A man in England wrote a letter to his three kids that some are either cheering or jeering, depending on what kind of parent you want to be. The letter, which starts with the words “Dear All Three,” goes into the father’s disappointment with his kids and how he and his wife are growing tired of watching their kids make one horrible decision after another.
Dear All Three
With last evening’s crop of whinges and tidings of more rotten news for which you seem to treat your mother like a cess-pit, I feel it is time to come off my perch.
It is obvious that none of you has the faintest notion of the bitter disappointment each of you has in your own way dished out to us. We are seeing the miserable death throes of the fourth of your collective marriages at the same time we see the advent of a fifth.
We are constantly regaled with chapter and verse of the happy, successful lives of the families of our friends and relatives and being asked of news of our own children and grandchildren. I wonder if you realise how we feel — we have nothing to say which reflects any credit on you or us. We don’t ask for your sympathy or understanding — Mum and I have been used to taking our own misfortunes on the chin, and making our own effort to bash our little paths through life without being a burden to others. Having done our best — probably misguidedly — to provide for our children, we naturally hoped to see them in turn take up their own banners and provide happy and stable homes for their own children.
The dad then goes on to tell his kids that his grandchildren are practically cursed by the parents they were given and that in addition to their inability to provide for themselves, his kids are even more disappointing because they don’t even have a desire to improve their own plights.
So we witness the introduction to this life of six beautiful children — soon to be seven — none of whose parents have had the maturity and sound judgment to make a reasonable fist at making essential threshold decisions. None of these decisions were made with any pretence to ask for our advice.
He also criticizes his kids for not asking his advice before making horrible decisions. He says that he wouldn’t care if it were not for his grand kids. He even describes his children’s underachievement as a “bad dream” that he and his wife have been forced to endure.
I can now tell you that I for one, and I sense Mum feels the same, have had enough of being forced to live through the never-ending bad dream of our children’s underachievement and domestic ineptitudes. I want to hear no more from any of you until, if you feel inclined, you have a success or an achievement or a REALISTIC plan for the support and happiness of your children to tell me about. I don’t want to see your mother burdened any more with your miserable woes — it’s not as if any of the advice she strives to give you has ever been listened to with good grace — far less acted upon. So I ask you to spare her further unhappiness. If you think I have been unfair in what I have said, by all means try to persuade me to change my mind. But you won’t do it by simply whingeing and saying you don’t like it. You’ll have to come up with meaty reasons to demolish my points and build a case for yourself. If that isn’t possible, or you simply can’t be bothered, then I rest my case.
I am bitterly, bitterly disappointed.
We at PurposefulParents.com are committed to tough love for kids, since tough love prepares you for a tough world, but was the father being too harsh? Also, when your kids go into the world and make bad decisions, is that also a reflection on your failings as a parent? Maybe this father is missing his own role in the creation of the very children that he seems so irritated by. But that’s just our opinion.