guilty mum : away too long?

Old Nov 30th, 2004, 04:10 AM
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From: "The Nurture Assumption: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do." by Judith Rich Harris

Chapter 13: Dysfunctional Families and Problem Kids: Why Pop Psychology Blames Mom and Dad

"Memory is not the accurate recording device we like to think it is. Depending on how we feel when we are doing the remembering, we pull out happy memories or sad ones from the storeroom, or neutral ones that we colour to fit our mood. Depressed people are more likely to remember that their parents weren't good to them. When they stop being depressed, their memories of their parents improve. The childhood memories of identical twins are surprisingly similar, even those who were reared in different homes. There are genetic influences on happiness, too...."

"....Relationships matter a lot to us; parents are, without a doubt, important people in our lives. We care what they think of us. But that doesn't mean we are putty in their hands. The fact that the patient feels strong emotions when she thinks about her parents is not evidence that they are responsible for whatever's wrong with her.." [* addendum added by me: or what's good or successful about people who don't wind up patients *]

What I take from this, kaz11, is that as far as your kids are concerned, it might not matter what you decide, still less might it matter what any one of us thinks. That might be the scariest thought of all.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Old Nov 30th, 2004, 04:44 AM
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RE: "I'm afraid that the kids like that who I went to school with were the ones who got bullied"

Way off topic, but cannot let comments like these slide...

Bullying is NOT the fault of the victim. Bullying is the fault of the Bully, the Bully's ambivilent parents, and the school's negligent administration.

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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 05:46 AM
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Tallulah, you don't get to choose the kinds of kids you have. They come the way they are. Some are just more clingy than others, nothing the parents can do about that. Ignoring their needs to "toughen them up" usually makes the situation worse.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 08:25 AM
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Wow--maybe we can get a group rate on "virtual" counseling.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 02:06 PM
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In reading your original post, as well as many of the more thoughtful answers, it seems to me that in your case the only thing that will make you happy is some kind of compromise. I know what you mean about desperatley wanting to go to Europe. To put it off several years will make you miserable and doesn't seem like a good option. On the other hand, leaving your children for four weeks is is clearly distressing to you. I know I could never have left my kids that age for that long. Not only would it have been hard on them, but also on the grandparents, and mostly, it would have been awful for me. I would have missed them too much, worried too much, etc to have a good time. Sure some kids can do fine (as a child I spent a month each summer with my grandparents and it was a highlight of my childhood, but my own kids would not have done as well - it all depends on the specific kids, specific grandparents, etc.) But the fact that it worries you enough to ask the question in the first place shows that it would not be a perfect situation for your family.

Therefore, it seems like you should compromise. Why can't you go for say three weeks (still a plenty long trip to make the expense and time of the flight worth it) and take the kids with you. The money you save on not having that 4th week will help off set having the kids with you. It won't cost twice as much to take the kids with you. There are plenty of quad rooms for not much more than doubles, and the kids have to eat whether they are at home or on a trip. How are you getting around? If you rent a car, having the kids won't add anything. Your trip will be different with the kids, but at least you won't be missing them, worrying about them - and while they may not remember everything once they grow up, you'll be surprised how much they do remember - and even if THEY don't remember YOU will.

Let us know what you decide.
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 04:31 PM
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Hi again everyone!
I sat down with my husband last night and we discussed what type of trip we both had in mind. In the end we thought since we had so many destinations we wanted to go to, requiring lots of travelling, and being our first trip to europe, we'd go on our own. We need some 'us' time as well.

I was thinking that if we went first and got a feel for different places, we could be more prepared for when we do take the kids over in a couple of years.

I know there is a glut of information on this forum about what to expect in different countries, and how to travel with children, but I think reading about it and experiencing it firsthand will be quite different. We don't even know what kind of international travellers we are going to be.We'd like to find that out first before we throw the kids into the mix.

My parents live in the same town, and my husband's parents will come and stay in our house so the kids can continue with their regular routines and schooling.

Their cousins all live within half an hours drive, and they often see them of a weekend.

Both kids are very happy,independent and non clingy, though night time is usually when they miss us the most.

We also have a business trip to New Zealand that I somehow forgot about.It's for a week in march, so this may be a good test for us all.

If 4 weeks next year goes as fast as this last month has, they won't even know we've gone(hopefully).

I'll keep throwing this all around in my head, and hopefully after march I'll have a better idea of how we all will cope.

kswl: thankyou. you gave me the laugh I've been needing.

thanks again

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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 06:48 PM
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Okay, now my reply makes no sense. There was a post that accused me of being overindulgent that's now gone. I should know better than to feed the trolls....
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Old Nov 30th, 2004, 07:03 PM
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LOL, Monica, there should be a sign on here somewhere saying "Please do not feed the trolls"!!!
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Old Dec 1st, 2004, 03:35 AM
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I think your kids will be fine. Go and have a great time! I know very well what it's like to have that burning travel bug. However, I've found that the more I go, the more I want to go!

