Tag: Families and Family Life

Introverts vs. Extroverts: a Family Feud

Please don’t make me stay at that party.

My husband has long had a greater appetite for socializing than I do; this was a semi-frequent clash of ours before the pandemic that was papered over during quarantine because nobody could go anywhere. It would come out in small ways as we were working in the same limited space (my husband likes to chat during the workday; I like to bury my face in a computer in a silent room), but mostly my preferences won out.

Now that we’re re-emerging into the world, the clash is back, and I realize it also extends to our children. Our little one is more like my husband, while our older daughter is more like me. She and I don’t mind seeing people, though sometimes we need to be coaxed into socializing — and always require downtime to recharge. The more extroverted pair can be endlessly out and about, with less recharging needed. None of us is at the extremes of introversion or extroversion, but there is tension when we’re trying to figure out family activities.

When I started talking to experts about how to navigate our differences, the first thing I learned is that not everyone agrees on the definitions of “introvert” and “extrovert,” and it’s essential to define terms if you’re going to assess your own family dynamics. Kenneth Rubin, a professor of human development at the University of Maryland, who has been studying social withdrawal for decades, said that “people throw around terms like ‘shyness,’ or ‘introversion,’ or ‘preference for solitude,’ or ‘social anxiety’ into one big box, when in fact they’re all rather different.”

Shyness is being reticent in social company. With preschoolers, Dr. Rubin said, shyness is based on a fear of the unknown; with older children and adults, it is based on the fear of being judged. Social anxiety is “shyness on steroids,” as Melinda Wenner Moyer put it in our guide on how to deal with shy children. “It’s a diagnosable disorder characterized by a fear of being watched and judged by others that is so intense and persistent that it disrupts daily life,” she wrote.

Introversion is a preference for solitude, and is sometimes defined as losing energy from social situations, while extroversion is gaining energy from social situations. “I really like energy as a shorthand for talking about the whole thing,” said Susan Cain, the author of “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking.” “I tell people to imagine themselves with company they’re truly enjoying and think about how they feel at about the two-to-three hour mark. As an extrovert, you’re wishing for the party to last. As an introvert, no matter how socially skilled you are, you do start to feel like your battery is drained and you need to recharge.” This definition resonated with me — after about two hours of socializing it’s like a switch flips inside me and I need to take a break from people, even if it’s just five minutes in the bathroom silently staring at my phone.

So how do you figure out whether your family members are shy or introverted, and how do you make sure everyone gets what they need, socially speaking? Here are some tips.

Figure out each family member’s preferences. For kids, start by observing them when they’re interacting with others. If they are anxious or disoriented at the playground — always sticking to the periphery instead of jumping into the fray, no matter how long you’re there — they may be shy, Dr. Rubin said. If, like my older daughter, they need a lot of coaxing to leave the house, but enjoy engaging once they’re in an activity, they are likely introverted.

For adults, ask yourself this question, said Ms. Cain: “Imagine if you had an entire weekend to yourself with no social, family, professional obligations. How would you spend your time?” The answer will reveal how much you really enjoy socializing and how much feels obligatory.

Working to understand everyone’s natures and preferences through observation and discussion may seem obvious, but “it’s not obvious at all,” Ms. Cain said. “Most families have unspoken, unrealized expectations about what is the right way to be,” she said. So if you are an introvert in an extroverted family, or vice-versa, your needs may be overlooked or misunderstood.

Discuss plans beforehand. Having discussions about weekend activities you might do as a family and letting everyone voice opinions is essential, said Kristine Nicolini, an assistant professor in the journalism department at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, who wrote her dissertation on introversion and family communication dynamics. You might agree to do two social things on a Saturday, but schedule down time in between play dates and barbecues.

It’s also worth being aware of the family dynamics when you’re socializing, Dr. Nicolini said. Extroverted family members can invite their more introverted siblings or spouses into conversations to make sure they feel included, she said.

Divide and conquer. Doing different activities to satisfy introverts and extroverts some of the time may help get everyone what they need, Ms. Cain said. My husband might take my younger daughter out to her favorite park, while my older daughter and I will stay home and putter and read. Everyone is happy. With us as a couple, my husband will see friends after the kids are in bed, while I stay home and watch TV and fold laundry. We are both living our best lives.

That doesn’t mean we always avoid conflict. Leisure time, especially when we get to go out together without our children, is a zero sum game. I prefer to spend this leisure time just the two of us, while he prefers hanging out with a larger group.

Sometimes we compromise by going out to dinner alone and then meeting friends later. Sometimes I head home before my husband, but am mildly annoyed about it. In a weird way, the pandemic has made me grateful to be back to these old irritations; I find them comforting, like a scratchy old blanket. I’m just so glad we can socialize again at all.

Ron Lieber: Invest in the People You Love

If you’re emerging from the pandemic in better financial shape than before, ask yourself this: What will you spend to renew your bonds, and how will you do it?

In early 2013, three years after the unexpected death of her husband, Chanel Reynolds posted a warning to those who had neglected the bonds that ought to matter most.

She had started a website to help people avoid a predicament she had found herself in after he died. His will had an executor but didn’t have signatures, and she didn’t know many of his passwords. The resulting red tape seemed as if it would suffocate her.

Her message to others, who might not know whom to put down in their will as a guardian for a child or an overseer of their estate, was this: “If you are at a loss for whom to name, get out there and tighten up your friends and family relationships. Find some better friends. Be a better friend. This is everything. This means everything.”

As many of us stumbled toward the light these last few months, I kept returning to her entreaty. Americans who have been lucky enough to keep their jobs have saved more money this past year than they had in decades. So it seems wise — urgent, even — to plot the best way to invest in our ties to other people.

