Sandwich Generation: Raising Teens & Caring for Aging Parents

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Just as our rambunctious toddlers and kids grow into self-sufficient teens, the self sufficiency and health of our parents start to decline. Dads of the sandwich generation are caught between directing a misguided, angsty teenager and helping a parent with diminishing independence. You’ve inescapably fallen into the role of caretaker for your own mom or dad.

 

Defining the Sandwich Generation

One in eight Americans care for aging parents while tending to their own families, according to the Pew Research Center. An estimated 66 million Americans take care of a loved one, while a third are also raising children, reports the National Alliance for Caregiving.

It’s a stressful responsibility that also evokes strong feelings of resentment, guilt and anger. You’re making sacrifices and engaging in 100 percent selflessness that can create serious health problems, self-neglect and exhaustion. The following pointers can help members of the sandwich generation healthily navigate their roles without the detrimental “caregiver syndrome.”

Be Empathetic

Aging seniors with decaying health can fall into depression and moodiness. A sick parent resents their own increased dependency on others. The growing resentment is a two-way street, and your once vibrant parent may resent needing your help just as much as you resent your parent’s reliance on you. During high-stress moments when your emotions are about to implode, try to remember this isn’t ideal for your parent either. Embrace empathy and compassion — inner strength and calmness will follow.

Let Go

Mother and caregiver Mary Novaria wrote on The Huffington Post that she had a romanticized vision of her family’s three generations of women coming together. She fantasized about her and her mother and daughter sipping tea while dishing on “Grey’s Anatomy” and reminiscing in front of the fireplace. Likewise, you may have picture hitting golf balls with your father while teaching your teenager about the rules of the game. Letting go of an idyllic picture of how you imagined your relationship to be with your parent can help alleviate disappointment, resentment and irritation. Your parent is still your parent, and love is unconditional.

Claim Good Days

Parenthood can make a man want to pull a Christopher McCandless and abandon society to live in isolation with nature. Although McCandless met an unfortunate fate in the novel “Into The Wild,” his escape can be a fantasy for a parent. Parenthood is tough, and you have to savor the beautiful moments. A warm hug from a little one before bed can make up for an entire day of temper tantrums, and the same goes for caregiving. Cherish the good days. Avoid feelings of inadequacy with affirmations that you can’t do it all. It’s a balancing act. Use special moments shared with your parent as a reminder that your mom or dad suffering from Parkinson’s, for example, isn’t a burden, but a loved one.

Move Mom or Dad

Moving a parent out of their home can be devastating decision to make. Conversations with a parent about moving into your home or an assisted living community is commonly met with resistance. An aging parent may be even more reluctant to move from their home if they’re moving across country to be near your family for support. So focus on the bright side of things and drive home that a sunny transfer to assisted living community in Mesa, Arizona or elsewhere, could offer a healthy change of scenery..

Have an open conversation as soon as necessary and share honest concerns about your parent’s well-being. Explain that you’re their advocate. Continue to approach the subject in a way that makes your parent feel like they made the choice, rather than being forced into abandoning their home. Ensure your parent that your family is a caregiving team who your mom or dad can count on no matter what.

Beyond the Game of Kings

Chess has been around for hundreds of years, and it’s always been associated with intelligence, strategy, and memory. But over the past decade—partly due to the increase in video and smartphone games—the Game of Kings, has lost some of its allure and its audience. This week we take a look at two great chess-like games [...]

Confessions of an Unexpected Stay-at-Home Dad + Dad’s Search for the Meaning of Life + Nutrition Deficit Disorder

[amazon asin=0451413334&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Adrian Kulp, author of Dad or Alive.
Topic:
Confessions of a stay-at-home dad.
Issues: One man’s hilarious journey from bringing home the bacon to frying it–along with assembling the crib, learning how to “accessorize” his daughter, flying with an infant for the first time, booze-free baby showers, and navigating a farmer’s market with a baby–and a loaded diaper–strapped to his chest.


[amazon asin=1602396493&template=thumbleft&chan=default]Joe Kita, author of The Father’s Guide to the Meaning of Life.
Topic:
What being a dad teaches about hope, love, patience, pride, and everyday wonder.
Issues: The life lessons parents learn—that would remain secrets if they didn’t have children; essential reading for fathers; the importance of play (and not just for the kids); what our children teach us about ourselves and how they make us better people.


[amazon asin=0316043443&template=thumbleft&chan=default]William Sears, author of The NDD Book.
Topic:
Nutritional Deficit Disorder.
Issues: Identifying NDD; understanding how NDD affects children’s learning, behavior, and health—and what we can do about it; overcoming NDD without drugs; how to fit a healthy, fresh-food diet into today’s busy lifestyle.

