DEAR ABBY: Why must we walk on eggshells around our adult children? I have many friends with the same problem. Only one of them is able to open up and tell her kids how she feels.
You advised if a daughter goes out with a bum, learn to find something good about the bum. I'd like to tell that daughter the guy is a bum, or her kids and her house are a mess. But even if I criticize politely, and say very carefully how I feel, our adult children withhold their children or themselves and there goes the relationship. Is there hope to change this situation? My friends and I would like to know! -- WALKING ON EGGSHELLS
DEAR WALKING: As a parent, your instinct will always be to "parent" your children. But after children become adults, the kind of advice you would like to deliver becomes less welcomed -- and the "kids" no longer have to listen or abide by it. I'm not sure what it is they are doing (or not doing) that you would like to criticize, but if it has something to do with their children, remember that parenting styles have changed with time.
It's regrettable, but many families are no longer close in the way that families were a few decades ago, when the generations needed each other for baby-sitting and other kinds of help. But once the dynamics have been set, the pattern is difficult to change unless all parties are open to it -- and even then it can take professional help.