It’s not just the economy that’s bringing grown kids home again or keeping them from leaving in the first place. It’s also the shift in parents’ roles and responsibilities in the lives of their adult children in the 21st century. Guiding them through the critical Third Decade of their lives is a much more hands-on process for baby boomers than it was when we did our final stretch of growing up – out of sight, if not of mind, of our parents.
Our ambition for independence was less complicated than it is today for young adults. But whether or not we all live under the same roof,we’re much more intimately involved with each other than previous generations. Current research as well as contemporary lifestyles mean that even 20-somethings who don’t live at home want, need, welcome and expect parental support, not just of their hopes and dreams – their Third Decade will cost parents a third of the total amount they spent on the first two!
Today it’s tough to know when the parenting years are over, because the meaning of both parenthood and adulthood has changed, and so has the timing. Even if we can’t afford to subsidize our emerging adults’ meandering path to selfhood as well as self sufficiency, we’re wondering how to renegotiate pur relationship with them as they make their complicated way to maturity in a competitive, high stakes world.
This is just as true of hands-off parents who let their kids make their own mistakes – and, hopefully, learn from them – as it is of helicopter parents and tiger mothers who parented (or over-parented) for success from the very beginning. As the cost of mistakes and the competition for the best of everything continues to rise, there’s less laissez-faire parenting going on than there used to be, for fear that by the time the kids find their place in thr world, it wil already be taken
Can women today have it all? Could they ever? In a Manhattan brownstone in the early 80’s, three women nearing the peak of their careers realize the price as well as the payoffs of success in a dramatic, sexy, compelling novel as contemporary as today’s headlines:
Paula, lawyer and politician: “First they said marry a successful man, then they said be one. Which is right? What should our real role be?” When her radical lover from law school days comes up from the underground, she must consider the one she chose and rethink the principles on which she staked her career.
Cass, beautiful, ambitious advertising executive: “Who says a woman today can’t go as far as a man? Who says we can ‘t have everything they do?” Words she lives by until her affair with her charismatic boss explodes on the front page and threatens to torpedo her career.
Ellin, writer and single mother: “Where is it written that just because you’re a parent you have to give up everything else that completes you?” Torn between her own needs and those of her teenage daughter, she learns that the cost of love and the price of fame is greater than she ever imagined.
Tradeoffs is a novel of love, careers, conflict and friendship among women on top, a compelling story about the real choices faced by every woman who ever hoped to have it all.
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Hear Jane on http://www.voiceamerica.com/episode/93777/setting-boundaries-with-difficult-adult-children-helping-vs-enabling