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2024-04-18 01:26:53
Ask Sahaj: I don’t want kids. Should I have them to make my parents happy? - Democratic Voice USA
Ask Sahaj: I don’t want kids. Should I have them to make my parents happy?

Dear Sahaj: Do you have advice on how to navigate a discussion with immigrant parents who want grandchildren even though you don’t want to have kids? I feel stuck between wanting to please them and make them happy but sacrificing my body and happiness to do so. I feel bad about taking away their opportunity for grandchildren but I really don’t want kids.

Stuck: While you are explicitly saying you don’t want kids, I also hear you rationalize that you could maybe still do it even though it will involve sacrificing your body and happiness. It’s one thing to make a lower stakes choice and compromise — like how often you talk, or when you visit — to make your parents happy. It’s another thing to make a decision that will impact the rest of your life because you can’t fathom letting them down. That’s the bigger issue here, and what is ultimately holding you back from being able to even initiate a conversation with them.

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Let’s say you do decide to have kids simply because you can’t stand making your parents unhappy. What happens next? Will your relationship with them be peaceful? Will your kids really be the thing that makes them happy all the time? What happens if your parents don’t help, or aren’t involved in ways you need, or don’t like the way you are raising your kid? Or worse, what happens when they are no longer here?

The thought of disappointing them is so painful that you struggle to differentiate your own sense of self or needs from theirs. Maybe you feel like you owe them, or maybe they have always expected you to do what they want. Whatever it is, it’s incredibly difficult for you — and honestly, many children of immigrants — to see yourself outside of your role as your parent’s child.

Follow this authorSahaj Kaur Kohli

The only way to the other side of this issue is through a tough conversation. You want to be direct and explicit with your parents so they don’t hold out hope or misunderstand where you stand on this decision. This may sound like, “I know how badly you want grandkids. I wish I wanted kids so I could give that to you, but I don’t and I’m not going to change my mind about it.” You can even name your anxiety and worry by saying, “I feel worried that I am letting you down, but this is not something I want for myself.”

I would hope your parents could eventually look past your choice to go “against” something they want. But you can’t manage how they handle this. Instead, you can manage how you take care of yourself. And you can show up in your relationship with them as your true self — not as someone who lives to make them happy.

Dear Sahaj: I have a couple of friends who are also connected on social media. I have noticed that they have added quite a number of contacts to their network from my own network. They now regularly visit, have dinner with, and even make travel plans with a couple of my friends, without giving me so much as an invitation. I call this behavior “friend harvesting.” To me, this activity is rude and opportunistic. I feel used. How would you advise a person to handle this sort of situation?

— Friend Harvesting Victim

Friend Harvesting Victim: You feel like your friends used you to get close to each other. I would caution you not to draw conclusions until you interrogate these beliefs deeper. Is it possible that there are other factors at play leading to your friends hanging out without you? Maybe they live closer to each other, or all have kids, or like the same band? Maybe it’s one person making all the plans?

While feeling left out of a group situation can be painful, I urge you to focus on your individual friendships with the people in question. What is the history of these personal friendships and how are they usually nurtured? Do you feel secure in these relationships otherwise? Or are you noticing that they are uninterested in spending time — or being in contact — with you at all now that they have each other? Which of these friendships are close, active friendships versus more superficial, passive friendships? The former are often sustained through effort, respect and quality time. This may help you clarify who you are hurt by and what you need.

Once you get clarity, you can broach this with your friends one at a time and say, “I have noticed that we don’t hang out as much anymore. I miss you and wanted to check in. Did I do something to upset you?” This will help you initiate a reconnection versus continuing to disconnect because you are hurt.

If you feel like this is a more general pattern, you may want to name it. This may sound like, “I miss hanging out with you. I‘ve noticed I haven’t been invited the last few times you and [other friend’s name] hung out. I just wanted to have a conversation about it because I have felt hurt by this.” This allows your friend to respond and for you to have an open and mutual conversation about your friendship, while getting more information on where your friend is coming from.

You can even start being proactive and plan a group hangout so it feels less like you are waiting to be invited. After all, you have responsibility in your relationships, too. While it makes sense that you feel sensitive about these friends hanging out without you, remember that you have agency to be vulnerable, be curious about why, share how you are feeling and take action.

Source link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/advice/2024/02/29/ask-sahaj-having-kids-for-parents-approval/

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