Family Spends Awkward, Silent Quality Time Together

Top Headlines



Local Household Announces Plans To Overdo Halloween Again

HIGHLAND PARK, IL—Having hauled over a dozen boxes of lights and plastic decorations as well as a large black-cat-shaped lawn inflatable from storage, members of the Hutchcroft family announced to neighbors from their front yard Thursday their plan to completely overdo Halloween again this year.

Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients

‘The Mashed Potatoes Are Actually Made With Cauliflower,’ She Announces

VERONA, WI—Having waited until everyone at the table had finished their dinner Monday, a knowing grin reportedly spread across local mother Angela Hopkins’ face as she announced to her family that the mashed potatoes had in fact been made using cauliflower as a healthier alternative.

Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA—Grieving family members of local aunt Laurie Shelton confirmed Monday that the 48-year-old woman’s unexpected death had caused a major breach in their gossip pipeline, suddenly disrupting access to the latest dirt on all their relatives.

Childish 12-Year-Old Still Believes In Father

HARTFORD, CT—Saying she just assumed he would have figured it out by now, local mother Kathleen Rivers expressed concern to reporters Tuesday that her 12-year-old son, Dylan, still believes in his father.

College Freshman Decides To Be Lanyard-Wearing Kind

ANN ARBOR, MI—Emphasizing that this was not a choice he had made lightly, University of Michigan student Kevin Peterson told reporters Thursday that he had officially decided to become one of the lanyard-wearing kind of freshmen.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Tips For Traveling With Young Children

Family vacations can be a time for bonding and building lasting memories, but when young children are involved, trips can also be stressful to plan and execute. Here are The Onion’s tips for traveling with kids

Good News Kept From Parents Out Of Fear Of Proving Them Right

DANBURY, CT—Saying she wants no part of the conversation that would inevitably result if she broke the good news, local medical billing technician Jenny Comers reported Friday that she’s keeping word of her recent pay raise from her parents out of fear of proving them right.

North American Children Begin Summer Migration To Dad’s

NEW YORK—With the increasingly warm weather signaling the commencement of their age-old journey, millions of children across the North American continent began their annual summer migration to their fathers’ homes this week, sources confirmed.

Parents Worried Children Old Enough To Remember Family Vacation

YOUNGSTOWN, OH—Fearing that their kids’ impressions of the experience could quite possibly remain with them for the rest of their lives, parents Joel and Bethany Weyandt told reporters Tuesday they are worried their children are old enough to remember the details of their recent family vacation.

Report: Dad Wants To Show You Where Fuse Box Is

YOUR LOCATION—Noting that it’s important to be prepared in case of emergencies but it’s also a good thing to know in general, your dad announced today that he wants to show you where the fuse box is.

Kids Love When Mom Sad Enough To Just Order Pizza

FORT WORTH, TX—Saying they get their hopes up anytime they notice her looking particularly downhearted, siblings Paulo and Marisa Hernandez told reporters Wednesday they love it when their mother is sad enough to just order pizza.

Being Older Than Daughter Babysitter’s Only Qualification

UTICA, NY—Possessing no particular proficiencies or training whatsoever, local 12-year-old Jessica Radloff was reportedly hired to babysit Hayley Carden, 7, this week based solely on her qualification of being older than the child she was asked to watch.

Total Weirdo Spends Mother’s Day At Cemetery

ST. MARYS, OH—Apparently content to hang around dead people rather than celebrate like a normal person, area weirdo John Mills spent most of Mother’s Day at a local cemetery, creeped-out sources confirmed.

Child Visiting Ellis Island Sees Where Grandparents Once Toured

ELLIS ISLAND, NY—Pausing to imagine the throngs of people who must have arrived with them that day back in 1994, 12-year-old Max Bertrand reportedly spent his visit to Ellis Island this afternoon walking around the same immigrant station his grandparents once toured.

Siblings Quietly Relieved Oldest Brother Setting Bar So Low

CHARLOTTE, NC—Explaining how the 25-year-old’s personal and academic shortcomings had made their relationship with their parents far easier, siblings Eric and Theresa Conrad confided to reporters Friday that they were quietly relieved their ol...

Kids Teary-Eyed After Helping Dad Move Into First Apartment

BOWLING GREEN, OH—With their father marking the start of an important new phase in his life, the children of local man Barry Hunt told reporters they got a bit teary-eyed after helping the 49-year-old move into his first apartment Thursday. Teenager...

First Holiday Season Without Grandma Incredible

MARBLEHEAD, MA—Expressing appreciation for the more relaxed and cheerful atmosphere, members of the Shaw family confirmed Thursday that the first holiday season without grandmother Ethel Shaw had been absolutely incredible.

Area Mom Raving About Phoenix Airport

AURORA, IL—Noting its impressive collection of shops, restaurants, and transit options during a phone call with her daughter, local mother Carol Wingfield expressed her admiration for Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport in the strongest terms, ...

Hands-Off Mom Lets Kids Create Own Psychological Issues

BOLTON, VT—Saying it’s important for parents to avoid simply passing their own neuroses on to their children, area mother Tricia Eakins told reporters Monday she believes in taking a hands-off approach and letting her kids develop their own ps...

Family Fears Grandmother Aware Of Her Surroundings

BEDFORD, NH—Acknowledging a look in her eyes that sometimes makes them think she may actually be registering things, the family of local grandmother Janice Humphries expressed anxiety Tuesday that the 93-year-old nursing home resident might be aware...