Last week, when discussing the spare money that so many want to spend so quickly, I focused on the what — bigger and better emergency funds, and experiences rather than things. This week, I asked people who spend their professional lives thinking about relationships to address the who.

For all of Ms. Reynolds’s organizational foibles, she did not fail at friendship. When her husband, José Hernando, was near death in the hospital in 2009 after he was hit while riding his bicycle, her people came running. “I was on a sinking ship, shot out the few flares that I had and was hoping that they would come find me,” she said. “And they did.”

You can’t buy that kind of support at any price. But you can invest in it. In his book “Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning of Everyday Words,” the poet and walking-tour leader David Whyte observes that the ultimate touchstone of friendship is “the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another.”

It is hard to bear witness through Zoom. “I’m already plotting and planning to see all my friends in Britain and Europe,” Mr. Whyte told me this week, from his home on Whidbey Island in Washington.

This will not be cheap, for him or anyone else trying to snap up scarce airline seats. But it is restorative in a way we may not always realize. “You can see, through a very good friend, a bigger version of yourself,” he said. “They became friends with you because they saw something more than what you, perhaps, see every day.”

Erica Woodland, a licensed clinical social worker and the founding director of the National Queer & Trans Therapists of Color Network, put out a plea for people to remember how extended circles of more loosely affiliated people rallied around one another these past 15 months. Mutual aid networks sprang up to provide food and help in neighborhoods all over the country.

Maybe you had no need, didn’t know about the networks, or didn’t or couldn’t pitch in or form your own group for whatever reason. But for others, they were essential.

“We don’t expect folks outside of our community to actually care for us,” Mr. Woodland said. “There is a practice of care that is not new to our communities but became more interwoven thanks to the intersecting challenges of 2020.”

These organizations are exemplary not just because they facilitate the basics of care and feeding. They also help people navigate confounding systems, like overloaded state unemployment departments.

And it is this mutuality that can make any money you spend within your own friend or family circles feel less like an awkward act of charity. Instead, it becomes more like a reciprocal act — or an investment in your own future care. I learned this intimately on the receiving end, during my own period of grief this year, when members of my synagogue kept showing up to feed my family and me.

There are a number of ways to put all of this into practice. If you’re trying to get the gang back together someplace far away, as Mr. Whyte is with his pals in Europe, you could offer to pay for a shared rental house if you’re the most flush.

Elizabeth Dunn, the co-author with Michael Norton of “Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending” and the chief scientist of a company called Happy Money, suggested a more subtle twist: If you’re trying to reconnect with a long-lost friend who has less money than you, just tell that person you’re going to get on the plane for a visit. It’s the type of prosocial investment in others that Professor Dunn’s research has shown will pay off in your own contentedness.

During the pandemic, Ms. Reynolds, who lives in Seattle, paid for a lawyer to help relatives of a deceased friend from Minneapolis who were trying to navigate the legal process after her death. “Going through probate alone is like walking through a country where they speak a language that you have never even heard before,” she said.

Having the money to pay to help friends is not a requirement, though. In the years after her husband’s death, Ms. Reynolds found herself easily remembering the birthdays and death anniversaries that people close to her were marking — or was just more inclined to text when she was thinking of them.

“One version of this is ‘I have more, so I will spend more to care for the people I love,’” said Mr. Woodland, the social worker who runs the therapist network. “I also think it’s almost easier to spend money than to spend time, to say that ‘I prioritize you and want to know you in a more intimate way.’”

Among couples with children, time has often been its own fraught asset these 15 months. Even if you won back your commuting time, you may have been stuffed in a home with two adults working and children who needed all manner of supervision. It has been a form of quality time, perhaps, but maybe not precisely what you needed to renew or reinforce your romantic bonds.

To people seeking to shore those up, Eve Rodsky offers a counterintuitive possibility: Be as thoughtful about spending time apart as you are about time together. Ms. Rodsky, the author of “Fair Play: A Game-Changing Solution for When You Have Too Much to Do (and More Life to Live),” learned this from surveying 1,000 members of the community that she has built around her work.

Many people have changed during the pandemic. Maybe your partner has in ways you haven’t even recognized. So offering time — and a budget — toward whomever that person wants to become is its own act of service.

“The permission to be unavailable to each other is the investment that they have in each other,” Ms. Rodsky said in a recent interview. Now, she and her husband each have a weekend day to themselves; she has Saturday this week.

This year, Ms. Reynolds got engaged, which set off a whole new round of bond-forging investments, including making plans to buy a home with her intended.

Given her experience in 2009, she took her own advice about making sure that some of the most important things in life could persist even if the worst happened to her next husband.

“I said — in what I hoped was a beautiful and loving way — that if he dies before the mortgage is paid off, that I needed him to up his life insurance to cover his share,” she said. “And he said, ‘OK.’ It was kind of amazing.”

What We are Looking Forward to This Summer

Ahead of Memorial Day, and the unofficial start of summer, we asked readers to share what they are looking forward to most in the coming months. More than 100 people wrote in from across the United States with their post-pandemic plans. Here are a select few, edited and condensed for clarity.


My irrepressible, funny granddaughter is coming to stay for two weeks and we will visit the zoo, the aquarium, several museums and the local plunge pool. We’ll mask up and avoid restaurants, but having adventures together after a year of isolation will bring some excitement back to our lives. — Betty Smith, Vermillion, S.D.

