Doper parents: Could your child ever make you stop loving him or her?

By committing some heinous crime, by wishing you dead, spitting in your face, wearing the colors of some vile sports team, etc. What say you?

Oh fuck… That’s tough, and almost impossible to answer, and I question your reasons and motives.

My kids are 8 and 10; I love them more than oxygen.

Recently I have read about a couple of murders in my community. Parents are standing by their “kids.” Male adults, in their 20s. What would my feelings be? I’d like to say that I’d hate and disown the bastard, but that might not be possible.

Let’s just say that I hope it never come to this choice: otherwise my own sanity and lifespan might come into play.

My children can hurt me only because I love them.

They were supposed to be perfect, and arrived nearly so: but I was bound to fail them. Their flaws hurt me because they got them from who else but me, and each new fault is an injury I have done to them via my own weaknesses and pettiness and cruelties and bad examples. I cannot feel otherwise.

The flaws of the father spur free will in the son, and the weird mix of man and angel and demon and plain clay roils and bubbles and finds a new destiny in each of us, and no combination of this volatile formula is complete until the clay is all that is left. My children are their own people, but still…

I must always forgive my children, for otherwise I have no path to claiming forgiveness for myself.

Simply put, no.

For me the two are not mutually exclusive; I will love my children no matter what they do. This does not mean I will stand by them no matter what they do. If I knew them to have murdered somebody I would certainly not support them. However, I would still love them.

In all honesty that was one of my biggest fears before becoming a parent - that my children could adopt ways of thinking which I found anathema. For instance they could be racists, or elitists or wife beaters… whatever, something I couldn’t condone.

I had this feeling from my own childhood - I felt totally at odds with my parents view of the world. In 1964 when the then Cassius Clay version of Muhammad Ali won the Heavyweight title I was thrilled. I followed boxing as best you could in those days and knew that Liston was a blot on the sport and that Clay was a shining light for the future. And my parents were offended by his victory…shit they didn’t even follow boxing, they just hated the upstart young black guy. And I realized then that we had little in common. I was 11.

So I used to worry. If I had developed so different to my parents how may my children end up. As it happens my sons are much like me with the same sort of humanist philosophy but I don’t know how I would have coped had either become a neo-nazi.

And I see it all the time in families. Everyone pays lip service to the principle of loving your “own blood” while clearly unhappy with the beliefs and behaviours of certain family members. Surely at some point blind unreasoning loyalty based on any association becomes questionable.
My what a gloomy post.

I agree that the whole “they are blood, stick by them no matter what” way of thinking is warped but I don’t associate loyalty with love.

If one of my children should do something horrible or engage in something that I find despicable I may not be loyal. I could shun them and remove them from my life if necessary but the love I have for them would never fade.

The love I have for my children is unconditional. How I react to what they have done is not.

That’s where I am.

Stop loving them? No.

Stop liking them? Sure.

What Qadgop said. Although it would really take quite a lot for me to stop liking them, even.

Funny this topic should come up at this moment…just this morning I was looking through a box of old photos and tried to pinpoint the moment my children changed from the sweet, eager children, full of hope and promise, into the hostile, addicted, anti-everything slackers that they became in their teen years. But despite all they put me through, I have never stopped loving them. My daughter has come through the other side and seems to be finally on the right path; my son has a ways to go yet…but I still love him. If he turned to a life of crime, I would expect him to be held responsible for his actions. If he became a murdering racist…I’d grieve for the rest of my life, and hope that he could change again…but I’d always love him. Like him, want to be around him…no. Want him to pay for his crimes…of course. But I’d still, always, love him.

Exactly. My mother often said that very thing, “I will always love you, but right now I don’t like you very much because you [insert transgression here].”

That’s the weird thing about parental love - I sometimes think it may truly be the only unconditional love out there. Maybe that’s why so many of us marry someone like our parents - it’s the closet substitute we can find for that unconditional love. (Please note I’m not saying that ALL parents unconditionally love their kids. But some of them do.)

But it’s not unconditional like or unconditional support. If my child made poor decisions which resulted in putting himself or others in danger (and he wasn’t interested in rehabilitation), I would disassociate from him; I would cut him out of my life, but it would hurt like hell and I’d still love him and grieve for the person he used to be. And I think I’d always hold out hope for reformation, whereas someone who wasn’t my kid would be easier to write off. Because I know him, who he is, now. Becoming evil would be such a drastic personality shift that I’d always be sure that somewhere, deep inside, the wonderful person I know now is still there.

Hard to say. Was gonna quip that perhaps voting Republican would do it but then I realized that my own left-leanings (in a wholly and sincerely Republican family) didn’t cause my parents to reject me so perhaps not ;).

I could see my children treating me so badly that I had to cut them out of my life because the relationship became so toxic. My brother did that to my parents (he behaved badly to them, that is). though my mother always kept the door open long, long after she should have shut it for good; when he decided he wanted parents again she at least welcomed him back. Whether that was “love” on her part, or simply a very strong sense of duty (quite possible), I don’t know.

I think, all in all, I have to agree with the poster who said they could stop liking but not stop loving. Then again, I don’t see signs of incipient parent-abuse in them the way I saw it in my brother as we were growing up.

My oldest son is 42 years old. He has broken my heart in so many different ways I could spend all day listing them. But the worst is that he has broken his childrens’ hearts.

My husband and I are now the legal guardians of 2 of his children. We’ve had them for almost 9 years. They are now our children and he - he is not.

It took many years of sorrow and grief, but finally I have divorced myself from him. I wish him well, but I will not open my heart to him again. At some level, I still “love” him, but the best way for me to love him is to be remote and never allow him to lean on me again. Ever.

Of all the many pains we must endure in this life, there is no pain like that of a troublesome child.

Huh? It’s just a topic for discussion. This is the Straight Dope, where we do that sort of thing. Why would you question my reasons and motives? :confused: