Tag Archives: Adult Children

“Jaw With John” – The Meal Doesn’t Come With A Side of Mobile Phone

My husband and I are parents of seven adult children, ranging in age from 25 to 34. Recently two of our kids (and one spouse) came home for a visit and we noticed they were never far from their cellphones and even at the kitchen table were on their phones texting or checking their mail.

We consider these times together special and my husband, especially, noticed that they were less “present” when on their phones texting, etc.

This Christmas all kids and spouses are coming home for our reunion. Everyone comes home and these are special times, especially since we now have grandchildren.

The out-of-towners all stay with us.

Our question is about the cellphone use during our celebrations and meal times. When we are together at the Christmas dinner table we wish our kids would put the phones away, except for picture taking.

My husband wants to set some rules during these family gatherings.

I am hesitant to set the stage with rules that might make some of these adults crabby.

What do you think? — Babi

Dear Babi:

These are the times we live in unfortunately. Where someone cannot go 10 minutes without checking their phone (this is especially true in movie theatres, but that’s another ball of wax). I admit, I am guilty of this techno-sin when it comes to mealtime but I am vigilant in my mission to stop such activity completely. At dinner, and other meals at home, I make sure to put my phone far enough away from me like in another room or at the other end of the table so I can be present in the meal and the company I am in. If I am out to dinner with friends or family or on a date I keep my phone in my pocket and don’t bring it out until it’s appropriate.

Ideally you would have all of your guests leave their phones, tablets, gaming devices etc in another room at mealtime but that could mean someone could sneak away and check it. If you were to gather them all up and have them on a table nearby, face down, it would really test their resolve. They would hear the phones vibrating on the table but not know whose phone was buzzing. It’d be like a murder mystery that you don’t want to solve because it would disrupt the meal. I have been on dinners with friends (not a bunch of people mind you) where the first person to bring out their phone had to buy a round of drinks for everyone at the table. You could do something similar, except make the punishment cleaning up instead of buying drinks.

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“Jaw With John” – Boyfriend Needs A Budget

When my boyfriend and I started dating seven months ago, I loved that we went out on fun dates. However, I started wondering where his money was coming from. I now know that he still receives income from his mother, even though he’s 23 and out of school.

Although he’s working a part-time job, I know it’s not enough to cover his bills. When I confronted him about searching for more work, he said he’s waiting to find his “true passion.”

He spends money on meals out, expensive clothes, and acting and writing classes. I value a strong work ethic, and it’s difficult for me to see him using his parents’ money rather than trying to make enough on his own.

How do I discuss this with him? Is it wrong to impose my values on him? — Anxious

Dear Anxious:

Some dudes will never learn. That’s a fact.

Me? I’m a dude who still lives at home but I don’t get money from my parents. I work various jobs to make money as I try to find a more permanent employment situation. But, I also don’t spend the money (which I don’t have) on things I don’t need like clothes and meals out, like your guy does. I have something called self-control. He seems to need a certain lifestyle and cannot deviate. He’ll find out the hard way that his lifestyle cannot be maintained by his current income.

You can discuss this with him, but you can’t impose your values on him. He won’t listen. Trust me. It’ll suck but, he needs to learn budgeting on his own.

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“Jaw With John” – Sounds Like Middle Child Syndrome To Me

When do parents quit paying for their children? We live frugally and put all three of our children through expensive schools so they could graduate debt-free. My son is 33 and getting married for the first time. His fiancee was married before.

They decided to get married at an expensive all-inclusive resort. Our son thinks we should pay for his rehearsal dinner for all 35 wedding guests. He says if we don’t do this, it won’t be fair to him.

We paid for the rehearsal dinner for my eldest son 10 years ago. We gave my daughter $5,000 for her wedding. We both had well-paying jobs at the time. We also spent $18,000 for attorneys for our eldest son’s divorce (he risked losing custody of his kids).

We are both retired now and living off Social Security and savings. My son has a well-paying job and his fiancee is interviewing for jobs. When will this stop? — Strapped Parents

Dear Strapped:

“When will this stop?” When you’re dead.

As far as the rehearsal dinner goes, I feel that he’s old enough – and you said he has a “well-paying job” – that he can fit the bill for the dinner. He’s already put the event at an expensive resort so why must you now pay. Isn’t the Father of the Bride supposed to pay for these things? Or was Steve Martin leading me on for all these years? I don’t know wedding protocol so this goes beyond my expertise, but I do know when someone is being taken advantage of, and that someone is you and your husband.

He knows you’re retired and on limited funds and yet still asks for moolah. Is he a middle child? This sounds very middle childish to me. He’s the last one married, wants the same that his brother and sister had, wants to make up for it by getting what he wants, blah blah blah.

Tell your son how you feel and maybe you guys can compromise. If not, order pizza or something and see how it goes.

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