Coping with an estranged child

The light at the door Michael Carson photo

The light at the door
Michael Carson photo

“Sometimes all we can do is leave the porch light on with a key under the mat.”

That is one of the most heart-rending pieces of advice I read in a recent Huffington Post article for parents who are unwillingly estranged from their adult children.  The article includes advice from five experts on family relationships and all of them encourage parents to never stop reaching out to their child.

The article reminded me of my own experience with my parents as a young adult.  Although we were never estranged there was a period when I pulled away because I felt the disapproval  of my parents.   My youthful experiments were beyond their comprehension.  I don’t know whether they were more aghast when they learned I occasionally smoked marijuana or when my mother found my birth control pills in my purse.  I was no young teenager–I was 22 at the time and had a steady boyfriend.  Read More

Actions speak louder than words

Life is a puzzle

Life is a puzzle

My friend Mary has been in despair about her 29 year old son Jeff for some time. He often treats her with contempt.

Jeff has been living in Vancouver for the past five years where he works as a manager for a large department store. He stays with Mary when he returns to Ottawa to visit family and friends.

When she asks him how his day went, he might reply that it is none of her business, or he gives a one word answer. He leaves dishes in the sink after making himself some food and ignores Mary’s request that he clean up after himself.  When Mary planned a pot luck birthday party for his sister, Jeff told Mary she just wanted to get out of work.  (And what’s wrong with that, I might ask!)

Jeff also fails to return his mother’s telephone calls or e-mails.  Mary is always the one to initiate contact and then she waits, hoping she will hear from him.

The most recent of Jeff’s transgressions is that he failed to answer a previously arranged telephone call with Mary. There was no e-mail advising Mary that he wouldn’t be available and no follow-up e-mail apologizing for not answering the call.

Mary decided that it was time to act. She sent him this e-mail: Read More

Stats Can provides interesting facts about families

Did you know that:

  • The 2011 Canadian census shows that the number of young adults aged 20 to 29 living at home has increased from 27 percent in 1981 to 42 percent in 2011.
  • The 2006 census  shows that nearly four per cent of all marriages in Canada involve a visible minority and a non-visible minority (or a different visible minority) partner. While the actual numbers are low, they represent a 55 per cent increase since 1981 and overall intermarriage rate is one of the highest in the world.
  • The 2011 Canadian census data showed that married couples make up 67 per cent of all families. It was 83 per cent in 1981.
  • The number of same-sex married couples nearly tripled between 2006 and 2011, reflecting the first five-year period for which same-sex marriage has been legal across the country.

For more interesting facts about Canadian families, see the Stats Can web site. You may also wish to read Canadian Families Today: New Perspectives, edited by David Cheal and Patrizia Albanese, published in 2014 by Oxford University Press.

If you have any comments on these or other statistics concerning Canadian families, I would love to hear from you.  Please send a message in the Reply Box below.