Who We Are – Mother Knows Best
Edgehill author, speaker Ann Caron educated parents nationwide on adolescent development
It is often said that necessity is the mother of invention. In the 1970s, Stamford’s Ann Caron, a mother of six, recognized a lack of information on how best to parent adolescents and the critical importance of those years of development.
“The differences in my boys and girls were evident and profound,” said Ann. “I was fascinated by the dramatic physical and psychological changes that occur during the shift from childhood to adolescence.”
With the support of her husband, John, who ran his family’s textile business, Caron International in New York City, Ann started to conduct workshops on the topic in her then hometown of Greenwich, Connecticut. It wasn’t long before her success would have her headlining events all over the country and in Europe.
“No one was talking about what an important time of life adolescence is and how to parent through it,” said Ann. “In many ways, I was before my time.”
Making a Name for Herself
Ann returned to school, earning a master’s in psychology from Fordham University. In 1988, she received a doctorate in education from Teachers College, Columbia University, the same year her youngest child graduated from Greenwich High School.
This set the stage for her to write three books — Don’t Stop Loving Me: Reassuring Guide for Mothers of Adolescent Daughters (Harper Perennial, 1992), Strong Mothers, Strong Sons: Raising Adolescent Boys in the 90s (Henry Holt & Co, 1994) and Mothers and Daughters: Searching for New Connections (Henry Holt & Co, 2011).
In late 2000, just as the world was beginning to pay attention to adolescence, she got the call that every author and expert dreams of. Oprah Winfrey wanted her to be a guest on her show to talk about family.
“It was a huge honor and a very interesting experience. Oprah wanted me to sit in the audience before the show started to see how I interacted with the guests. Luckily, I passed the test,” said Ann.
Ann would go on to appear on other television and radio programs, such as The TODAY Show.
Finding Home, Assisted Living Community at Edgehill
In 2020, her husband passed away. With all of their kids now adults, Ann suddenly found herself alone to maintain their large, mid-century modern home. “The home and its four acres were too big for me to manage on my own,” said Ann.
She very briefly considered moving to an apartment in downtown Greenwich but didn’t know what she would do there. Her attention quickly turned to Edgehill, a Benchmark continuing care retirement community in Stamford, Connecticut.
“I wanted to move to Edgehill because I know several people here, and it was important to me that I stay in the area, so I could be close to Greenwich,” said Ann.
At Edgehill, Ann enjoys the community’s plentiful social calendar, especially the educational lectures, fitness classes and dinners. Every day, she walks around the community three times, which amounts to a mile, socializing with friends along the way.
Most significantly, Ann has been impressed by the Edgehill associates. “They are so high-spirited and always have a smile on their faces. There is nothing they wouldn’t do to help you.”
Outside of her life at Edgehill and her Greenwich connections, Ann enjoys spending time with her family, which now includes 10 grandchildren. Occasionally, she gives parenting advice and tips, but only when asked.
“With the internet and social media, parenting today is very different,” said Ann. Parents have to be very aware of what their kids are listening to and who they are talking to. Also, even if they push you away, you need to give them lots of love.”
She frequently recommends that parents have an agreement with their adolescents that they always have their door open, so they are more aware of what their children are doing.
Recently, Ann’s first great-grandchild was born. She is looking forward to meeting him soon and giving his parents advice, but only if asked.