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Weekly Reader 1.31.11

Elastic Parents

Our adult children’s  exit-return-exit-return can play havoc with our lifestyles as well as our emotions. San Gabriel Valley Tribune columnist  Steve Scauzillo calls it becoming “elastic parents, stretched from side to side of the parenting spectrum.”

In an op-ed piece, “Chafing Within the Crowded Nest,”  Mr. Scauzillo admits a tough adjustment to the empty nest but eventually he and his wife learned to actually enjoy the privacy and freedom.  Then the kids came home: school breaks, summer vacation, post-college living.  Sometimes he’s got a full house, sometimes it’s empty.  He laments:

And there’s no long-acting parenting pills we can take to get us ready for whatever mode we find ourselves in that month or that week or that moment.

Yes, the initial empty nest was painful. I cried when I realized there were no more Little League games to take my sons to. But this see-sawing is equally difficult. Maybe it’s because there’s no end in sight to the uncertainty.

What’s Your Opinion, Mom?

Your adult child asks you what you really think about Sarah Palin or Barack Obama.  Do you launch into a speech, outlining in no uncertain terms your opinion, obviously the right opinion?  Maybe we parents should take a deep breathe and respond with question instead, asking first: What do you think?

Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Should My Son Be a Political Mini-Me? columnist Jeff D. Opdyke suggests that parents should resist spoon-feeding opinions to adult children. He acknowledges that our opinions can strongly influence what children and that many parents believe it’s their duty to pass along those beliefs. But is that a disservice to our children, not letting them decide on their own?  Mr. Opdyke writes,

I want my children to know that I have strongly held beliefs about the relationship between government and the people. I like the idea of sending my children out into the world armed with the values I’ve given them.

And yet, I’m torn. Because part of me is also determined to send my children out into the world armed with values that they’ve arrived at on their own, because they looked at the options and discovered what made the most sense to them.

More Rules

In yet another response to the “Tiger Mom” controversy,  journalist Nancy Doyle Palmer comes up with her own list of rules, outlined in “Tiger Mothers, Mama Grizzlies and the Mommy Wars — Let’s Tame the Beasts!” Two of the “rules” were worth passing on, even when your children are long past this stage, as they still apply now

  • My children are the most extraordinary and important creatures on earth. They are beyond beautiful. I love them more than words can ever express. This is my private secret. It’s also the private secret of every parent I meet.
  • Most parents are doing the very best job they can under often challenging circumstances. Be nice.

Chinese Province Bans Boomerang Kids

NEET is an acronym for “not in education, employment, or training,” first used in England and now in Asia. We call them boomerang kids or slackers.  Apparently  NEETS have become such a problem is China that the Jiangsu Province recently passed a law that allows parents to turn down requests for money and other financial support from these adult children.  About 30 percent of young adults still live at home with their parents, many saving to buy their own houses.

The government is trying to stop adult children who “mooch off” their parents, according to an article in the China Global Times.  The piece also noted that

The “Elderly Rights Protection Act of Jiangsu Province” was deliberated by the standing committee of provincial people’s congress Thursday, with an additional provision included stating that “the elderly have the right to reject economic requests from children who have the ability to live independently.”

The law also prohibits “embezzling or seizing by force any property belonging” to parents.

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