Dads Parent Just As Well As Moms

dads care just as good as mothers

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m seeing news stories all the time about how stay-at-home dads are becoming more common, and how fathers of all kinds are taking on a greater share of the parenting workload. While that sounds like it should be a good thing, I’m worried about how the kids will do. I have nothing against fathers, but after all, mothers are naturally better parents than fathers, aren’t they? So doesn’t it follow that they’d do better in life if they were raised primarily by their mothers?
A: In a word. “No.” In two words, “Hell, No.” I’ve been doing research and writing about fathers for nearly 20 years and I can assure you that there’s no scientific evidence to support the claim that women are naturally better at parenting than men No question, they’re better at being pregnant, giving birth, and breastfeeding, but when it comes to actually caring for children, the most important factor is not the sex of the parent, but the amount of time the parent spends with the child.
[Read more...]

Save Time and Money + Be a Parent not a Friend + From Parenting Chaos to Harmony

[amazon asin=0800721446&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Mary Hunt, author of Cheaper, Better, Faster
Topic:
The best advice you’ve ever heard to save time and money every day.
Issues: How to make everyday life less hectic and more enjoyable.

[amazon asin=0785228101&template=thumbnail&chan=default]E.D. Hill, author of I’m Not Your Friend, I’m Your Parent
Topic:
Helping your children set the boundaries they need…and really want
Issues: Why manners is job one and the concept of  “dressing for success” is not dead.

[amazon asin=0415989345&template=thumbnail&chan=default]Theresa Kellam, author of The Parent Survival Guide
Topic:
From chaos to harmony in ten weeks or less.
Issues: Making a loving connection, finding windows into your child’s inner world, speaking the language of play, promoting your child’s emotional maturity.

Here’s Looking at (and Listening to) You, Baby

Long gone are the days when mom and dad had to lie sleepless wondering whether they heard a cry or whimper from baby’s room down the hall. Today’s parents have a variety of technology to keep an eye—and an ear on baby from the next room or even from the office across town. For this column, we reviewed several Internet-enabled monitors, most of which work on private WIFI networks so there’s no fear of broadcasting your lives around the neighborhood to parents with similar devices. None of these monitors are cheap, but you’ll be able to get your money’s worth by using them as security monitors or nannycams after your baby gets older.

 

Peek Plus Internet Baby Monitor System

peek plus monitor parents@play

The Peek Plus has all the features you want. You can carry the included video monitor on your belt and watch it all over the. Or you can access video on your phone or Internet while Grandpa and Grandma (up to three viewers) see the same thing on a password-protected network. The only drawback here is the required bridge unit (included) that connects to your Ethernet network to make the WiFi work. This means another set of wires to deal with, though the bridge unit can be kept away from the camera. http://www.summerinfant.com

 

Withings Smart Baby Monitor

withings monitor parents@playA screenless monitor with a simple, clean design. The monitor itself looks like a white jewelry box that unfolds to reveal a simple 3MP lens. On the back, you’ll find just two plugs, Ethernet and mini-USB for recharging the battery. This is one of the few monitors that includes a bracket to attach the monitor on the side of a crib. It also plays lullabies and has a night light, two features that can both be controlled using the app from anywhere in the world. You can even take photos with the monitor with a 4X zoom and 90 degree pan that works with just a pinch or swipe of the finger. http://withings.com/en/babymonitor

 

Samsung SNH 1010 Smart Cam Monitor

samsung monitor parents@playThis is the monitor of choice for the social media-connected. It will send a tweet or email when there’s movement or sound from the baby’s room. It will also post motion- or sound-activated video and stills directly to YouTube and Picasa so you can quickly share with friends and the world. It runs on AC power and connects to the Internet via Ethernet or wirelessly. Up to 10 users can access the camera at the same time and an unlimited number of cameras can be added to the network. The SmartCam has night vision and even includes small speakers for two-way talk. http://www.samsung.com/us

 

IZON 2.0 WIFI Video Monitor

izon parents@playWe love the sleek look of the IZON, which has the look and feel of an Apple product and sets it apart from the rest of the crowd. This is a monitor for design lovers. It was easy to set up using a simple QR code that collects information on your local network. It was simple to use on our iPad and iPhone, and allows you to add multiple IZON cameras and view them at the same time. The IZON has motion and sound alerts, and can record up to 100 events for free to a designated cloud storage area. Sound and video are crisp, though not HD. However—and this is a big however—we can recommend the IZON only if your baby’s room always has a light on, since the monitor has neither LED nor infrared technology. http://steminnovation.com/