Casey Anthony represents the epitome of heartbreak that parenting adult children can bring. It is a season of life when you have no control, power, or authority. It can also be a nightmare when grandchildren are involved. Just ask Cindy Anthony.
For over three years, we have been inundated with a dysfunctional family who, at their very core, had a little one who held them together. Caylee, the child who was missing for 31 days before her mother reported it, has become the poster child for a family gone broke. It would be a better legacy if she became a symbol for a call to action for families everywhere.
I appreciate hope and I am a major proponent of it. It is a necessary ingredient in most of life's difficult situations. I am also a believer in seeing things for what they are versus what we want them to be. Herein lies one of the biggest problems I see for parents of adult children: They refuse to see the truth about their children.
Being honest about an adult child's weaknesses does not mean parents have the license to be critical or that one is giving up on them. It simply allows parents to see them truthfully so that expectations can be adjusted and relationship issues can be handled with greater awareness. By being a student of one's adult child, one will need to remove the weight of guilt and responsibility felt, even though the adult child may have picked up some of their bad habits from their parents.
Clarity about an adult child's dysfunction, personality disorders, addictions, and other various shortcomings will make parenting them more effective. Parents need to seek out professional assistance if their adult child is making irresponsible choices. It is important to refrain from criticism, judgment, name calling, and character assassination when dealing with adult children. Their children can walk away from them at any point in time, never to be heard from again, if they fail to be respectful. Speaking with honor to someone does not mean you agree with them or support their choices; it is simply saying they will be treated with human dignity. This says volumes about the integrity of the parents, which when all is said and done, is all you have control over anyway.
Cindy Anthony has not only lost a granddaughter, but she has lost a daughter as well. Regardless of how the trial turns out, her family will never be the same. Let us allow her pain to be a reminder to all of us that family relationships cannot be taken for granted and we must work on them our entire lives. May we see what really is, be the best of who we are as often as possible, and learn from others who walk before us.