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'Do I really want to know that?' How mothers and adult children talk about menopause
Unformatted Document Text:  Menopause and Personal Health 17 adult children are receiving messages about the life transition. Mothers are demonstrating a willingness to broach the subject with young adult children of both sexes and in many situations, the children are willing to enter into the dialogue. Moreover, the initiation of this topic with young adults is a positive sign that menopause is reducing its taboo conversation label, possibly giving the next generation a more realistic understanding of the sexual life cycle. Determining mother-adult child willingness to discuss menopause is noteworthy for several reasons. First, while many of the adult children (both males and females) may not have known all of the complexities of the menopausal experience (i.e., whether or not the mother was taking hormone replacement), they were aware of the life passage occurring. And, regardless of their opinions and attitudes about the experience, they validated their mother’s perception of that experience by engaging her in conversation. This validation signifies the renegotiation of parent- child roles as a shift is made from pertinent child health to the health issues of each unique individual. Adult children are working at redefining their family roles of caretaking and caregiving, to establish mutuality and awareness of personal assistance in their parent’s lives. Second, the adult child’s willingness to discuss the subject of menopause did not seem to be entirely prompted by either their mothers’ negative experiences of menopause or the need for medical attention to alleviate the symptoms associated with this life passage. The lack of medicalization associated with the topic demonstrates that the context surrounding menopause is being destigmatized in interpersonal relationships. It is acceptable for mothers and their children to discuss the topic in its varying complexities, and not problematize a very natural life passage. Although adult daughters appeared to be more receptive to menopausal conversations, it is important to note that the mothers participating in this study did not identify either sex as being a more capable or competent communicator. Adult sons were perceived to be equally

Authors: Murray-Johnson, Lisa. and Bresnahan, Mary.
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Menopause and Personal Health 17
adult children are receiving messages about the life transition. Mothers are demonstrating a
willingness to broach the subject with young adult children of both sexes and in many situations,
the children are willing to enter into the dialogue. Moreover, the initiation of this topic with
young adults is a positive sign that menopause is reducing its taboo conversation label, possibly
giving the next generation a more realistic understanding of the sexual life cycle.
Determining mother-adult child willingness to discuss menopause is noteworthy for
several reasons. First, while many of the adult children (both males and females) may not have
known all of the complexities of the menopausal experience (i.e., whether or not the mother was
taking hormone replacement), they were aware of the life passage occurring. And, regardless of
their opinions and attitudes about the experience, they validated their mother’s perception of that
experience by engaging her in conversation. This validation signifies the renegotiation of parent-
child roles as a shift is made from pertinent child health to the health issues of each unique
individual. Adult children are working at redefining their family roles of caretaking and
caregiving, to establish mutuality and awareness of personal assistance in their parent’s lives.
Second, the adult child’s willingness to discuss the subject of menopause did not seem to
be entirely prompted by either their mothers’ negative experiences of menopause or the need for
medical attention to alleviate the symptoms associated with this life passage. The lack of
medicalization associated with the topic demonstrates that the context surrounding menopause is
being destigmatized in interpersonal relationships. It is acceptable for mothers and their children
to discuss the topic in its varying complexities, and not problematize a very natural life passage.
Although adult daughters appeared to be more receptive to menopausal conversations, it
is important to note that the mothers participating in this study did not identify either sex as
being a more capable or competent communicator. Adult sons were perceived to be equally


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