When she moved in with her husband a few years ago, Aerynne Aiudi of New Britain quickly became exasperated with her stepchildren, who were in their late teens and early 20s. She felt they had the privileges of adulthood in the outside world while still acting like children at home. "They want to use the money from their jobs for fancy cars, cellphones, iPods," she said, "and they don't have any money for lights, phone, gas or food." She told them, "You can't do that. You can't be a kid sometimes and an adult other times. You've got to live in one world or the other." In East Haddam, a mother, who asked that her name not be published because it would strain family relationships, frets because her 35-year-old son seems so emotionally distant, though he lives nearby with his wife. When she asks them over for dinner, often he'll promise to call back with a decision, but instead the week slides by with her invitation just "fading away into the breeze." "It seems as if everybody is drifting apart," she says of her family. When she does see her son, she says, "I bite my tongue a lot to save the relationship."
"The 20s are the `gotta go' generation," said [Jane Isay]. "They need to find their independence and set limits on our involvement, but it's infuriating. ... They ask our advice; they never take it. It's `Hi, Mom, how are you?' You just get into it, and it's `gotta go.'"
With her daughter, she'd find sometimes that they'd be having a good conversation, perhaps she'd be helping with the preparations for dinner, and then a friend would call. "I've got to go," her daughter would say, and [Natalie Caine] would be left asking, "Wait, wait. You didn't clean up. What time are you coming back? Who are you going with?"