Tuesday, May 14, 2013

unfinished business | a small idea from Raising Adults

Somehow, with or without us, our babies grew to be children.
Then, while Boomers elected presidents we would sooner have thrown eggs at when we first got the vote, our children turned into teenagers who seemed to feel as great a distance from us as we felt from our parents. And just like our parents we made wisecracks, then nagged, then yelled, then shook our heads disapprovingly, then gave up on them—everything we said we would never do
And it felt bad.
Actually, it feels bad; we’re not done yet. A lot of us have a good bit of child-rearing before us. In 2012, the number of American kids under the age of 18 reached 73.8 million. As a point of reference, there were 69.9 million under-18ers in 1966. That was a lot, but it was the top of the Baby Boom. This time the numbers continued to rise and many of the babies were born to Boomers in their 30s and 40s.
And then there are the adult children.
A lot of Boomers left home without going very far. A lot of our kids never left home at all, or left briefly, then returned, some bearing the gift of grandchildren we now raise in part or in whole. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
In 2012, about 4.7 million American children lived in households headed by grandparents about 2.2 million of them with no parent present.[1] 
Even those without drinking-age heirs in a bedroom down the hall seem to have plenty of unfinished business with their adult children. Again, I may be wrong but I can’t think of many peers who have a completely clean slate with their offspring, grown up or not. 

— from Raising Adults

[1] U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012, Table C4, http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps2012.html

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