I can’t wait to throw a real party, a bash, a cocktail party, a party with a theme or costumes! I can’t wait to say, “Sure, bring a friend!” But we’re not ready for that yet. We did throw a very small dinner party for a few fully vaccinated friends. I felt like I couldn’t remember how to dress up. I put a cashmere sweater over the sweatpants I wear daily — I split the difference! — Heather La Riviere, Chicago

I’m looking forward to meeting my new baby niece for the first time. I didn’t get to be with my sister at all during her pregnancy since we live on opposite sides of the country and she got pregnant in August 2020. — Chloe Nagle, Colorado Springs

Our 3-year-old cannot wait to swim once again in my aunt and uncle’s pool with all her cousins. And I will cry tears of joy once the border between Canada and the United States reopens and we can see my dad and brother who both live in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. — B. Reusch Serapio, Oshawa, Ontario

Road tripping to see my parents and brothers (most of whom I haven’t hugged in nearly two years), getting back to singing in choir and finding more time to ride a real bicycle. — Jen Milius, Portland, Ore.

On March 11, 2020, my friends Kelly and Nicole and I decided to hold off on meeting for drinks that Friday — “Seems risky,” Kelly said. As of this coming Monday we will all reach full immunity and we will finally meet for drinks. The last thing I canceled then is the first thing I’m doing now! — Kate Premo, Montclair, N.J.

What I am truly looking forward to this summer, if all goes well, is in-person summer camp for my children. The pandemic and lockdowns have been hard on all of us, but keeping children at home for so long has been very hard for them and moms. I wouldn’t want to go as far as a concert or a party. But I would love to have my children explore and interact with other children. They miss it and I miss having time and space to do anything other than try (and fail) to distract them. — Lina Garcia De la Ossa, Miami Beach, Fla.

The need to reconnect now feels urgent. I am craving face-to-face, meaningful interactions with people outside our immediate family circle and our dog and cat, who have been elevated to almost human level during the pandemic. I took entertaining for granted before, often looking at it as something I had to plan for. It meant we didn’t entertain often. Now I want to fling open the doors and have our home filled with the friends and family we have missed. It doesn’t matter if we eat on a china plate or a paper plate or have a home-cooked meal or a pizza. — Sally Mathew, Birmingham, Ala.

I am looking forward to wearing lipstick this summer. Not a light color that matches your gums, but a real stains-the-napkin-at-lunch bright coral. Something that isn’t going back behind a mask. That is when I will know we have moved on. — Becky Schaeffer, Atlanta

I am attending a small, masked, distanced outdoor concert in Santa Cruz, Calif., a big step toward the new normal. I’m going with my concert buddy girlfriend, who was my companion at the last show I attended in January 2020. — Mara J. Wildfeuer, Mountain View, Calif.

My friends and I have been meeting together every summer and planning a trip for the past 11 years or so. Last year was tough not seeing them. This year we’re going on a canoe trip together and I can’t wait. We’re all vaccinated, have been diligent and safe throughout the pandemic, and we’re excited to have a moment of normalcy together out in the woods. There are things I’m not quite ready to do (eat inside being one) but more and more, as vaccination rates go up, I’ve started to feel moments of regularity that have shined through. It’s a vaxxed-up summer! — Jared Smith, Boston

Traveling to Capri and Positano for a wedding in September. — Mary Bairstow, Atlanta

I’m looking forward to being spontaneous! Living in the moment with no reservations. — Robin Berman, Briarcliff Manor, N.Y.

I’m looking forward to sitting in a park and feeling content with where I’m at with the world. I’m looking forward to smelling fresh cut grass without a mask. Listening to birds sing on branches above me. Watching the way the sun looks as it peeks behind the distant clouds. I’m looking forward to focusing on these pleasant sensory details and nothing else. I’ve waited a long time to move to New York and the pandemic pushed it back another year. But last week, I took a plane and then a train and then a cab. And now I’m standing in a shower that’s too small. I’m cooking in a kitchen that’s too crowded. I’m lugging bags of groceries up five flights of stairs. And I love it. — Samuel Eaton, New York

I’m most looking forward to the usual summer of backyard grilling with family, friends and neighbors unencumbered by masks, constant sanitizer wiping, bringing one’s own plates and cutlery and the awkwardness of asking if it’s OK to use the bathroom. To greet guests with hugs, share the same bottle of wine and literally break bread together. — Christina Tunnah, Berkeley, Calif.

I look forward to the return of Parkrun USA. It is not just a free weekly timed 5K, it is the most supportive and encouraging group of runners (and walkers) I’ve ever been associated with. I miss the community! — Tricia Jones, Ann Arbor, Mich.

Road trips by myself. There is nothing I like as much as the open highway and freedom to stop anywhere interesting. Getting lost is just an added adventure. — Patty deVille, Tempe, Ariz.

I am looking forward to surfing as much as I can. Summer means thinner wet suits, warmer waters, more sunlight and mellower waves. I started surfing in the thick of the pandemic but being vaccinated and knowing my fellow surfers in the water are as well means more relaxed and welcoming vibes. — Jean Kim, Los Angeles

At 63, I plan on seeing as much live music as possible! Before the pandemic, this wasn’t important to me — now it is; life is short, but music is everywhere. — Sue Leach, Yarmouth, Mass.

River rafting on the South Fork of the American River, plus two nights camping in a tent on the river’s edge. I’m just so happy to get out of my apartment for a couple of nights. I love my little studio on a quiet, dead end street — but after spending 22 hours a day inside for over a year, I’m longing to see the night sky and a lot of trees, and to be in nature. — Marjorie Pryor, San Francisco

I’m looking forward to a reunion in my home state of Nebraska with many of my 20-plus cousins on my dad’s side of the family. Last November our last remaining uncle (out of a family of nine siblings) died of Covid at the age of 87. Because of the pandemic most of us were not able to attend the funeral but vowed to meet up for a reunion over July 4 this summer. I just retired from the State Department and haven’t seen most of them in more than 10 years so I am excited to see everyone again! — Gwen Bedient, Carmichael, Calif.

