When Will Wedding Bells Ring for Adult Children?

A recent TV commercial shows a young man lounging at a pool party and vowing, “I am never getting married.” Next scene: an engagement ring.  Then he and his wife are on a plane seated near a bawling baby. “We are never having children,” he says.  Next scene: the delivery room. The commercial proceeds through his protests against — and then acceptance — of a suburban home, a minivan and baby number two. The commercial echoes the thoughts of many …

Parent and Child Face-Off: Stubborn or Independent?

Located in upstate New York, Oneonta gets dumped with 75 inches of snow annually. After most snowfalls, longtime resident Lois shoveled her sidewalk — even into her 80s — although she didn’t need to go anywhere and her family begged her to stop. When Lois’ granddaughter, Allison R. Heid, was researching topics for her human development and family studies dissertation, she recalled her grandmother’s behavior and that of other older adults who insist on acting a certain way and, as …

The Ebb and Flow of the Empty Nest

A few days ago my husband and I dragged six heavy containers of holiday ornaments into storage. While I was happy to have that chore done once again, the house looked bare. It wasn’t only the decorations. The kids had gone back to their own homes and lives, leaving a few reminders behind: a half-empty bag of kale and some bottles of light beer in the fridge. I soon realized, though, that others shared the postholiday empty nest blues. “And …

4 Tips for Getting Along With New In-Laws

Engagements peak around the holidays, so for some parents — maybe you — 2015 will bring a daughter- or son-in-law. That means other new family members as well; maybe you’ll be meeting them for the first time. These extended family relationships are often complicated even before they start. Yet other parents — for better or worse — will now share the peaks and valleys of your child’s life. And given divorce and remarriage, three or four parents may be involved, …

What’s Happened to Thank-You Notes?

The holiday gifts and checks have been sent and received … or have they? When our children were growing up, we hounded them to write thank-you notes. Today, however, notes of appreciation seem to be a lost art. Millennials, in particular, seem oblivious to the rules of etiquette. USA Today dubbed them “awful millennial manners.” Considering that many digital natives see nothing wrong with breaking up via text or emailing a condolence letter, it’s not surprising that thank-you notes rank …

Why Phoning Your Children Just Isn’t Enough

The medium is the message, Marshall McLuhan famously noted. And in a touch screen world, our relationships with our adult children improve with the more communications media we use. While millennials enjoy chatting on the phone or Skype, they also want parents to “lurk” on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media so we can follow (not intrusively, though) their lives. That’s the finding of a study by University of Kansas doctoral student Jennifer Schon. “We found that young adults …