Baby Boomers and their Grown-Up Kids

Posted on July 17, 2015 by

We overheard this conversation recently between two sixty-something moms (Let’s call them Cindy and Sheila) in a trendy West LA eatery:

Cindy: My son’s depressed. Works part-time. No relationship. I want to get him into therapy.

Sheila: Where’s he living?

Cindy: Back with us at home. He knows he’s always welcome.

Sheila: So much potential. What happened?

Cindy: He’s having a hard time lately. Can’t get the right job. And he was rejected by his girlfriend. He thinks she was seeing other guys.

Sheila: How do you know all this?

Cindy: He talks to us about it. We’re pretty close.

Sheila: Sometimes I get the sense that you know too much.

Cindy: What are you saying?

Sheila: You know, that you and your son are too enmeshed.

Cindy: What do you mean by that?

Sheila: Look, I don’t want to offend you, but did you ever think he’d be better off if you weren’t quite so involved in his life?

Cindy: You know you’re pissing me off.

Sheila: It’s hard to talk about this with you. But maybe he needs more separation from his parents.

Cindy: That’s why I want him in therapy. So he can work these things out. I think I found the right therapist for him.

Sheila: Can he afford it?

Cindy: We decided to help him out.

Sheila: It’s hard to let go, isn’t it?

Cindy: Huh….Well, of course. Remember, we used to go to all his soccer games. Those were great times. And anyway, he needs our help.

Sheila: I’m not saying we should abandon our kids, but maybe just get a little distance.

Cindy: Sounds to me like you’re jealous. Just because you and your daughter rarely talk.

Sheila: Yea, maybe you’re right.

Cindy: Well thanks for admitting it.

Sheila: But let me just say one thing and I’ll let it drop. It’s painful to watch our kids fail. Reminds us too much of our own disappointment and despair.

Cindy: You know what. I don’t want to talk about it anymore. Let’s order.

Sheila: I hope you’re not mad.

Cindy: Not at all…. I hear the arugula salad is great here.

Comments (3)

 

  1. Judith Samuel says:

    It’s hard not to help at times. Thank you for posting this Lou. I identify completely and more!

  2. Seth W. says:

    I love this simple conversation. It shows a lot of what my generation of Millennials have dealt with. Helicopter parents who come from the boomer generation who worked a lot and don’t want there kids to do the same things they did. They want their millennial kids to do something of value, explore their potential, and not rush life. On the other hand though they aren’t sure why their 28 year old kid is living with them still.

    As a millennial I’m grateful for the love and counsel my parents give, but I’m also grateful for their space and willingness to let me have my own experiences and failures.

    A favorite quote of mine, “teach your children, and if necessary use words.”

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