It can happen: We love our children but sometimes, by the time they're adults, they may have grown into people we don't like very much. We may find their choice of life style disappointing. dislike the way they treat their siblings or--and this is especially divisive today--find their present political outlook wrongheaded, obnoxious and uncaring.
This was at the heart of a letter to Carolyn Hax in which a mother wrote that she didn't want to end her relationship with her daughter but that "it is so painful to recognize that she is not someone I would choose to have in my life if we were not related." What. she wondered, could she do to keep up a relationship with her daughter? She felt flummoxed by her deep disappointment in her child. To her credit, she kept her feelings to herself--"as a person separate from me, I respect her having her own opinions"--but was dismayed by her daughters unwillingness to try to understand others' circumstances and disadvantages. How could she have conversations with her child "without feeling like a hypocrite or fraud."
Hax's first words of wisdom were a reassurance: The mom's reckoning is one more people will identify with than not.
The next bit of advice was a dollop of brain science so the mom could better understand her child. To wit, we are all wired differently.
Finally a practical suggestion: Find an area of interest that you share--be it cooking, baseball, gardening, antiquing, working out.
Activity, Hax reminds us,, can be extremely effective at nurturing bonds and crowding opinions out--a bridge over today's troubled waters. It can work even when we like our child but have areas of disagreement, want to avoid a hot-spot of the moment or are just having trouble communicating.