When our kids were young and living under our wing, parenting had a lot to do with setting boundaries. No, you may not go outside without me. Yes, you can have the car but you must be home by 10.
Now that they're grown up and living under their own powers, parenting still has a lot to do with setting boundaries--but this time it's all about our respecting those boundaries. An example of a worst-case scenario is in a recent column by Carolyn Hax. A woman in her mid-20s who lives in her own apartment and supports herself, complains that her parents "insist they are entitled to know my every move because they are my parents." If she doesn't respond to a phone message within 24 hours, they threaten to call the police. If she tries to withhold details of her Saturday night, "they become very angry and claim I'm disrespecting them."
If it sounds overboard and overly intrusive, it is. And yet, Hax assures the writer, "yours aren't the first parents to have boundary issues."
That's some of us she's talking about. The solution Hax suggests is for the daughter to employ a non-confrontational approach. She should answer general questions about how she is but if demands are made for "a transcript of Saturday night," the daughter can tell her parents that she's "not going to answer questions about tracking my movements." Another way to handle it, Hax says, is for the daughter to answer the question she wishes her parents had asked, as in "I'm doing great, thanks. How's work, Dad?"
When we find our kids evading our questions with that time-honored ploy, it may be a heads up that we're asking stuff that's over the boundary line. Hopefully, they'll tell all we need to know when they're ready.