Asked and Answered:

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays

While holidays offer a special opportunity to draw grown kids and their families back to the heart of shared traditions, they can also be emotionally charged occasions. Young adults come home because they want and need to stay connected to us, but often tension and conflict destroy that loving feeling. Before you buy the turkey or the brisket, ask yourself these questions:
  • Does your invitation conflict with their obligations to their in-laws or interfere with traditions they want to establish in their own homes?
  • Do you think of family holidays as a chance to resolve misunderstandings or conflicts with your adult kids?
  • Do you refuse their offers to help, insist on doing things the way you always have, or treat them hey way you did when they were children?
Q. My kids keep making excuses about why they can't come for Christmas dinner Sed - it's too far, they can't get away, they promised the in-laws first. What's really going on?

A. If it's really too far or they're too busy, offer to meet them halfway and establish new ways to celebrate together. Or suggest an alternative - Christmas dinner with you on Twelfth Night, Thanksgiving on Saturday instead of Thursday, or an invitation to their in-laws to incorporate their family traditions into your celebration.

Q.Every time our kids and their families are together, there's an explosion! They fight with each other, they fight with us, and everyone ends up with heartburn. What can we do to make it the happy occasion we want it to be?

A. If every holiday ends in disaster, maybe you're seizing this opportunity to get to the bottom of sensitive or troubling issuers, or ambushing your kids by bringing those problems up on what should be a festive or sacred occasion. Don't just sweep those problems under the rug, but make private time with your kids before or after the holidays to discuss what's going on. - Read More

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Is Depression Contagious in Young Adults?

Robin Williams’ suicide caused many people to worry about their grown kids’ mental health: In the last two weeks, I’ve had more inquiries than usual from parents who wonder whether the shocking death of someone who seemed to have triumphed over his demons – at least, those we knew about - might, as one put it, “send my unhappy 26 year old over the edge.” While there’s some anecdotal evidence that a notable suicide occasionally triggers others, particularly among high school students, it’s more often related to a similar act by a peer. What it does set off are alarms in parents whose older, 20 something kids appear to be “trapped in the bottom of the well,” as one woman described the last several months in the life of her recent college graduate. Many of the symptoms she recounted – isolation, lack of movement toward independence ,difficulty pursuing pleasurable activities, finding

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