I am just so excited to report that I’ve just recorded the Stepparenting the Grieving Child audio with interviewer Barbara Bue of KRFC Radio.  Barb herself is a stepparent and was intensely interested in my information, which makes both sides of the interview commentary very engaging.

You can expect to hear about three distinct phases of stepfamily formation, intertwined with questions and answers about how the experiences of bereaved children are different than those in a divorce situation. We also cover one of my favorite topics, the role of the surviving parent, as well tips for how to relationship-build with a grieving child.

I will have a free clip of this audio up on my website before the Christmas holiday, so no pun intended but stay tuned for more information about how to access the clip and purchase the segments. 

In other stepparenting news this week, what do you do with a young adult that seems stuck?  My 21-year-old stepson seems unable to make much positive change in his life right now, and I blew off some frustration about this to my husband this morning. If he weren’t living in our basement I probably wouldn’t be so close to the scenario. We are attempting to sort out how much of his inertia is because of his grieving issues, and then weighing impossible questions like, “which is more valuable right now…relationship building or a kick in the pants?”  Tough questions all around, and at the moment I am devoid of answers.

Any one care to offer a perspective?

Mama J is a writer, parent, and stepparent in Northern Colorado. Check out her website, www.dianefromme.com, to keep posted on her book and preview audio for Stepparenting the Grieving Child.

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3 Comments on An Earful

  1. C4now says:

    “Which is more valuable right now…relationship building or a kick in the pants?”

    KICK IN THE PANTS! I understand the grief aspect HOWEVER this can not be used as a CRUTCH. Check out this article.

    When Adult Children Won’t Leave Home
    By Kris B
    Watch any sitcom and you will see the 30 year old son, living in his parents’ basement, ridiculed. The old nerd that lives in his parents’ attic is the butt of every joke. However, it is truly a problem for some parents that their older child refuses to move out of the house. They have prepared themselves for the time when they would be by themselves, and their plans are delayed by a child that is too insecure to leave the nest. What can they do?
    First, they must recognize the root of their problem. There are at least a couple of possibilities as to why this adult child refuses to leave his parents’ house. The first possibility is that he is simply too insecure to leave the comfort of “the nest.” The second possibility is that the child is too cheap to make his own way. Either way, this situation is a problem, both for the adult child and for his parents who have to continue to provide for him when he should be providing for himself.
    There are some things that parents can do to move their child out of their house, based on which problem they are facing. Let’s consider some solutions to this problem.
    First, if the adult child is insecure about being able to make it on his own, his parents need to work to give him more confidence. They have, in one sense, already failed in their responsibility, as this is something that parents should be preparing their children for long before they reach adulthood. Parents need to provide their children with responsibilities as they are growing up that will instill in them a sense of pride for their own abilities. This will develop the self esteem that is needed when they are old enough to move out into the world on their own. How can this be accomplished once the child has already reached adulthood? Here are a couple of suggestions:
    1. Provide the child with responsibility. Parents should give an adult child varying and increasing responsibilities that will cause him to have confidence in his own abilities. The adult child should be given such roles as providing meals for the whole household, clean up after meals, pay certain bills, be responsible for making sure that the lawn care is completed, and other regular tasks.
    2. Require accountability for responsibilities. It is not good enough to just ask the child to participate in household tasks. He has to be responsible for those tasks. If he is not held accountable for the tasks, he will never learn what it takes to provide for himself. He should also be using his own money to provide for certain things. This teaches him the responsibility necessary to fulfill his role, and prepare him for the world.
    Secondly, if the child is just too cheap to take on the responsibility of living on his own, his parents need to “encourage” him to move out of their house. How can they accomplish this? Here are a couple of suggestions for this problem:
    1. Charge rent. Frequently, when an adult child refuses to move out of his parents’ home, it is because they have “free rent.” That is money that could be spent on his own desires. After all, it is a small trade off to stay at home if he could buy that 60 inch flat panel TV instead of paying rent. How can this problem be resolved? Charge the same amount of rent to your child that he would have to pay if he got his own apartment. Many parents feel guilty about this, but they should not. It is not unreasonable to expect an adult to provide for himself, even if he is still living in your home!
    2. Set rules. This is another area about which parents feel guilty. They believe that if their child is an adult, they have no right to set rules. Many of us heard our parents tell us that we would not be permitted to do certain things while living in their home. As long as a child lives in his parents’ house, they are susceptible to their rules. Rules that are inconvenient for an adult child will inspire them to make the move into the real world. A 10 PM curfew will work amazing miracles for a child who wants a social life! Other rules concerning visitors into the home, parties and the like will also help to make sure that child will reconsider the desire to live at home.
    3. Stick to your guns. No matter what happens, parents have to hold fast to the rules that they make. Do not permit your child to keep you from enforcing the rules that you make. If the rent is not paid, and the rules are not followed, do what any good landlord would do: evict! Parents are not doing a child any favors by continuing to pamper them, and spoil them. If he refuses to pay, and you acquiesce to him, then he will never be motivated to move on with the natural progression of life.
    Adult children, who refuse to leave their parents’ home, certainly are a problem. Whether there is a social problem that keeps the child from having the confidence to go out into the world, or if they are simply too cheap and lazy to move out into the world, there is a problem. Parents have to do something to make their children mature enough to take on the responsibilities of an adult. As a last resort, parents have the option of simply kicking their adult child out of the house. Lets hope it doesn’t come down to that!


  2. Mama J says:

    I waited a little while to comment back on this one, because I wanted to be able to report what really happened. I went through a long process of leaning into my husband and stressing the importance of, while still being loving, creating boundaries for our son that would also make HIM feel better about himself. Although it was three months in the coming, we finally received a healthy donation toward rent and utilities in December. So I would say we are striking a bit of a middle ground…a kick in the pants but done with a slipper instead of a boot.

  3. Mama J says:

    And thank you for that article you posted! I think it’s very valuable.

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