Nov-13 20:13:42

I wouldn't take into account what your friends say or put on FB, people never say or write the shitty bits, only the bits that make their lives look perfect.

Not quite the same situation as you but my step sons barely spoke to me in their teenage years, I persevered and spent lots of time with them (when they let me) texted and called often, and now they are in their 20s I get flowers and cards on my birthday and Mothers day and they actually voluntarily visit and call.

Vivacia Fri 22-Nov-13 20:15:48

Glad to hear that things are going well with your husband. I asked because I wondered if you were perhaps looking for gratitude and appreciation. I really don't think you should be looking to your children for this. As someone's said your happiness should not be their responsibility.

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