Self-Centered Child Blames Divorce Entirely On Himself

LINCOLN, NE—Claiming that the third-grader refuses to acknowledge anyone else’s involvement in the situation, sources confirmed Monday that egocentric 8-year-old Dylan Fielder blames the divorce of his parents entirely on himself.

Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a challenging time for any expectant mother, but eating well, getting prenatal care, and being active are all ways that women can stay healthy and feel great.

Back-To-School Preparation Tips For Parents

With millions of children heading back to school next week, parents across the country are stocking up on supplies, getting in touch with teachers, and setting expectations to help their kids succeed.

Top Parenting Trends Of 2014

Between questions of breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccinations, and must-have accessories, moms and dads are confronted with a wealth of options when it comes to raising their children.

Grandmother Talking Big Game About Being Alive Next Year

HAMILTON, OH—Noting that she had made a lot of bold proclamations in recent months regarding upcoming birthdays and future vacations, family members of local grandmother Abigail Stapleton told reporters Wednesday that the 88-year-old is talking some...

The Pros And Cons Of Waiting To Have Children

According to the CDC, more women than ever are waiting to have children until they are 35 or older, when they have completed their educations and are more financially stable, though doctors warn that having children later in life can lead to health com...

Man Brings Son Into Office To See Where Dad Emasculated

ROGERS, MN—Smiling and offering commentary throughout the visit, local employee Jason Aldrich reportedly brought his 7-year-old son to his office Tuesday, giving the young boy a chance to see where his dad is humiliated and stripped of his manhood o...

Homosexuality Only Thing Parents Can Accept About Son

GRAND FORKS, ND—Expressing their deep disappointment with his behavior and lifestyle, local parents Jeff and Susan Lindegaard told reporters Tuesday that they are simply unable to accept anything about their 24-year-old son Henry aside from his homo...
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage





Family Spends Awkward, Silent Quality Time Together

AKRON, OH–They say the family that sits silently together stays silently together. And no one proves that old adage better than the Bladners. Whether enduring an uncomfortable outing at a local restaurant, attending an unpleasant community event, or simply staring blankly at the television, this tight-knit clan always makes an effort to spend plenty of awkward, silent quality time together.

Gathered around the dinner table, the Bladners enjoy not catching up on the day's events.

"I read in Woman's Day how important it is for a family to spend time together," Joanne Bladner said Monday, her husband Larry and two teenage children slumped in their chairs at the dinner table. "In this day and age, so many families are hardly ever in the same room!"

"Well, I'm proud to say our little family is different," said Bladner, spooning beef stew onto the plates of her glassy-eyed loved ones.

Dinner at the Bladner residence is a special time: It's the one hour each day when Larry gets a chance to sit down with his wife and children and say nothing. As his loved ones rhythmically shovel food into their mouths, Larry reaches far across the table to grab the salt, straining to get it himself rather than ask son Marc to pass it to him.

After years of conditioning, daughter Michelle eats in near-silence, avoiding eye contact and answering questions with mumbled, monosyllabic answers whenever possible.

"Until I move out of the house, I have to do the whole family thing and eat dinner at the table," said Michelle, 16. "If I eat fast and don't say anything, I can usually get done in time to watch The Simpsons."

Noted psychologist Dr. Alvin Tanner, who has called the evening meal "the glue that holds the modern American family together," applauded the Bladners' commitment to closeness.

"Families need to spend time together daily," Tanner said. "That's the only way children will form lasting bonds and learn what to do when they're adults and have families of their own."

On the rare occasion that they do speak, Larry and Joanne try to make their time together as enjoyable as possible by avoiding any subjects they disagree about, including the next-door neighbors, Michelle's recent car accident, college savings, the boxes in the garage, and Joanne's mother's nursing home.

Joanne said she sees her family's tightness as part of a proud tradition.

"Larry's family was very close growing up," Bladner said. "He was raised on a farm, so they spent countless hours together out in the fields. Unfortunately, our family doesn't have any haying or corn-detasseling to do together, so we have to find other ways to stay close."

The four often spend hours after dinner watching television together.

"Marc wanted a TV set of his own, and I said, 'No way, buster,'" Larry said. "Then he'd be spending all of his time watching MTV in his bedroom, instead of sitting out in the living room watching Who Wants To Be A Millionaire with us."

In addition to sharing many quality viewing hours, the Bladners occasionally leave the house together. Years ago, they went on frequent family walks, but when the children reached adolescence, they began resisting this activity for fear of being seen by their peers. Marc and Michelle's changing attitude and their parents' advancing age have forced the Bladners to rule out a number of activities, including miniature golf, badminton, and trips to the local waterpark.

"It's getting a little harder to think of something fun we can all do together, but we always do," Joanne said. "More often than not, we go to Southgate Mall together. We'll drive over there together and pick a time to meet up afterwards. The kids seem to like that the best."

Glaring icily at each other during a recent drive to Southgate, Marc and Michelle jump out of the family minivan the moment it pulls into a parking spot and head for opposite ends of the mall. When the two cross paths inside, they wordlessly pass each other without acknowledgement.

On the drive home from the mall, Larry reflected on his relationship with his children.

"I kind of miss the old days, when I was 'Daddy' to Marc and Michelle," Larry said. "They'd run up and sit on my lap, and I never got the feeling that they secretly hated me. But, goddamn it, I'm still their father, and as long as they live under my roof, we are going to be a seemingly happy family."

Family Video