Independent Adult Children

I was probably a ‘gifted’ child but flew under the radar because of ADHD and mathematics phobia. My IQ is above 145, but my parents don’t know. They think I’m a dumb 20-year-old.

They always give me bad advice, but they should be the ones listening to me. How do I make them understand this?

Sarah Bowman
Sarah Bowman, studied family dynamics formally and informally all my life

If they’ve known you for twenty years and still don’t recognize your strengths and insights, they never will. You’re different from what they expected and that’s all that matters. Stop taking their bad advice and live your own life by your own wits and wisdom, taking credit for your successes. That’s the only way I ever got ahead and I’m not sorry for rejecting much of what my parents valued for this very reason. By now you must have met others—teachers, employers, friends’ parents—who are worth emulating and asking for advice if necessary. Don’t hesitate to do so. You can “honour” your parents by visiting them and keeping them up-to-date on the parts of your life you feel comfortable sharing. If they notice that you are being distant, it may be necessary at some point to speak plainly and explain that you have had to make some hard decisions because of their treating you like a dumb kid when in fact you were a mature adult capable of making your own decisions. Make sure they know you love them and don’t regret your decisions.

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