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Weekly Reader 7.31.12

How NOT to Visit Your Adult Child

When you visit your son or daughter are you tempted to straighten up a bit, rearrange the furniture, suggest cleaning tips, note that you couldn’t eat off the floor? If you want to be welcomed back, keep your suggestions behind sealed lips.  After a particular trying visit from her mother, a blogger who goes by the name “Not so Crunchy” was compelled to write “8 Simple Rules for Visiting Your Adult Daughter (Or Son).”  A few key tips:

  •  Don’t Nag — A good visit rarely starts out when a parent walks through the door, already complaining about how little they see you and soliciting more visits on a more frequent schedule.
  • Don’t Rearrange, Redecorate, Replace, or Reclean  Sure, you may think the sofa would look better at the other end of the room, that picture should be replaced with the one you brought, or (and this actually happened to a friend once) you use a better laundry detergent…If your daughter has missed a spot in cleaning, don’t pick up a paper towel and do it right. That’s just insulting.
  • Don’t Constantly Give Unwanted Advice or Criticize — Face it. You’ve done your job as a parent. Your child is grown up. She has a home of her own, possibly children of her own. She has put down roots. If she needs and wants advice from you, she’ll ask for it.
  • Be An Adult — You’re no longer the big kahuna in your daughter’s life. She doesn’t always do everything your way. That also means that possibly you have to endure things not being done the way you like it when you’re invited to spend time with her.
  • Be Gracious and Remember — Whereas you may have more free time than you know what to do with now, your daughter is probably in the busiest, most hectic phase of her life. Time is precious and don’t make her regret spending some of it with you. You were her parent for the years she needed a parent. Now is the time finally to try to just be her friend.

Stress: Millennials Claim More

Most of us experience stress, and no matter what the age, we often stress about the same factors. The biggest sources of stress for Millennials, Generation Xers, and Baby Boomers are money, work, and the cost of housing, according “Stress in America,” an annual report from  American Psychological Association report.

The difference comes in something called “stress differential,” which is the level of perceived stress vs. what’s assumed to be normal. Millennials, it turns out, are the generation with the largest stress differential, higher in 2012 than it has been over the last five years. What are they stressed about?  The Atlantic notes:

Oddly, Millennials are less likely to be stressed by the economy, but they are more stressed by the cost of housing than other generations. They are also more likely to say that relationship problems were sources of stress than were other generations.

So how do various generations handle stress?

Older generations are more willing to compromise and express their feelings in their relationships. Millennials hit the yoga mat and meditate as well as play video games, get online, smoke and drink, just like their older brothers and sisters of Gen X.

The Good News about Adult Children

We read article after article about the rules parents are supposed to set down when adult children move home, most with the goal of getting them out the door again as quickly as possible.  But in a New York Times op-ed piece, two prominent experts in “emerging adult studies” argue that moving home can be beneficial for parents and children.

Scholars Karen L. Fingerman and Frank F. Furstenberg write that their research indicates that the closer bonds between young adults and their parents should be “celebrated” for the positive benefits:

Grown children benefit greatly from parental help. Young adults who received financial, practical and emotional support from their parents reported clearer life goals and more satisfaction than young adults who received less parental support. This support ranged from room and board to making a car available, to parents’ listening to their son or daughter talk about the day.

They also pointed to some major changes in how Gen Y interacts with parents:

  • In 1986, about half of parents reported that they had spoken with a grown child in the past week. In 2008, 87 percent said they had.
  • In 1988, fewer than half of parents gave advice to a grown child in the past month. Recent data show that nearly 90 percent of parents give advice
  • In  1988, fewer than one in three had provided any hands-on help; now 70 percent provide some type of practical assistance every month.

The reasons for these changes, beyond the recession,  include a delay in getting married, meaning that parents may be an important bonds for a longer period of time; technology which makes it easy to stay in contact, and a longer time pursing advanced degree education.

The only glitch seems to be when parents and adult children feel uneasy about this closeness because of cultural criticism.  The duo write that society should take the opposite view:

In fact, we could be celebrating the strong bonds between today’s young people and their parents, rather than lamenting the foibles of the next generation. Forty years ago, the news media were filled with reports of a generation gap. Let’s be grateful that we’ve finally solved that problem.

Bashing millenials seems to have become a popular sport played out in the media so it was refreshing to see an opposing view in The Daily Beast, written by Hannah Seligson, an accomplished Gen Y author.

In she presents some compelling “good news,” including:

  • Twenty-something women are good for the economy. As The Economist put it, “Women have contributed more to global GDP growth than have either new technology or the new giants, Chinaor India.” And women in their 20s and early 30s are poised to continue making an economic splash, even if they have to get some help from their parents to get on their feet.
  • Life in the workplace is improving because of millennials. Fortune 500 companies are increasingly emphasizing quality-of-life benefits, corporate social responsibility, and flexible work schedules to attract and retain young talent. Parental leave, part-time schedules, and teleworking are all trends that are gathering momentum


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