I’m most excited about nightlife in L.A. returning with a bang. I miss a martini (or two) at Sunset Tower or the Sunset Marquis, watching (and tipping) the amazing performers at Jumbo’s Clown Room, and a night of dancing at A Club Called Rhonda or underneath the disco ball ceiling at the WeHo Edition. So many people are talking about a New Roaring Twenties kicking off this summer and I am definitely ready. I would also love for my name to go back to its association with a beloved beer instead of a lethal pandemic. — Victor P. Corona, Los Angeles

My husband and I live in California with our two kids. But I grew up in New Jersey and my dad and brothers and their families are still there. I haven’t seen most of them since March 2020. They haven’t seen my kids since Christmas 2019. We are going to drive across the country this summer to spend a month at the Jersey Shore, like I did as a kid. I am looking forward to the kids spending long days in the sand with their cousins, digging holes and giggling over melting ice cream cones, wasting hours and money in the arcade, riding roller coasters at sunset and eating french fries for dinner. I am looking forward to grilling dinners on my dad’s patio, to cocktails in water bottles smuggled onto the beach, to not spending hours in the car driving around Los Angeles on a schedule predetermined by child care and commutes to jobs. — Lauren Martino, Los Angeles

Going without a mask. Taking in a movie that isn’t on my television. Getting together with friends and families and not being worried about it. Knowing that I will not make someone else ill. Enjoying life once again. — Shirley Shanley, Harstine Island, Wash.

I’m reminded of a scene from the film “Doctor Zhivago.” Strelnikov, the Bolshevik military commander, asks a captured Zhivago what he wants out of life. Zhivago replies, “To live.” — Tom Sullivan, San Clemente, Calif.

As Restrictions Loosen, Families Travel Far and Spend Big

Newly vaccinated families are opting for private jets, luxury resorts and guided tours in elaborate new twists on the old-fashioned family reunion.

Jeff Belcher, 41, wouldn’t necessarily have chosen Williamsburg, Va., as the destination for his family’s first vacation since travel restrictions began to ease. But when his extended family decided to travel to the American Revolution-era town for a reunion this summer, he knew that he, his wife and their three children wouldn’t miss it.

Their group of 18, which will include his parents, his sister, his aunt and uncle, and his mother-in-law and sister-in-law, will gather at the end of July and stay in several adjoining rented condos. There are plans to visit historical battlefields, check out the recreations of Jamestown Settlement ships, and enjoy outdoor meals while the family’s youngest generation — eight kids in total — play together after more than a year apart.

Far-flung families are combining traveling and being together — two of the most longed-for practices during more than a year of pandemic lockdowns — into elaborate new twists on the old-fashioned family reunion. In a recent survey by Wyndham Destinations, the nation’s largest timeshare company, 75 percent of respondents said they were planning to travel for a family reunion in 2021; in a March survey from American Express Travel, 71 percent of respondents said they planned to travel to visit loved ones they hadn’t been able to see during the pandemic, and 60 percent said a 2021 family reunion was in the works.

At Woodloch, a Pennsylvania family resort in the Pocono Mountains, bookings for 2021 are outpacing 2019.
At Woodloch, a Pennsylvania family resort in the Pocono Mountains, bookings for 2021 are outpacing 2019.

Properties that cater to large-scale gatherings are feeling the windfall. At Woodloch, a Pennsylvania family resort in the Pocono Mountains, multigenerational travel has always been their bread and butter. But bookings for 2021 are already outpacing 2019, with 117 reservations currently on the books (2019 saw 162 bookings total). “Demand is stronger than it has ever been,” said Rory O’Fee, Woodloch’s director of marketing.

Salamander Hotels & Resorts, which has five properties in Florida, Virginia, South Carolina and Jamaica, has seen 506 family reunions already booked in 2021, accounting for $2.47 million in revenue. In the full calendar year of 2019, they saw only 368 events total, worth about $1.31 million. Club Med said that 16 percent of its 2021 bookings are multigenerational, compared with 3 percent in 2019.

Guided tours are also newly becoming more popular with families looking to reunite: Guy Young, president of Insight Vacations, launched several new small private group trips — which can be booked for as few as 12 people and include a private bus and travel director — after noting that extended families accounted for 20 percent of his business in March and April, compared to a prepandemic average of 8 percent. “Coming out of Covid, with families separated for many months, we saw a significant increase in demand for multigenerational family travel,” he said.

Reuniting at long last

Mr. Belcher hopes his family’s reunion trip to Williamsburg, which will require a nearly nine-hour drive from his home in Livonia, Mich., will offer an opportunity to mend some of the tensions that have built up in the past year. Mr. Belcher and his wife, Stephanie, a financial educator, have been strict about mask-wearing for themselves and their children, who are 9, 5 and almost 6 months. Other family members have been more relaxed, which is one of the reasons they have spent so many months apart. “I am hoping to make some post-Covid memories, starting to hopefully put some of this behind us,” Mr. Belcher said, noting that all the adults attending the reunion will be vaccinated, and as long as there are no additional strangers in the room, they will allow their children to be unmasked, just like the adults, at indoor family events. “Before all of this happened, we were a very close family.”

Traveling together will also offer families a chance to reconnect offline after many months of Skype and screen time.

Esther Palevsky, 70, lives in Solon, Ohio, and hasn’t seen her 7-year-old grandson, Sylvester, since before the pandemic. So this summer, she and her husband, Mark, 71, will fly to Reno, Nev. — their first flight in more than a year — and then drive to California’s Lake Tahoe. Ms. Palevsky’s daughter, Stacey, and her son-in-law, Ben Lewis, will drive with Sylvester from San Francisco to meet them, and the family will spend several nights at an Airbnb in the Sierra Nevada mountains. It will be a new experience for Mr. and Ms. Palevsky, who prefer to take cruises when they have vacation time. Neither has ever been to Lake Tahoe, and they have limited experience with Airbnb. The location and accommodations, said Ms. Palevsky, didn’t matter much. She just wants to squeeze her grandson.

