"Children Who Break Your Heart": A Reader Asks for Your Advice

At the Legacy Project, we’ve asked over 1200 of the oldest and wisest Americans for their advice about how to solve life’s problems. In this post we ask: How do you deal with children who break your heart? For advice on this topic and much more, see the bestselling book 30 Lessons for Living: Tried and True Advice from the Wisest Americans.

In an earlier post, one of the Legacy Project elders shared her mixed feelings about having children. Loraine,89 , talked about accepting both the joy and the pain children can bring. She stated: “If you don’t have children now, when you have them you will have these moments.  When you look at them and your heart – it’s like your heart takes all the pain and all the love for them that you have.”

We just received a comment on that post from one of our readers, who would like your advice:

What about when your children are disappointments? I would like to hear how parents handle situations when their most loved children are cause for a broken heart? Comments please!

We asked some experts for their advice, which you can find here.

Can you help? Does anyone have advice for overcoming the heartbreak children can sometimes cause? Please share your comments!

255 thoughts on “"Children Who Break Your Heart": A Reader Asks for Your Advice


  2. Christine my situation is so similar. I’ve brought up my 22 year old son by myself and we’ve always been close. He’s had girlfriends before but we remained close. Now he has taken up with a 30 year old woman who acts like a child, is used to getting her own way, constantly messages him. He never used to smoke, now he does. Plus this woman spends much mor money than she earns, is always going to cocktail and champagne bars. My son has changed so much since he has been with her. When he comes home he treats me like dirt, and only ever texts when he wants something. He rarely reads the texts I send him, much less responds. It is breaking my heart and I don’t know what to do about it

  3. My heart breaks i been a wonderful mom to all my children but for some reason my oldest just has such hatred for me but he is so closer to his grandmother which is my mother i don’t know what I done to get treated in this area my heart shreds such tears if you can give me something to change please do so. Thanks!

  4. My daughter ran away a bunch of times as a teen, called cps on me twice, just for laughs-I have letter of apology from cps and although was investigated twice. Child Protective Services found absolutely nothing but a spoiled mean teen. oh and the best was when she was 11 and a pre-teen calling to report me to cps because a)she could and thought I deserved it and 2) wanted to know what foster care was like. She had friends driving over to my home telling me that they would adopt her. She says the most vile, hateful, untrue things about me and has hit me, run at me, and threated to harm me.
    She took off for good the day before I was to have major high risk surgery and did not bother to stick around to help me when I was able to get out of the hospital, instead she hitchhiked up to nyc with her b/f to do heroin. She than rode trains around and did drugs, ended up in jail, all kinds of garbage, but would never call or check to see if I was alright.
    I worked like a dog for her, her whole life, put her in private schools (that took 2 jobs) and made sure she had EVERYTHING, I wanted to have at least what I had, and she had much more. She skipped all of high school and snuck off to get high and have sex at her boy friends house, she thought it was funny when I had to miss work to get called to her school because she stopped going, or had to pick her up from juvenile detention.
    She has never worked a day in her life, she gets high, and now I find out she is an “escort” on Craig’s list for $ to get high. She drags around her 2 1/2 y/o who I watched for a few weeks, but it made her jealous because he was happy with me, and was having fun. She makes a point of telling anyone who pisses her off they will never see him again, this she has done twice to me.
    She had drained me constantly from what little money I have, she takes food from my home and leaves me with nothing, she does not care one bit if I am hurt or need help, she is a total user.
    She could not be nastier to me, except when she wants something, I am disabled and I have a case coming up, she expects a down payment or 2 years for rent and lots of cash, I would be happy to help, but with all that has gone on, I think I would be her “patsy” again and she would make sure I would get stuck paying all her bills since she is too good to work a job, well except the sex for money for drugs thing.
    I love my grandson but she has kept him from me yet again, my father died in Jan, and the day we did his ashes she didn’t go, she left looking for drugs instead. She is covered in tattoos and dresses in skimpy, I don’t even know what to call this look, thigh high socks and tiny dresses etc. I am so angry I cannot even sleep.

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