Parents stay in touch with Facebook

Coffee has been replaced with Facebook and mobile phone texts as the way parents catch up with their kids.
Coffee has been replaced with Facebook and mobile phone texts as the way parents catch up with their kids. Contributed

AFTER Rory left home for college in Gilmore Girls, she kept in touch with her mother Lorelai with daily phone calls and weekly dinners.

Kitty and the gang from Brothers and Sisters call their mother often multiple times a day and have regular family dinners and catch-ups.

In Packed to the Rafters, the adult children took things one step further and moved back into the family home.

Myself, I feel lost if I haven’t spoken to my mum in a few days and ring her regularly for long chats.

Relationships Australia Sunshine Coast manager Sue Miller said while the relationship often changed between parent and child, when the child grew up and moved out of the family home, strong, authentic bonds could still be possible as long as both parties were willing to work at keeping in contact.

While daily phone calls may have worked for Rory and Lorelai, Ms Miller said each parent had to work out what was right for them.

“Whether it be regular emails, or meeting up for a weekly family dinner or daily phone calls, it’s really individual,” she said.

In the age of technology, keeping in contact with family has never been easier.

“These days, parents (through Facebook) often know more about what their children are up to than what they did when they were living under the same roof,” Ms Miller said.

While she is quick to praise the benefits of keeping in touch through social media, she also stresses the importance of still making time for face-to-face connections.

“These kind of authentic face-to-face interactions are the essence of all healthy relationships,” she said. Dealing with an empty nest is another factor that parents must come to terms with.

“A lot of parents struggle with empty nest syndrome,” Ms Miller said.

“All of a sudden, parents have all this time and space and it can be quite overwhelming.”

Her advice to parents was to get back to themselves, to do the things that they enjoyed and might not have had the time or opportunity to do while the children were at home.

“It’s about rediscovering their (parents’) interests,” she said.

“Maybe they’ve always wanted to travel but couldn’t while the kids were at home.

“Now is the time to do this.”

She said keeping up the contact with the kids was also the way to lessen empty nest syndrome but to try and avoid becoming too demanding.

“Don’t set your expectations too high,” she said.

“Remember they have a life outside the family home now.”

For Peregian mum of four Julie Chizzoni, keeping in touch with her three adult children is very important.

Her two daughters call every second day for long chats and for mum’s advice about their own kids.

With her 21-year-old son, who lives in Mackay, she restricts her phone calls to once a week.

“He lives in a share house with a couple of mates and they tease him if I ring too much,” she said.

“He regards my weekly calls to his mobile as ‘chookin’ after him and we often joke about it. He secretly loves it.”

For Julie, Facebook is also an important part of keeping in touch with her family.

“My kids talked me into Facebook a couple of years ago and we’ll often share precious moments by uploading photos of family occasions,” she said.

Ways to keep in contact once the kids have left home:

  • Regular phone calls
  • Organise a regular catch-up, whether it be a weekly family dinner or a fortnightly coffee
  • Join social media networks to share photos and keep each other updated on life events
  • Send sporadic texts just to let them know you are thinking of them
  • Avoid smothering adult children – remember they have a life outside the family home
  • Don’t make your expectations too high or be too demanding

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