“Just thinking about hugging him again, I get teary-eyed,” said Ms. Palevsky, who has been reading chapter books with Sylvester over video chat throughout the pandemic in order to stay in touch. “I’m sure I’ll see Sylvester and think about how big he looks. On the tablet, you just can’t tell.”

Sandy Pappas, the owner of Sandy Pappas Travel, said that on an average year, 5 percent of her clients are booking family reunion trips. This year, that number is already between 15 and 20 percent.

“I do a lot of family travel but it’s usually just a family of four or five. Now I’m getting two adult kids and their families and grandparents, and sometimes both sets of grandparents. And everyone is spending more money because nobody ate out or traveled in 2020, so they have funds left over,” she said.

In the Caribbean, the Mandarin Oriental on Canouan is a popular destination for family reunions.

Not your old-fashioned family reunion

Domestic destinations are popular, Ms. Pappas said, but so is the Caribbean.

On Canouan, a tiny crescent-shaped island in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Mandarin Oriental is fielding frequent requests for family reunions from Americans as well as travelers from Britain and Germany. The groups range from eight to 11 guests, said the general manager, Duarte Correia. “Many of our guests want to reunite with loved ones they have only been able to connect with by phone or on the virtual video platforms, like Zoom, for a year or more,” he said.

At ÀNI Private Resorts’s property in the Dominican Republic, 11 of the 16 bookings for this summer, which are all property buyouts, are for family reunions. The resort says that’s a 35 percent increase over 2019’s traffic. At the Four Seasons Resort in Anguilla, four- and five-bedroom villas were totally sold out over spring break, and reservations for this summer are 25 percent higher than they were in 2019. The Tryall Club, meanwhile, an all-villa property in Jamaica, has seen a 294 percent increase in overall bookings, and says 70 percent of those are for families or multigenerational groups.

While the demand for travel across all sectors is high, family travel was predicted to eventually lead the way for the industry’s rebound after a staggering collapse. Travel advisers spent most of 2020 creating socially distanced itineraries for nuclear families that were already living together during lockdown. But now, they say, the most popular type of family trip is the reunion that brings far-flung relatives back into the fold. Kate Johnson, the owner of KJ Travel in Houston, says she has seen a sixfold increase in family reunion travel compared to last year, and she expects the number to continue to climb. She is also planning her own family reunion trip with 17 family members, including her daughters, their grandparents, cousins and aunts, to Disney World in Florida, in November.

“When I get requests and I see how tight availability is for accommodation, it definitely makes me feel a sense of urgency to get my own family to start planning,” she said.

Properties are leaning into the trend, rolling out packages geared toward family reunions and even hiring dedicated staff to shepherd the events.

After noticing that a nearly 20 percent spike in bookings was coming from seniors looking to reconnect with younger family, the Deer Path Inn, in Lake Forest, Ill., relaunched its Gramping Getaway Package, which includes an outdoor scavenger hunt and an afternoon tea that can be enjoyed by all ages, including little ones as well as Gram and Gramps.

Meanwhile, the Westin Cape Coral Resort at Marina Village created a new staff position to oversee such group trips: Chief Reunion Officer. Tosha Wollney, who was promoted to the position from her previous post of senior catering sales executive, will be busy: In 2019 the property had two family reunions, and in the last five weeks alone, they’ve booked five.

The average size of the groups, she said, is between 30 and 40 family members. Her work involves customizing dinner menus to incorporate family recipes, creating specialty cocktails named after the family, and planning recreational activities like cornhole, fishing and golf tournaments.

“It’s not like 20 years ago, when families would run around with potato sacks,” she said. “It’s more sophisticated.”

Private jets, budget-busting plans

And after using the act of planning for future travel to get many isolated families through the darkest months of the pandemic, many of the reunions on the books are truly budget-bustingPrivate jet travel, which surged during the pandemic, is increasingly popular among large families. Jessica Fisher, the founder of the aviation marketplace Flyjets, said private jet bookings for families on her site have doubled since last year. “There is this readiness to ‘move’ in safe ways among groups, especially for those who are choosing to reunite with extended family,” she said in an email.

Spending is up, as well, as families splurge on longer and more elaborate trips together than they might have prepandemic. “During the worst of Covid, when people were unable to see their grandparents, what started happening was clients planning these epic, complex itineraries for the future,” said Brendan Drewniany, the communications director for the luxury travel company Black Tomato. “The rise of multigenerational is the biggest trend we can track.”

The company has seen a 70 percent increase in multigenerational bookings over the past two months, and a 55 percent increase in average spending for family trips. Last month, they debuted five new travel itineraries called “Take Me On a Story,” each offering real-world immersions in scenes from classic children’s books and aimed directly at children and grandparents traveling together.

“People want to make up for lost time,” Mr. Drewniany said. “They’re really open to where they go. They just want to be together.”


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Teens Are in Crisis. So Are Their Parents.

The pandemic turned Tiffany Lee’s home into a battlefield.

Wary of illness, Ms. Lee started taking precautions back in March 2020. She asked her 15-year-old son, Bowen Deal, known as Bo, to practice social distancing. She insisted he wear masks. But that didn’t sit well with him, because many people in their rural town didn’t follow such rules, she said.

“He would see all of his classmates having pool parties and going bowling and he’s angry at me because I won’t let him go,” she said of Bo, a freshman in high school in Metter, Ga., outside of Savannah. “He thinks I’m the bad parent because Mom is standing between me and my friends.”

