The bank of mom and dad: Financing your kids’ education


It costs big bucks to provide your child with a university education. If you have more than one, it costs a small fortune. I know, as my husband and I helped our three children.

Apart from the noble goal of wanting them to value knowledge, we also wanted our kids to be able to look after themselves financially as adults; be debt free at the end of their first degree; and appreciate the cost of education. And not necessarily in that order.

So this is what we did. Read More

Far from the Tree – loving your different child


The imperfect is our paradise.

Note that in this bitterness delight,

Since the imperfect is so hot in us,

Lies in flawed words and stubborn sounds.

                                       —Wallace Stevens

                                           “The Poems of Our Climate”

All parents have to learn to accept and love their children for who they are and not what they want them to be.

This lesson comes that much sooner and harder for parents of children who are significantly different than they are. In their cases, the apple, or child, falls from the tree.

Andrew Solomon‘s recent book  “Far from the Tree”, describes situations that could cause major disappointment and regret– kids who have schizophrenia, autism, down syndrome, dwarfism, and other disabilities, as well as children of rape, who are prodigies, who are transgender and who commit crimes. Solomon is interested in how these parents come to love their children. Read More

Ten things to tell students about coping with rape culture on campus

Taberet Hall Ottawa UParents can’t afford to stand on the side lines of the discussion about sexual assault on Canadian campuses. And with students home for the holidays, now is an ideal time to address the matter with them.

Whether it’s Dalhousie University dentistry students posting misogynist Facebook messages directed at classmates, two University of Ottawa hockey team members charged with sexually assaulting a woman while on a team trip; or frosh week chants at both St. Mary’s University and the University of British Columbia encouraging the rape of underage girls; one thing is certain–rape culture is flourishing across the country.   Read More

Adult children living at home: Can it work?

“No matter why your adult child is living in your home, the good news is that you can make it work.”

That’s the optimistic voice of Christina Newberry in her book “The Hands-on Guide to Surviving Your Adult Child Living at Home”.

Her easily understood 115 page guide is chock-a-block full of good advice on strategies on how to live with your boomerang kid. Although she herself is a young adult, she takes the perspective of the parent.

She based her guide on her own experience of moving back home when she was 21 and then again for a few months at 29.   Read More

When your child goes to war: A soldier’s tips on providing parental support


“While I deployed, my parents let me talk, share what I wanted to share, just told me over and over again that they loved me and were proud of me, and didn’t ask too many questions.  They took care of each other as best they could, and never burdened me by asking me to explain or convince them of anything.” –a soldier’s comments on his parents’ support.


Every year on Remembrance Day, a mother of a fallen soldier is rightly honoured for her sacrifice for the country.  I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have a son or daughter head off to war knowing they might be injured or die in battle.

Once again our young men and women are going to war. Canada has recently deployed a fleet of nine Royal Canadian Air Force planes and 600 military personnel to Kuwait to join the US-led war on the Islamic State (ISIL). Dozens of Canadian Armed Forces’ (CAF) Special Forces have also been deployed to northern Iraq.

Many parents are left searching for ways to support their child.

One young soldier, who wishes to remain anonymous, provided me with some insightful comments on the type of parental support he needed. He deployed to Afghanistan twice, at 23 and then again at 25.  He emphasized that his opinions are his own and in no way represent those of Canadian government.

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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.   

How kids change your lives: The 8 seasons of parenthood

Who would have guessed it!  Not only do we parents affect our kids, our kids affect us!  “The Eight Seasons of Parenthood”, by authors Barbara C. Unell and Jerry L. Wyckoff, examines how kids affect their parents and help determine their identity.

The eight seasons start with pregnancy, the “Celebrity“, and end with the “Rebounder”, when parents accept parent/child role reversal as they decline and die.  The authors interviewed hundreds of parents for their book.

Of interest to parents of adult children are the last three chapters of the book.

The “Family Remodeler” describes the period when children first leave home and their parents remodel their families and redefine their lives.   Read More

Avoiding resentment: Cottage life with adult kids

Michael Carson photo

Michael Carson photo

Whether your cottage is little more than a big tent on a small campground (we owned one of those for years) or a five star all season holiday house, issues with allowing your adult children to use the cottage invariably crop up.

As cottage season comes to a close, I’m reflecting on how we managed this year.

We love having our kids and their spouses and their friends at our cottage, but it’s important that my husband and I don’t end up as servants in our own place. There is nothing worse than cleaning up after your adult kids and it is a complaint I hear often from cottage owners. The sound of resentment is not pretty.

Read More