Reader’s Question: Happiness in Older Age

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Question: Ever since my brother and I moved out and got married my parents argue a lot. I asked my mom about it and she said that she's not happy and she guesses my dad isn't either but that's just how it is after having children. What can I do to help them realize that they can still be happy even in their older age?

After children move out, couples become more aware of habits and personality traits that they have been overlooking for many years.  Readjusting to one another takes time.  For now, you and your brother can talk with them about how it is hard to watch them be so unhappy.

Many couples find that they benefit from finding joy in new hobbies or interests which they can do together and individually. Additionally, having friends who have also had children move out of the house can be helpful.  Traditionally, part of the reason extended families were so important was so that the in-laws could become friends and provide support for each other after their children got married.  Beyond these things, if your parents are still very unhappy you might suggest that they talk to someone professionally.  As their child, it is wonderful that you want to help them, but keep in mind that it is also important that you not become a constant mediator in their marriage.

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