"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!

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

  1. I have lost two adult sons, one at age 32 in 2001 and the other, at age 35, in 2008. Recently, my daughter who is the youngest of my three children, now age 38, has shut me completely out of her life and will not allow any contact from me with her and my four year old grandson. She has done this two times prior to this one but I believe she is determined to never see me again. I have tried very hard throughout her life to be very supportive and encouraging. I know she is very hurt and angry with me. But I feel like I am always bending over backwards to try to get along with her. She seems to be angry a lot of the time, and with others, as well. I have tried so hard to be a good mother and grandmother and I know I have made mistakes. Now i feel like I have lost all of my children and it hurts deeply. I just don’t think I can continually appease my daughter in order to have a relationship with her. My sons never acted this way towards me. They may have been angry with me at times, but they were always respectful and kind to me. They never blamed me for anything. My daughter blames me for almost everything. And she seems so filled with rage. I just can’t let this destroy my life. I am determined to have a good life in spite of this.

  2. Oh my my ….. I’m sitting here inside on a beautiful sunny day reading all these posts. Putting “My 16 yr. old is not speaking to me” into the search box led me to this (depressing) thread. I am very alone in raising her and it has always just bean the two of us living together, as she has no father, siblings, cousins, or grandparents. I only HOPE we make it through this rough spot to become close again…….. as so many of you have written, it doesn’t seam to be a given. I wish you all the best ….. the parents and the adult children ! Try to forgive and let go without cutting each other out of your hearts. Both of my parents died when I was 26. That was ten years before I decided to become a parent…. even though I was single. I’m almost 53 now and my daughter only has one more year of high school……. Really hope she doesn’t cut me out of her life….. I love her so much and will always love her even if she does.

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