Living with your in-laws: a growing trend

My Grandma or Mrs. Milligan to my Father

My Grandma or Mrs. Milligan to my Father

I grew up living with a grandmother in the house.

While it is not everyone’s idea of a good time to live with their parents or parents-in-law, it worked for my family.

My mom adored her quiet and undemanding mother. My father, who called her Mrs. Milligan all her life, took her in without complaint. Because of my father’s kindness to her mother, my mom called my dad “a prince among men” and had that nomer etched on his gravestone.  My father understood my grandmother’s situation because his own mother, my Nana, had similar limited means.  She lived with her daughter, my dad’s sister, and her husband.

Circumstances did not lead me to repeat that experience and I am not sure I would have been able to.  My mother and I would have been two clashing Alpha females and my mother-in-law was able to live on her own until she died.

But this generation is looking back in time for models for family living today. Young married couples are living with their parents and there are more multigenerational families than 30 years ago. The reasons vary–it could be to have help with the children, to afford a house or to offer help to an aging parent. But one thing is sure: it is a growing trend.

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The empty nest: Myth and reality


Michael Carson Photo

Michael Carson Photo

September is a month full of grieving parents.

I know, I’ve been one.  As much as we love to see our offspring head for the hallowed halls of universities and colleges, some of us grieve their absence.

The summer before my eldest left for McGill, I was as excited as she was for the adventure that was hers to unfold. On a warm September Sunday, the entire family drove to Montreal for lunch and to settle her in residence. Upon our return home, I sat down in her unusually clean, but now empty purple room and cried for two hours.

It only hit me then—she would never again return home as a child. Read More

Book review: When Parents Hurt

One of the most painful things that can happen to a parent is when an adult child treats you with distain or contempt or refuses to have any contact with you at all.

When Parents Hurt is a wonderful book full of how to strategies to help you when you and your grown child don’t get along.

The author, Joshua Coleman, is a California-based psychologist who works with parents, families and couples. He, like many others, faced issues parenting adult children when, for several years his young adult daughter had little contact. He calls those years the most painful and confusing years of his life.

Coleman takes a non-blaming stance and yet provides insight about why difficult relationships develop. He provides strategies for parents to accept the relationship and find peace even if it cannot be healed, as well as strategies to regain a positive relationship with the child, if that is possible. Read More