Normally, the teenage years are when children separate from their parents, but today’s teens have been spending more time at home than ever. Adolescents who yearn to rove in packs found themselves confined to their bedrooms, chatting with the pixelated images on their screens.

“The group that is suffering the most” in terms of isolation “is 13- to 24-year-olds,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute in New York City. “They are losing out on being allowed to separate. They’re having trouble with their academic goals. Many of the things they have been working for are gone.”

But as hard as it is to be a teen today, it’s draining being the parent of one. A national poll of parents of teens, released in March by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, found parents toggling between different tactics, trying to keep their children’s mental health afloat. About half of those surveyed said their teen’s mental health had changed or worsened in the pandemic. In response, half of these parents tried relaxing family Covid-19 rules, or social media rules. One-third spoke to a teacher or school counselor about their child; nearly 30 percent reported seeking formal mental health help.

“There’s been no prep for this,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and the author of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid For Adulthood.”

“Most of us haven’t had anything remotely resembling practice” with a pandemic, she said, “so we’ve had to flail, while simultaneously performing the part of a parent who kids can rely on for emotional support.”

“It’s no wonder,” she said, “that we are at the end of our ropes.”

The availability of effective vaccines, while welcome, introduces new uncertainties, she said. Will normal return? When will it come? What even is normal now?

“We’re just in a state of suspended animation,” she said. “We are in limbo, quite literally. That really creates some existential worries: Am I going to be all right? Is my family going to be all right?”

Trust your kids.

For Ms. Lee, 43, conflict with her son came to a head in January. Ms. Lee had just spent a holiday season dodging profanities flung at her by customers who didn’t want to wear masks in her clothing boutique. Meanwhile, Bo demanded that he be allowed to return to school in person.

The Lees’ house rules requires Bo to plan dinner a few days a week.
The Lees’ house rules requires Bo to plan dinner a few days a week.Stephen B. Morton for The New York Times
The Lees restricted Bo’s use of electronic entertainment, except for his cellphone. Stephen B. Morton for The New York Times

“I was at my wits’ end, and I couldn’t fight him anymore,” she said. She said she told him that if he got Covid-19 and brought it home to the family, “this is on you. You understand this, right?”

A certain level of autonomy is important to teens, but in the pandemic they’ve had very little, said Jennifer Kolari, author of “Connected Parenting: How to Raise a Great Kidand a San Diego-based therapist and parenting coach who leads workshops on parenting. For some, during the pandemic, their own messy bedrooms may be the only place they feel they have control, she said.

She suggests making an appointment with your teen, for later in the day or during the week, to discuss whatever issue keeps drawing the two of you into a fight.

“You can say, ‘Later tonight, we’re going to have a sit-down, and I want to hear your plan,’” she said. “‘I trust that you have a plan, and if you could let me in on that plan, that would really help.’”

Grapple with racism.

Amid racial tension and hate crimes, including the wave of anti-Asian violence this spring, many parents of color have tried to help their children process racism and civic unrest.

Thea Monyeé, a therapist in Los Angeles, watched her three Black teenage daughters getting into social media battles while she and her husband struggled to figure out how to best support them. The couple “didn’t want to police that process,” she said. “They needed to be angry for a while.” On the other hand, if one of the girls needed a place to vent frustration or rage, “we had to provide that, and then when they were sad or disappointed or hurt, we had to have those conversations.”

Thea Monyeé, in red skirt, is a therapist, podcaster and mother of three teenage daughters, Talani Wilson, left, 16, Taya Wilson, second from right, 17, and Lexington Winkler, right, 13. Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Meanwhile, Ms. Monyeé juggled her own work — including starting a business and hosting a podcast — with her daughters’ issues with remote school, all while people close to her struggled with Covid-19 and loss of income. She and her husband had to constantly remind each other, she said, “to make space for ourselves.”

Ragin Johnson finds she’s more terrified than ever for her 17-year-old son, a tall young Black man who has autism. “He’s a very friendly kid,” said Ms. Johnson, 43, a fifth-grade teacher in Columbia, S.C., “and I don’t want anybody to get the wrong impression, thinking he’s aggressive when he’s just very playful.”

She worries constantly about what might happen when her son heads out into the world alone. Between his impaired understanding of social interactions and his limited grasp of racial politics, “he doesn’t really understand what’s going on,” Ms. Johnson said. “I try to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere without me, but I can’t keep doing that.”

As she and other parents have learned in the pandemic, there may not be perfect solutions to all the challenges that have come up. Even a question as simple as “when will this be over?” can feel unanswerable. But experts say there are ways to make this stressful time more manageable.

Create different paths for connection.

If every conversation ends in a fight — or if your sullen teen won’t even start a conversation with you — try a different tactic. Offer to go on a drive with your child, but under specific conditions. “Let them be the D.J.,” Ms. Kolari said. “And you, you zip it. Do not use this moment to lecture them. Let your kids talk.”

If they do open up, then or later, try not to fix their problems. “You listen, and listen hard,” Mr. Koplewicz said. “You validate what they’re saying. Then, when they’re ready, you say, ‘OK, what’s next?’”

Ask for help.

If your child seems unusually blue or emotionally fragile, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Mr. Koplewicz was not a fan of teletherapy prepandemic, but the successes he’s seen with it over the last year have made him a convert, he said. Ms. Lee found an online therapist at BetterHelp.com, who helped her and Bo navigate this rocky time. “This past year,” she said, “therapy has kept me from going off the deep end.”

