Parenting an adult child can be tricky. They are clearly an adult but you may still worry about them like they live at home. While you can’t exactly tell parents to stop worrying about their kids, parents can adjust the way they interact with their adult children to promote a different type of relationship.
Remember – They Aren’t Five Years Old Anymore
Your adult child is exactly that – an adult. You were an adult child of someone once, and I’ll be you can put yourself back in that frame of mind for a moment. Do you think there were probably times your parents wished they could just shake you and make you straighten up?
Do you think they really knew that you were making some stupid or ill-informed choices during those early adult years? Yes, they probably did. Do you think if they treated you like you were incompetent and childish that you would have listened even more closely to their ideas and advice? Nope, and you know that from experience. Keep this in mind when you watch how your “little girl” or “little man” handles their own life.
Ask Questions But Avoid Grilling Them
It’s great to ask questions to promote your child to share with you. When your kid feels like its safe to call you without getting twenty questions, you can foster a good relationship and probably promote future phone calls. If you start getting too intrusive or take a patronizing tone, you risk getting flicked away like a fly.
Keep Your Mouth Shut And Listen
Once you get your kid talking, shut your mouth! Things don’t work the same way as when your kid was little. You told them things and they listened. Now it’s your turn to switch on your ears. You can learn a lot by taking a more soft touch to your conversational style.
You may believe (or truly know) that they need your wisdom and advice, but you can’t force this on them like you used to make them eat their vegetables. Create a welcome environment and let them spill it out rather than trying to force it from them. They will seek your advice when they feel they need it, especially if they feel you’ll really listen to them.
Parenting An Adult Child
There’s probably enough material on this topic to do more than one post, so stay tuned. I know you all have some experience with this, either as a young adult or as the parent of one. How have you handled this period in your parent/child relationship?
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Last reviewed: 23 Jul 2010