You love your adult children and want to have a close relationship with them. However, things sometimes turn out differently than you planned. Family communications can be tricky. It’s easy to fall into old patterns that become reinforced over many years. It’s difficult to remember that the baby you raised now has a career and possibly children of their own.
Transforming the way in which you talk with each other can help you to strengthen your connection and avoid misunderstandings. Try these secrets for positive parenting communication with your adult children.
Staying in Touch with Your Adult Children
Are Zoom calls enough? Studies show that parents and adult children who interact face to face tend to have more positive relationships. I know that this isn’t always possible, especially with the pandemic restrictions, but make plans to visit each other when you can!
Here are some ways you can stay in touch with your adult children:
• Plan ahead. Even if you live under the same roof, your relationships will probably be more rewarding if you approach them intentionally. That’s even more important if you’re not living in the same house or same area. Block out time for each other on a regular basis.
• Enjoy common interests. You’ll have more to talk about if you like some of the same things. Play board games and outdoor sports. Take cooking classes and yoga. Share your experiences with home improvement projects and volunteer activities.
• Take a vacation. Family trips create lasting memories. A change of scenery can also make it easier to experiment with new ways of relating to each other. Choose a destination that appeals to your whole group.
• Host your grandchildren. Spend time with your grandchildren and allow your children to have a break. This may not seem like a form of communication, but it’s essentially communicating how you care for them. You’ll have fun with the little ones, and their parents will be able to take a break.
• Communicate one on one. Family gatherings are wonderful but connecting individually matters too. Engage in private discussions and outings. Schedule a call. Technology may have limits, but it’s still valuable. Connect with video calls and text messages when you’re unable to see each other offline.
Resolving Differences with Your Adult Children
Disagreements among family members are natural and can trigger strong emotions. Still, iIf you deal with them constructively, they can draw you closer together.
Keep these strategies in mind to help keep challenges at bay:
• Listen closely. Spend more time listening to your adult children and less time talking. Pay attention to what they’re saying instead of planning your comeback. Use encouraging facial expressions and gestures.
• Respect boundaries. Let your family know how you wish to be treated and the consequences for exceeding your limits. Show them the same courtesy and respect – an aspect of positive parenting you can continue from babies all the way to adult children.
• Set priorities. Decide on the principles and values you want to stand up for. Be flexible and open to compromises in other areas. You may be able to accept different housekeeping standards, as long as you spare each other any manipulation or guilt trips.
• Let go of judgements. Be happy that your adult children are strong and independent as well as being capable of making their own decisions. Offer moral support but avoid giving unsolicited advice unless there’s a serious health and safety concern.
• Apologize sincerely. You’re bound to disappoint each other sometimes or struggle to find common ground. Be quick to ask for forgiveness when appropriate and be generous about giving second chances.
• Express appreciation. You’ll probably run into fewer conflicts if you cultivate a sense of gratitude. Think about the qualities you like in your adult children. Let them know that you love them and recognize their achievements.
Build a strong and mutually rewarding relationship with your adult children. Open and respectful communications will help you to enjoy meaningful conversations and fun times. While the way you interact changes over time, you may enjoy your new friendship even more.