Old Dec 1st, 2004, 07:01 AM
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I discussed this thread with my son last night since he was separated from us for multiple weeks the summer of first grade when he was 6.

The circumstances were different. My thoughtful and generous cousin asked if she could care for my son when I was released from the hospital so I could rest and my husband would not miss more work.

The cousin was an hour flight away, a 7 hour drive if an emergency 'reunion' would be necessary. My son was with relatives in my home town, with people that he knew, loved and enjoyed, and fully aware that he could come home anytime.

His experiences were varied and well coordinated so he would not feel shifted around. He vacationed with my cousin's extended family at a beach house for 2 weeks. My cousin's (hometown)house was his home base with a weekend visit with his same age cousins, aunt & uncle and another with his Grandmother and the cousins. In all he was gone about 6 weeks.

We spoke every evening and he would tell us excitedly what he had done. I'll spare you the details. He did a lot and had a great time! One night though, after he said he was OK he retracted the comment and admittted he had cried the night before and needed to be with us, which happened quickly. Overall, it was good for all.

However, a few years later he admitted a few things years worth noting if you proceed with your plan.

My son was well adjusted, sensitive and smart to the degree that with the exception of the final admittance, he hid his rare separation pain by closing a bathroom door and crying privately. He didn't want the adults to feel bad.

Also, in his being indulged, he got to watch some late night TV, mostly cable cartoons and an old movie (nothing inappropriatewhich included a reference to Santa Claus. He understood the context so his Christmas fantasy and reality collided at age 6. He told us about it years later and said he played along as to not to spoil our excitement for him yet finding out the way he did 'broke his heart'.

My suggestions if you choose to separate are keep things special but routine, including food. Don't try to overcompensate. Let them know that sad feelings will happen and should be expressed as they are felt.

Honestly, based on his experience, my son thought 4 weeks was too long for your childrens'ages. Just remind yourself that every parent's decision is uniquely personal; only they know their relationships and circumstances. Trust your instinct. I commend you for being so open to everyone's opinions. Good luck with your decision.

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Old May 8th, 2008, 08:51 PM
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I know this post is old, but I wanted to say thankyou to everyone who gave me their honest opinions,either for or against travelling without the kids.

My husband and myself have been on our 3 week European trip (April/May 2007 London,Dublin,Venice,Berlin then a week in Paris).
Being that it was our 10th wedding anniversary/honeymoon(but that's another story), we decided to go on our own.

The kids(8 and 6 at the time) stayed with their grandparents and had a wonderful time. We phoned,emailed or skyped them daily, and I had made them journals with information and games for all the places and countries we were going to so they knew exactly where we were and what time it was there and what language we were trying to speak.

In hindsight, I am glad they didn't come on this trip as we felt quite rushed going from airport to airport every 3 days. That said I'm sure we'd have managed all the travelling with the kids if they had come with us.

All in all, my husband and I had a wonderful time together, and although the kids had a wonderful time with their family and learnt a lot about Europe as well, they have asked that we not go away for that long again without them. We also now know what to expect next time when we go back with the kids(luckily my husband caught the travel bug). We'll tackle Europe at a slightly slower pace, and as a family (sans babysitter of course)hopefully in 2 years time.

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Old May 9th, 2008, 02:22 AM
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We don't get many threads like this nowadays.

(When posts are personal these days, they're usually trivial: "My dear husband wants to wear shorts: should I let him?" yadda, yadda.)

And what a lot of bollocks many of those respondents posted.

I love my post of Nov 29 7 pm -- I meant it then and still endorse it today.

Glad you had a nice trip.
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Old May 9th, 2008, 03:01 AM
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i dont think europe is a place for my kids
we set a cracking pace and like to linger at the pretty spots which would drive our kids nuts
so we compromise
we take them on two big holidays locally and then try to travel o/s by ourselves when we can
i know about the guilt but your life is your journey too and i know from experience: you dont leave these things for later
'later' may not come
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Old May 10th, 2008, 08:16 AM
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Yikes, looking back, I'm sorry my post was so harsh. Glad you had a great trip, and hope you enjoy your family trip later.
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Old Jun 10th, 2008, 07:14 AM
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Kaz, have just seen this thread pop up again. Am so pleased that the trip worked out well for you. Your memories from the trip will last a lifetime and I have no doubt that you and your children will be able to do a trip to Europe as a family sometime in the future which will provide treasured memories for all of you as well.
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