Audrey French on How Family Relationships Change With Age

In Chapter 9 of 15 in her 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, entrepreneur Audrey Parker French answers "How Are Your Family Relationships Changing as You Get Older?"  She shares how getting married created big, unexpected yet positive family dynamic changes.  She details the transition of parents as protectors and authority figures to a personal responsibility she and her husband assume. 

Audrey Parker French returns to CYF for her Year 3 interview after a one-year sabbatical from work and getting married.  She co-founded CLEAResult, an energy management consulting firm.  In 2010, CLEAResult ranked #144 in the Inc. 500 list of fastest-growing private companies.  In late 2010, CLEAResult was sold to General Catalyst Partners.  She graduated from Wake Forest University. 


Erik Michielsen: How are your family relationships changing as you get older?

Audrey Parker French: Well, getting married actually was a bigger change as far as my family dynamic than what I was expecting. My husband and I either. We went through it and as we were going through it, we both perceived it as a bigger change than what we were expecting. And it was good. We realized that even as grown adults, you know, 15 years out of high school, we still in some ways thought of ourselves as kids and our parents the grownups, and in subtle ways, not anything very blatant but there was definitely a shift in our family around as we got married becoming a couple who’s going to be ready to have our own children, and have our own family, and how it really is emotionally a disconnecting from your parents as your protectors and as your authorities and really claiming your own life and giving it to your spouse and saying we are in this life together.

No one needs to be protecting us, looking out for us, no one else is responsible anymore for our growth or development, this is up to us and it was a beautiful change, we just – we weren’t really expecting it or ready for it, but when it came, we were ready. It was a welcome change.

And now we both feel like we can interact with our parents with a lot more gratitude and just like we’re on a more even page, we’re not just their child anymore, we’re someone who can learn from them and thank them for the job that they’ve done with us because we’re gonna be ready to do that for our children, and we can look to them more as mentors as opposed to, you know, an authority figure in some way. It’s been really beautiful.