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Old December 16th, 2012, 12:38 AM
sueanna sueanna is offline
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Question Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

I've heard from people that their parents felt this way when they either got married or moved with a significant other. To me, no one can take way someone's child (unless they manipulate someone into cutting off their family). Plus, it's the adult child's choice to go be with someone. And I'm sure these particular parents would never admit to this, but this attitude reeks of self-centeredness and the expectation that children are supposed to stay within stone's throw of their parents, or to stay single all together. I personally don't believe in having children for the parents' benefit, but that is what this sounds like.

Has anyone here ever said that so-and-so "took my kid away"? I would like to hear your side of this. Thanks.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

I'm with you, sueanna. No one can take an adult child away from their FOO. That's the natural progression of becoming an independent adult.
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Old December 16th, 2012, 01:14 PM
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

My initial reaction is the same as yours and Lucy's, but then thinking through people and situations in my life, I can see why someone would say such a thing and without it being "self-centered." I agree that no one can take away someone's child (in most normal circumstances) but I think that there are situations where the adult child chooses to follow someone and the parents consider it "taking away."

A man I know from church was military and stationed in the Phillipines 30 some-odd years ago. He met his wife there, they fell madly in love, and he brought her back to the states. She loves him and is glad to be with him but I know that she misses her family. Luckily communications have improved in the last 30 years. Her parents can't travel and it was difficult for her to get home to see them as she raised her own family. I can see how her parents would think (especially 30 years ago) that he "took her away."

One of my uncles married his wife fifty years ago. He was probably ten years older than her, and she, being a young and inexperienced bride, went along with everything that my uncle wanted. She was assimilated into our extended family completely. She converted to his religion and spent EVERY holiday (every.single.one) with our family. Other of her sister-in-laws had family in town, so they'd manage to spend the days between both families, but her family was from another state. They barely ever saw her again.

My in-laws were from the same borough in New York where my MIL's family had lived for generations. When they married, they lived there as well with no intent of going very far. However, FIL's career took off and as he advanced in his company he received assignments in other countries. My MIL went from being the dutiful daughter (as she was raised to be and a role she had accepted) to being far away (she ended up loving to travel and live in new places). While my FIL was always very kind to my GMIL, GMIL always did feel abandoned.

There are cases where one spouse abandons their own family in favor of their spouse's family (like my aunt) just because it's expected of them and easier than fighting. So while I agree that parents shouldn't expect their kids to stay single or stay within a stone's throw, I think it can really be a shock to them that the kid actually *wants* to leave, especially if the parent never expected that (because they never wanted to leave). I don't consider it unreasonable for parents to worry that their child will become part of the Borg Collective like my aunt did.
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Old December 17th, 2012, 12:02 PM
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

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Originally Posted by LucyVanPelt View Post
I'm with you, sueanna. No one can take an adult child away from their FOO. That's the natural progression of becoming an independent adult.
I totally agree. That sounds like some seriously attached parents. It's totally natural to WANT your kids to stay close to you forever, but that's just not how it works.
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Old December 18th, 2012, 10:02 PM
sueanna sueanna is offline
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

When I was in college in Mississippi (my homestate), I dated a fellow freshman, Chris, from North Carolina. During his senior year, he told me he planned to go back to NC to work for his family's company. We were seriously involved (unofficially engaged), and I wanted to go with him. My mom was furious at my decision. She temporarily disowned me and was always cold to me. We moved in 1999, and despite my mom's anger I called on a regular basis and visited two or three times a year. She was always short with me on the phone and would hand it off to my grandmother. When I visited (Chris was banned from Mom's house), she barely spoke to me. I never gave her an attitude, I never drug out the past. I acted normal. She chose to waste precious family time that we'll never get back. My mom started warming up to me only when Chris and I split up four years later.

So now it's 2012. A couple of months ago I heard my mom tell someone she hated Chris because, in her words, he "took my daughter away." I was miffed. What bothers me is that she blamed him. Chris never twisted my arm, never planted ideas in my head, never pressured me. If she wanted to take it up with me, fine, but she should have left him out of it and not made it so personal. It's this blaming stuff that irks me when it was my decision. And Chris isn't some bad person my mom made him out to be. In fact, he always asked me how he could help heal the rift between us, perhaps with a symbolic gesture recognized by our culture (I'm Chinese, he's white). And he never outwardly showed a grudge against her, even though he was deeply hurt inside by her rejection.

I didn't mean to dwell on the past like this, but it was hard to not ponder after hearing what she said about Chris. It also reminded me of when my college roommate accused me of "stealing" her best friend, which is so juvenile. Thus, it made me wonder if that is really so different from parents accusing in-laws of the same thing.

Well, I promise to not waste too much time thinking about the past. Here's to looking forward.

Last edited by sueanna; December 18th, 2012 at 10:19 PM.
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Old December 19th, 2012, 04:00 AM
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

Ahhh, Isuspected your mother was probably Chinese; her behavior is deeply inbred in her culture. I assume you are more modernized or you wouldn't have made your own choice. You must be very brave and strong-willed.

The accusation of "you're taking my ______ away from me" is about the speaker's sense of loss. They have no control, and accepting that the other person made the choice to leave is too painful for them. Even in KayKay's examples, the person left.

It's good to ponder on the past and it's excellent to look to the future! We vave a few more weeks but it's not too early to wish you Happy New Year!
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Old December 19th, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

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Originally Posted by sueanna View Post
I heard my mom tell someone she hated Chris because, in her words, he "took my daughter away."
Maybe she's not being literal. Maybe she doesn't mean the physical moving to NC but the fact that you "left" her culture. She raised you in that culture, then you went to college and suddenly you're dating Chris and making decisions that she didn't raise you to make. (I'm not faulting you - you were growing up and becoming an independent adult; it is the course of nature).

Maybe it's just easier for her to blame Chris than to admit that you did it voluntarily or worse, admit that she "failed" in raising you to be what she wanted you to be?
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Old December 19th, 2012, 09:27 AM
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Re: Is it really possible for someone to "take my daughter/son away"?

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Originally Posted by KayKay View Post

Maybe it's just easier for her to blame Chris than to admit that you did it voluntarily or worse, admit that she "failed" in raising you to be what she wanted you to be?
Exactly!
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