fordCecilia Ford, who has been a psychologist in private practice in New York City since 1987, has addressed emotional issues for Women’s Voices in many articles over the years.

 

4684768482_fbd72d3907_zPhoto by Patrick McDonald via Flickr (Creative Commons License)

 

Many interesting and thought-provoking comments have been posted in response to some columns we have written about the role of grandmothers here and here. In particular, readers have been debating how to negotiate the needs or desires of their adult children to have them help with the care of the grandchildren. Many of our readers are at a time in their lives when they are very much “otherwise engaged,” either working full- or part-time, enjoying travel and marriage without the responsibility of caring for dependents, or/and struggling with financial pressures or health concerns. More often than not, like most people, their lives are a busy combination of all of the above.

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One thing is certain: This generation is different.  These women are not our “grandmothers’ grandmothers.” Life is very different than it was two or even one generation ago, in ways both positive and not so positive. On the plus side, women in this demographic are healthier, feel better, and are more independent than their grandmothers. They look younger and feel that way too, and are much more likely to have a job and an independent life. If they are married, it’s more likely that their husbands are healthier and more vital as well. On the other hand, they are more likely not to be married, and more of them are working because they need the paycheck. Some of our readers wrote to say they are still working because they can’t afford to retire. More of them are living alone, too, something that has been shown to have a negative correlation to overall health for many people.

While there are common themes in our readers’ comments, one of the most frequent is a sense of being taken advantage of. Many of you wrote to say that your children take you for granted, expecting you to babysit at a moment’s notice without taking into consideration the realities of your life circumstances. A recurrent theme is the idea that these “adult” children expect you to be there for them when they need you, giving little (or nothing) in return, with little regard that you are a separate human being. Sound familiar? As I have said in some previous columns, though these kids are now legally adults, and parents to boot, in their relationship with you they are likely to regress psychologically and behave as if they are still children themselves. READ MORE

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