earlier this month sparked the observation that some of our adult children take a different approach to parenthood. This is not their childhood redux. The changes range from care and feeding to playtime and parenting philosophy. According to a study of more than 10 million millennial parents, 50 percent agree with the statement “I am raising my kids the way I was raised,” while another 50 percent disagree or are neutral to the statement.
For years we’ve heard a Paul Revere-type warning: The millennials are coming! The millennials are coming! Indeed they are here, pushing aside boomers and Gen Xers this year as the largest generation in the labor force. Predictions are that in five years, they will comprise more than half the workforce.
The NFL kicks off on Sept. 10, bringing to an end weeks of preseason training for the teams. But the players weren’t the only people learning a new game book. Teams from San Francisco to New York have brought in consultants to teach boomer coaches how to better interact with millennial players.
The four years (let’s hope no longer) that our adult children are college students are designed to be a time of education and exploration. Often we boomer parents also immerse ourselves in the college experience, perhaps because we are paying part of that annual tab, which can top $60,000 at private universities.
A recent family party celebrated a first-born child heading off to college. As the evening wound down, relatives gathered around the picnic table and offered advice to the college freshman, ranging from “Study hard but have some fun” to “Call your mom occasionally.”
The great college move-in begins this week. Getting the students there is the easy part. Getting the parents to leave — in both mind and spirit — is the challenge. Indeed, though some colleges have show-parents-the-exit programs, many parents still hover from home.
As the economy improves and the job market recovers, experts anticipated that boomerang millennials would move out of their old bedrooms and start living on their own. But that prediction has not become a reality: The country’s 18- to 34-year-olds are less likely to be living independently today than they were in the depths of the Great Recession.
We heard through the grapevine about a boomer couple upset because their son, who graduated from a prestigious college and professional school without loans, was marrying a young lawyer with tens of thousands in educational debt. The parents feared that paying off this financial burden would delay the couple in buying a house and starting a family. Wisely, they chose to say nothing.
Weddings, as we observed last week, can ignite bad feelings among family members. Once past the nuptials, the young couple may expect “happily ever after,” yet other issues can bedevil both parents and adult children. One sticking point is what to call an in-law, particularly a mother-in-law. For some reason, male in-laws don’t seem to have this problem.
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