Family Relationships

Join other women in the sandwich generation - share ideas and solutions as you learn to nourish family relationships without starving yourself.

Friday, October 27, 2006

It just goes to show that, as with political sentiments, people think and feel very differently about what is right for the family - theirs, in particular.

Marika said.....

Actually, the family compound you describe doesn't sound so bad to me. It sure would beat spending all that time and money on "love miles," not to mention reducing our carbon imprint, if we could live closer to family members.

Friday, October 20, 2006

One reader commented, "How can someone function like an adult if he/she is treated like a child and given privileges without any responsibilities? Without fully realizing what they are doing, some parents may want to encourage dependency, but they are not helping their kids mature into functioning adults. After finishing college, our 3 sons were offered 6 months rent free at home, but they were expected to help coook, clean and do yardwork. One chose to stay for 3 months until he had enough money to move out. The other 2 figured out how to be financially independent right away."

One tip to support this idea: Create a timetable for financial independence. Commit to a concrete plan to move toward common goals. This requires the willingness to work as a team, with frequent discussions and some compromise. Putting limits and deadlines into place can result in less family conflict.

According to a 2006 Money/ICR poll, 60% of Americans believe that college graduates should be allowed to move back home, but only for up to a year, and 57% state that parents should charge rent.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Are you aware of the following statistics?

Millions of fledgling adults, often called “kidults,” have graduated from college but are not living independent of their parents. According to the 2000 U.S. Census, 25% of young adults between the ages of 18 and 34 still lived at home.

Is your family represented in these figures? It's hard to turn away when your grown children need your help.

For some parents, insisting that their emerging adult children face their own challenges is the way to go. At times “tough love” is the most effective support they can give. Jane’s son chose to move back home after his divorce and expected his mother to handle his laundry, shopping and cleaning the way his wife had. She knew he had to learn to take care of himself, once again. “I insisted that we set some things straight and that he take responsibility. We created a chart like the one when the kids were in grade school. I have not backed down and so far we are all still here, trying to make our complicated situation work.”

How are you making it work for you?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

There's a synchronicity created as boomerang kids move back home and their helicopter parents are more involved in their day to day life. For some this is a problem, for others it meets some of the needs for all - at least for the time being.

Recently a story by Ms. Jennifer Lee appeared in the New York Times about another dimension of this phenomenon - parents have been including their adult children on their health insurance policies. In the past, insurance companies would not add dependents over the age of 21, but now that practice is increasing. These adult children, or "kidults," either cannot afford to purchase their own insurance or choose not to do so.

We wrote a letter to the editor of the New York Times which appears below:

"Jennifer Lee hit the mark in describing one of the latest trends in our society - the transformation of young adults in their twenties into kidults experiencing “adultescence,” unprepared to handle the challenges of adulthood. Often they become boomerang kids moving back with their parents, delaying their independence and maturity. When given financial assistance, it generally comes with a price for all – with potential conflict around issues of control, co-dependency and unsolicitied advice. In our work with the sandwich generation, we have noted the stressful impact on boomer women caring for both aging parents and boomerang or dependent children. The prevalence of these concerns today has prompted us to address these issues in our forthcoming book highlighting how baby boomers can nourish these family relationships while still taking care of themselves."

Is this practice one more way to keep your adult children dependent and /or connected? Is it a way to help them financially and not put any more stress on you?

Have you been in this situation? What would you do if you were?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

One of our readers talked about asking her son to find other living arrangements unless he began to make a financial contribution to the household. We have been researching and writing about boomerang kidults, focusing mainly on how to work toward their moving out of the family home. But there are different ways of looking at the same situation.

Some experts are proposing the idea that the extended family living together is a solution to the stress on today's society. With people working more hours a day and having longer commutes, additional people living at home can relieve the parental burden. It's like a throw-back to previous generations - grandparents staying in the guest room, helping school age grandchildren with their homework; boomerang kidults down on their luck, driving grandpa to his bridge game.

What's going on in your family?

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Sheri commented the other day that she does stay busy, but some of the hurt feelings about the changes in her relationship to her adult children remain. I think that's one of the major challenges of this chapter of our lives - adapting to change. Read women's stories about their personal transitions - stories about career change and health issues, as well as relationships - in the Newsletter Library of our website, Enjoy the richness of the content and let us know what you think.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

One of our newsletter subscribers emailed us her concerns:

"My problem now in my retired life is that my children are so busy raising their families (who all live in a different part of the country than I do) is that I hardly hear from any of them. I feel very forgotten and it seems like the only time they call is when they want something. This saddens me to no end. When I talk to them about it, they just say it's not that they don't think about me, but they are just so busy rushing from place to place."

Do you feel this way too? It's likely that most of us have been in the same situation. Here are a few tips that may sound like basic common sense - but they're often easier said than done.

Understand their perspective by recalling how it was when you were raising your young family.
Learn more about what they are busy doing.
Make your feelings known without blaming them.
Commiserate with friends who are in the same boat.
Find activities that empassion you.