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Sometimes I Feel Left Out


Sometimes I feel so irrelevant. When my children gather at my house it seems that they would rather talk to each other, than ask about my life. They have such a tight bond as brothers and sisters that I often feel left out.

I am grateful that they enjoy each other’s company so very much, though I cannot help feeling on the outside some of the time. They completely leave me out of the conversation quite frequently.

I do not have dementia and I still work, so it is not as though I have nothing going on or that I am not out there in the world. With my husband gone I truly crave time with my children and grandchildren, but I am not sure the feeling is mutual.

Do you have any thoughts on how I can enjoy their visits now?

- Reader


First, congratulations on raising children that get along with each other. Not all families are so contented. While your dilemma is real, you are not experiencing and unusual situation.

Your children have more in common with each other than they do with you. It would seem as a parent that your bond would be stronger. The bond is likely strong, it is simply that you are always the parent, even when those children become adults.  Oftentimes the sibling bond is simply tighter. The children have nearness of age, growing up in the same time, and close proximity that they share in common. You lived in the same household, and yes, you are their mother, but you are of a different time. There are generational experiences that you did not live through at the same age and will not as easily relate to. Strong sibling bonds are a good thing.

My recommendation is that you do some watching and appreciating the tight bond that you fostered and that your children formed. Take pride in their relationships. Rather than attempting to compete with their shared history, create new experiences to share. Read current fiction, watch the latest shows, read the news use the internet, stay fit, and make some effort to be current. Being connected to friends and to your siblings will help you keep the feeling of separation between the generations in perspective.  

The next time you are all together, sit back and marvel for a bit at the good job you did raising those children. Once you have watched as long as you can, attempt to refocus the energy with a change of topic or game of cards to create a more inclusionary focus. There may be others in the group that are feeling a bit left out also, such as spouses or grandchildren.  Group activities that pull everyone in are a good way to keep some of the sibling antics to minimum. A little planning can go a long way to making your visits more enjoyable for all.


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