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 …

Some Tips on Career Coaching Your Millennial

Many of our adult children face a daunting job outlook. The post-recession recovery has been particularly difficult for young adults who have experienced double-digit unemployment rates for more than 70 consecutive months, according to The Young Invincibles, a think tank in Washington, D.C. Many adult children, unemployed or stalled in go-nowhere jobs, call on us for advice. In search of some constructive ideas (and a cheat sheet for our career coaching), we found The Bigs, a book that reveals “The …

Millennials Continue to Struggle for Success

Part of the promise of the American Dream is that each generation will do better than the last. Has that happened with our adult children, the millennials? Well, “yes and no,” reports the U.S. Census Bureau. Our children are better educated as a generation, yet more are living in poverty and they have lower rates of employment.  “Young Adults, Then and Now,” released last week by the Census Bureau, examines the nation’s current 73 million young adults, 18 to 34 …