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This week we start a new column called The Answer Mom by Helen Oxenberg, MSW.

To begin with there’s a problem. The phrase “adult child” is up for grabs. The parent grabs “child.”  The child grabs “adult.”

 The tug of war begins.

So, the  children have left home and you have expectations that you’ll still have great communication with them – like you used to (ha!). And then something goes wrong. What you hope will be a two way street often turns out to be a one way alley with pot holes.

 It’s all about that “C” word – communication. Is it different today from your yesterday? Yes. For many there’s a long time between leaving home and their independence day. There’s a downward mobility for many who grew up in affluent homes and expected things to get better and better for their generation. In your generation the dole ended with graduation but today you often have to help your grown kids. What does that mean? Does it mean you then have the right to tell them what to do?

Or, they’re on their own, finally. Instead of shouting “Hooray” you often cling to your notion that they should still listen to you because, after all, with all your experience you know more and you’re right! Well, is being right the right excuse?

Okay they’re married. Does that finally qualify them as adults? The reality hurts. Things that used to be your business aren’t anymore and what do you feel? – left out? – unneeded? You used to be in charge of your child’s life. Are you supposed to be just an onlooker now?

Hard? Yes. There is a tremendous need on parents’ part to still do something. What? What? 148 Studying Big best-data-recovery.com Analytics Examples . Aha! The only way you can exert power is to give advice! But they hear your advice and they won’t take it. Why? Does that mean you should give up?

 So, can you get along with those grown children? How? This  column will explore that “how.”

Dear Answer: My adult son called me recently and told me how angry he felt because a mutual acquaintance didn’t thank him for a small favor he did. I told my son he was wrong to feel that way and now he’s angry at me. My husband says I treated him like a child. If he didn’t want my opinion, why did he tell me about it    –Right or Wrong?

Dear Wrong: He didn’t want your opinion (or your criticism), he wanted your understanding and empathy. You told him he was “wrong to feel that way,” but feelings are neither right nor wrong–they have a life of their own. It’s how you act on them that makes Danske Spillemaskiner pa nettet er et stort hit blandt de mange casinospillere, og det er ikke helt tilf?ldigt. the difference. What people in general, and adult children in particular, want most is for someone to tune in to their feelings, not to lecture casino online them. Now, having lectured you, I understand how frustrated you must feel. Communicating with adult children isn’t easy. Next time identify with his feelings first, then, if he wants, you can discuss the issues.

Dear Answer: My mother-in-law is considered the great cook in the family and I’m completely intimidated (my mother couldn’t care less about cooking). I’m in my early 20s and I’m  married less than six months and now I’m being pressured to invite my husband’s family to dinner. My mother-in-la makes such a fuss over her meals that I’m afraid to cook anything. Do you think it would be wrong to take them out to dinner? My husband doesn’t care so he’s no help. Also when I speak to his mother she keeps asking how he’s doing. I think she means since he’s not eating her food. –Judy

Dear Judy: Set the stage before you set the table. Confess to your mother-in-law that you’re a lousy cook, you come from a long line of lousy cooks, she’s the only really good cook you’ve ever known and you need her help. Ask if she will teach you some of her great dishes and techniques not only for your sake but for the sake of her son’s survival. See if she’ll help you plan and prepare this meal this time so that next time you can try it yourself. She’ll be flattered. She’ll feel needed. You can stop feeling flustered and your husband will be fed in the style to which he’s accustomed – at least for that day.

Problems? Ask THE ANSWER MOM. Email Helen Oxenberg at Helen@mothering21.com

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Gloria Gavurin May 17, 2010, 2:01 pm

    It’s about time someone started a column like this. Parents (especially mothers) are often in a quandry how to relate to their adult children. The “answer Mom” is a perfect vehicle to ask and learn about these sensitive and perplexing relationships. The problems and answers in the current column are both interesting and informative. Keep it coming.

    Gloria Gavurin

  • Elaine Wintjen May 17, 2010, 4:40 pm

    As the mother of children ages 46 and 41, I still question my parenting skills…was my response to their problem inappropriate, insufficient or perhaps, inane. I am delighted to now have Helen Oxenberg’s assistance via her column. Life may get easier.

    Elaine Wintjen

  • Sorella Schiller May 18, 2010, 2:17 pm

    I know I am not alone in being most grateful that your column has entered our world. All of us, with children 50-ish (almost, or already there) can find ourselves wondering if, how and when our responses to their dilemmas and problems are correct, appropriate and helpful. Thanks for being there to help! Look forward to future columns!

  • Sandy Engel May 19, 2010, 9:20 pm

    Best wishes for continued success on this important subject. Thank you for your article, and am looking forward to your next one. Hope it’s soon!

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