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Weekly Reader 5.2.11

Watch your reaction

You remember the scene: your toddler is running and takes a fall.  She looks up at you, unsure whether to cry or to brush it off.    Apparently adult children coping with pain also often turn to parents to gauge a reaction.

Published in the Journal of Behavioral Medicine, a research study that included parents and adult children who were patients at a pain clinic  found that individual families  may have “a specific cognitive style of coping with pain.”  A medicalxpress.com article explained:

It is already recognized that parents’ pain behavior is associated with the way their children experience and express pain. Many of our responses are learned by observing and imitating the behavior of others, and this is true for how we express pain and find ways of coping with pain. In this context, family members are more likely to serve as models for pain-related responses than strangers.

The study looked at pain “catastrophizing,” meaning extremely negative reactions.  The study concluded:

“We found that parents’ pain catastrophizing scores predicted their adult children’s results, irrespective of the level of actual pain experienced by the adult patients. Since during childhood parents serve as a model that children imitate, it is possible that children use social and communicative tools that they have observed in their parents, to manage their own distress in a similar context.”

A how-to for difficult adult children

The website eHow.com is a great resource for  how to clean a shower curtain or a mop a red wine spill, but for parenting adult children?  Yes indeed.  The eHow staff has written several articles, including one on “How to Get Along With Demanding Adult Children.” These how-to articles include a difficulty rating; this one scored “moderate.”  The step-by-step instructions:

  1. Establish clear boundaries. Demanding children may make you feel like they are taking advantage of you, but the ball is in your court. If you don’t want your adult to ask for money to pay their rent, say so.
  2. Remain firm, and repeat yourself. Do not back down, no matter how much they try to change your mind, or they will know that with enough persistence they eventually get their way.
  3. Encourage independence in your adult children.
  4. Model the behavior. If you and your adult daughter have a habit of fighting over certain topics choose not to “take the bait” and instead model a calmer approach.

Lender Beware

If your adult child wants to borrow money and you agree, it’s not as easy as writing a check.  Bankrate.com warns about unforeseen complications.  If you are opening a joint checking account, getting a credit card together or co-signing a loan, remember that if the child runs into financial trouble that impacts your credit rating as well.  There’s also possible tax implications as the IRS considers gifts of more than $13,000 as  a taxable.

One non-financial pothole, according to the msnbc.com article, is also the question of hurt feelings by other adult children in the family whowill feel slighted or shortchanged because their inheritance will be reduced by the money you spend on their sibling.”

Leave Home Young Man, and Find a Job

So ordered a Spanish court, CNN reported, after the 25-year-old took his parents to court for stopping his monthly allowance of $588. The young man, not surprisingly a law student on the “slow” track to a degree, must leave his parents’ house within 30 days, according to the court.

In Spain many young adults live with parents until their mid-30s, a situation  exacerbated by youth unemployment rate of 40.5 percent, the highest in the European Union.

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