Taya Wilson outside the family’s home in Pasadena, Calif.Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times
Ms. Monyeé said she and her husband had to remind each other “to make space for ourselves.”Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

But therapy is not the only kind of support. Ms. Johnson leaned on a tight-knit group of girlfriends. “As a society we are trained to worry and try to control things,” said Patrick Possel, director of Cardinal Success Program, which provides free mental health services for uninsured and underinsured people in Louisville, Ky. Many of the program’s clients are dealing with multiple crises, from job and housing insecurity to abuse and their own mental health struggles. When a teenager in the house starts to struggle, parents may say they are out of resources to tackle this problem as well. But Mr. Possel and his colleagues urge them to look around. They ask clients, “Is there a network, a friend, a professional, who can help you?” he said.

Take care of yourself.

Liz Lindholm supervises the remote schooling of her 12-year-old twin girls and 18-year-old son at their home in Federal Way, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, while working in health care administration.

What’s been most challenging this year “is the work-life balance,” she said, “where work doesn’t end and school doesn’t really end and everything just kind of blends together.”

A 41-year-old single mother, Ms. Lindholm doesn’t have much time for self-care or even treats, but occasionally, she steals a moment to pour herself a soda — ideally, a Coke. It’s a small balm, given the sizable strain on her life. But for now, it’s the best she can manage. In this, experts say, she’s not alone.

For at least 30 minutes — or as long as three hours, if she can — Ms. Monyeé meditates, writes in her journal, practices yoga, even dances. Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Ms. Monyeé depended on her “morning ritual” this past year. For at least 30 minutes — or as long as three hours, if she can — she meditates, writes in her journal, practices yoga, even dances. “We’re not just mothers,” she said. “We are people who have dreams, who have needs, who have desires. Giving myself permission to be a full person has been essential.”

When parents fall apart, Mr. Koplewicz said, everyone suffers. “Self care is child care,” he said. “Are you managing to sleep seven or eight hours a night? Are you doing something spiritual?”

Many of the parents who come to Cardinal Success lack both time and private space. But that doesn’t mean they lack all resources, Mr. Possel said. “We ask them, ‘What are you doing? What does not work? Where do you have the energy to try something new?’”

Trying something new — returning to school in January — turned out to be the key for Ms. Lee and her son.

To Ms. Lee’s happy surprise, Bo is one of very few students wearing a mask when she picks him up from school. One day, on the way home in the car, he told her he was startled to discover his friends didn’t understand how vaccines work. She’s since noticed a shift in his friend group, and she says that the tension at home has noticeably lessened.

“I think our relationship is stronger now, especially since I’ve had to trust him to go off and make his own decisions,” she said. “I’m not the evil mom he thought I was. And I’m gaining new respect for him.”


Teens Are in Crisis. So Are Their Parents.

The pandemic turned Tiffany Lee’s home into a battlefield.

Wary of illness, Ms. Lee started taking precautions back in March 2020. She asked her 15-year-old son, Bowen Deal, known as Bo, to practice social distancing. She insisted he wear masks. But that didn’t sit well with him, because many people in their rural town didn’t follow such rules, she said.

“He would see all of his classmates having pool parties and going bowling and he’s angry at me because I won’t let him go,” she said of Bo, a freshman in high school in Metter, Ga., outside of Savannah. “He thinks I’m the bad parent because Mom is standing between me and my friends.”

Normally, the teenage years are when children separate from their parents, but today’s teens have been spending more time at home than ever. Adolescents who yearn to rove in packs found themselves confined to their bedrooms, chatting with the pixelated images on their screens.

“The group that is suffering the most” in terms of isolation “is 13- to 24-year-olds,” said Harold S. Koplewicz, president and medical director of the Child Mind Institute in New York City. “They are losing out on being allowed to separate. They’re having trouble with their academic goals. Many of the things they have been working for are gone.”

But as hard as it is to be a teen today, it’s draining being the parent of one. A national poll of parents of teens, released in March by C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, found parents toggling between different tactics, trying to keep their children’s mental health afloat. About half of those surveyed said their teen’s mental health had changed or worsened in the pandemic. In response, half of these parents tried relaxing family Covid-19 rules, or social media rules. One-third spoke to a teacher or school counselor about their child; nearly 30 percent reported seeking formal mental health help.

“There’s been no prep for this,” said Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshmen at Stanford University and the author of “How to Raise an Adult: Break Free of the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid For Adulthood.”

“Most of us haven’t had anything remotely resembling practice” with a pandemic, she said, “so we’ve had to flail, while simultaneously performing the part of a parent who kids can rely on for emotional support.”

“It’s no wonder,” she said, “that we are at the end of our ropes.”

The availability of effective vaccines, while welcome, introduces new uncertainties, she said. Will normal return? When will it come? What even is normal now?

“We’re just in a state of suspended animation,” she said. “We are in limbo, quite literally. That really creates some existential worries: Am I going to be all right? Is my family going to be all right?”

Trust your kids.

For Ms. Lee, 43, conflict with her son came to a head in January. Ms. Lee had just spent a holiday season dodging profanities flung at her by customers who didn’t want to wear masks in her clothing boutique. Meanwhile, Bo demanded that he be allowed to return to school in person.

The Lees’ house rules requires Bo to plan dinner a few days a week.
The Lees’ house rules requires Bo to plan dinner a few days a week.Stephen B. Morton for The New York Times
The Lees restricted Bo’s use of electronic entertainment, except for his cellphone. Stephen B. Morton for The New York Times

“I was at my wits’ end, and I couldn’t fight him anymore,” she said. She said she told him that if he got Covid-19 and brought it home to the family, “this is on you. You understand this, right?”

A certain level of autonomy is important to teens, but in the pandemic they’ve had very little, said Jennifer Kolari, author of “Connected Parenting: How to Raise a Great Kidand a San Diego-based therapist and parenting coach who leads workshops on parenting. For some, during the pandemic, their own messy bedrooms may be the only place they feel they have control, she said.

She suggests making an appointment with your teen, for later in the day or during the week, to discuss whatever issue keeps drawing the two of you into a fight.

