Asked and Answered:

Whose Problems Are They?

How often do we say "When I was your age…" or "If you want my advice…" to our kids? Remember that the world they've come of age in is very different from the one we faced when we were younger, so we may not always know best! A key task of postparenthood is turning responsibility for their lives over to them - they're the ones who'll have to live with the consequences.  These questions help reframe the problem as theirs, not ours:  
  • Are you legally, financially or otherwise responsible for their behavior?
  • Does their behavior infringe on any of your rights and freedoms?
  • Do they have a right to behave as they're doing, even if you don't approve?
  Q. My daughter and her child moved back home after her divorce last year. She still hasn't found a job or an apartment. We want to retire, sell our house and travel, but if we do, how and where will they live?   A. Ask her to set a date for her departure. Help her come up with solutions to her own problem; offer to help her resettle elsewhere, even by sharing a house or apartment with another single mother and exchanging childcare or housework in lieu of rent until she finds a job.   Q. Our son dropped out of college and is following his dream - to be a hip hop star. He is a weekend deejay at popular clubs, has several part-time jobs, lives with roommates who never pay their share of the rent, and isn't interested in completing his education. What did we do wrong?   A. Your son is managing to support himself while trying our one scenario for his life. He won't let his roommates take advantage of him forever, and either he'll make it to the Top 10 or find something else he wants to do. Meanwhile,.. - Read More

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Personal Coaching for Anxious Parents

connect with the coachNow you can connect with the Post-Parent Coach for an introductory personal coaching session that will give you a whole new perspective on your relationship with your adult children, learn strategies and techniques to improve your communication with them, change the way you deal with their problems , cope with having them back under your roof, and move them toward independence. It just could be the best $100 you ever spent! If you’re ready to make a better connection with your grown child, make one with the coach first! Just e-mail me with a brief description of the situation and the most convenient times to “meet” by phone. Pay via Pay Pal, confirm the date and time of our teleconference, and let’s talk!

Special Offer: 1 Hour, 1 Time, $100!

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They’re Back in College, But You’re Still Worried


My postparent coach phone rings frequently after the holidays are over. The house  isrestored to order, and the kids, their clean laundry, and their second semester tuition check are back on campus. But their worried parents are unsettled by the strangers who just left.

Sometimes it’s because they came home, dropped their bags, and disappeared. All the plans you had for family time vanished in the brief moments when they were actually in residence. They partied all night and slept all day. They were uninterested in the people, activities and traditions they used to enjoy, they answered your questions in monosyllables, if at all, and they spent every waking moment and mealtime on their phones and tablets.

None   of this is unusual behavior…but you expected otherwise, and you’re disappointed. It’s the parents who see more alarming signs of change in their young adult kids who call me the second time for advice.  Often it’s related to evidence or indications of substance use or abuse,  especially binge drinking; dramatic mood swings or depressed emotional affect; a noticeable or extreme loss or gain of weight; or even a complete change of plans – they’re moving out of the dorm and in with strangers, they’re dropping out or uninterested in going back, they’ve mismanaged their money, academic or social life, or failed their own expectations – and yours – for a successful transition to college .

Before you do anything, it’s important to understand whose expectations have been disappointed. If it’s yours, get over it…your kids may be experiencing failure for the first time, but it’s theirs, not yours, and they can’t cope if you help them blame everyone else but themselves for it, or worse, blame yourself. All you can do is tell them what  your specific concerns are – although if  the indications point to a substance abuse problem,  get some expert help in how to bring it up  and expect denial, at least initially. If you’re worried about their physical or emotional health, suggest that they seek help for it, point them to the college counseling office or a medical professional, and keep in touch with them to express your support, your confidence  in their ability to persevere and solve their own problems and dilemmas.  Refrain from anything that could be construed as telling them what to do or judging their performance.  Focus on their strengths and their past successes in overcoming obstacles. Do more listening than talking. And lift the burden of your disappointment in  how they’re navigating this stage of life so they can get on with growing up.

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