“You can say, ‘Later tonight, we’re going to have a sit-down, and I want to hear your plan,’” she said. “‘I trust that you have a plan, and if you could let me in on that plan, that would really help.’”

Grapple with racism.

Amid racial tension and hate crimes, including the wave of anti-Asian violence this spring, many parents of color have tried to help their children process racism and civic unrest.

Thea Monyeé, a therapist in Los Angeles, watched her three Black teenage daughters getting into social media battles while she and her husband struggled to figure out how to best support them. The couple “didn’t want to police that process,” she said. “They needed to be angry for a while.” On the other hand, if one of the girls needed a place to vent frustration or rage, “we had to provide that, and then when they were sad or disappointed or hurt, we had to have those conversations.”

Thea Monyeé, in red skirt, is a therapist, podcaster and mother of three teenage daughters, Talani Wilson, left, 16, Taya Wilson, second from right, 17, and Lexington Winkler, right, 13. Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Meanwhile, Ms. Monyeé juggled her own work — including starting a business and hosting a podcast — with her daughters’ issues with remote school, all while people close to her struggled with Covid-19 and loss of income. She and her husband had to constantly remind each other, she said, “to make space for ourselves.”

Ragin Johnson finds she’s more terrified than ever for her 17-year-old son, a tall young Black man who has autism. “He’s a very friendly kid,” said Ms. Johnson, 43, a fifth-grade teacher in Columbia, S.C., “and I don’t want anybody to get the wrong impression, thinking he’s aggressive when he’s just very playful.”

She worries constantly about what might happen when her son heads out into the world alone. Between his impaired understanding of social interactions and his limited grasp of racial politics, “he doesn’t really understand what’s going on,” Ms. Johnson said. “I try to make sure he doesn’t go anywhere without me, but I can’t keep doing that.”

As she and other parents have learned in the pandemic, there may not be perfect solutions to all the challenges that have come up. Even a question as simple as “when will this be over?” can feel unanswerable. But experts say there are ways to make this stressful time more manageable.

Create different paths for connection.

If every conversation ends in a fight — or if your sullen teen won’t even start a conversation with you — try a different tactic. Offer to go on a drive with your child, but under specific conditions. “Let them be the D.J.,” Ms. Kolari said. “And you, you zip it. Do not use this moment to lecture them. Let your kids talk.”

If they do open up, then or later, try not to fix their problems. “You listen, and listen hard,” Mr. Koplewicz said. “You validate what they’re saying. Then, when they’re ready, you say, ‘OK, what’s next?’”

Ask for help.

If your child seems unusually blue or emotionally fragile, don’t be afraid to reach out for help. Mr. Koplewicz was not a fan of teletherapy prepandemic, but the successes he’s seen with it over the last year have made him a convert, he said. Ms. Lee found an online therapist at BetterHelp.com, who helped her and Bo navigate this rocky time. “This past year,” she said, “therapy has kept me from going off the deep end.”

Taya Wilson outside the family’s home in Pasadena, Calif.Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times
Ms. Monyeé said she and her husband had to remind each other “to make space for ourselves.”Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

But therapy is not the only kind of support. Ms. Johnson leaned on a tight-knit group of girlfriends. “As a society we are trained to worry and try to control things,” said Patrick Possel, director of Cardinal Success Program, which provides free mental health services for uninsured and underinsured people in Louisville, Ky. Many of the program’s clients are dealing with multiple crises, from job and housing insecurity to abuse and their own mental health struggles. When a teenager in the house starts to struggle, parents may say they are out of resources to tackle this problem as well. But Mr. Possel and his colleagues urge them to look around. They ask clients, “Is there a network, a friend, a professional, who can help you?” he said.

Take care of yourself.

Liz Lindholm supervises the remote schooling of her 12-year-old twin girls and 18-year-old son at their home in Federal Way, Wash., a suburb of Seattle, while working in health care administration.

What’s been most challenging this year “is the work-life balance,” she said, “where work doesn’t end and school doesn’t really end and everything just kind of blends together.”

A 41-year-old single mother, Ms. Lindholm doesn’t have much time for self-care or even treats, but occasionally, she steals a moment to pour herself a soda — ideally, a Coke. It’s a small balm, given the sizable strain on her life. But for now, it’s the best she can manage. In this, experts say, she’s not alone.

For at least 30 minutes — or as long as three hours, if she can — Ms. Monyeé meditates, writes in her journal, practices yoga, even dances. Kendrick Brinson for The New York Times

Ms. Monyeé depended on her “morning ritual” this past year. For at least 30 minutes — or as long as three hours, if she can — she meditates, writes in her journal, practices yoga, even dances. “We’re not just mothers,” she said. “We are people who have dreams, who have needs, who have desires. Giving myself permission to be a full person has been essential.”

When parents fall apart, Mr. Koplewicz said, everyone suffers. “Self care is child care,” he said. “Are you managing to sleep seven or eight hours a night? Are you doing something spiritual?”

Many of the parents who come to Cardinal Success lack both time and private space. But that doesn’t mean they lack all resources, Mr. Possel said. “We ask them, ‘What are you doing? What does not work? Where do you have the energy to try something new?’”

Trying something new — returning to school in January — turned out to be the key for Ms. Lee and her son.

To Ms. Lee’s happy surprise, Bo is one of very few students wearing a mask when she picks him up from school. One day, on the way home in the car, he told her he was startled to discover his friends didn’t understand how vaccines work. She’s since noticed a shift in his friend group, and she says that the tension at home has noticeably lessened.

“I think our relationship is stronger now, especially since I’ve had to trust him to go off and make his own decisions,” she said. “I’m not the evil mom he thought I was. And I’m gaining new respect for him.”