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 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 communicating 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. If possible, use technology as a supplement rather than a mainstay.
Try these strategies:
- 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 miles away. Block out time for each other on a regular basis.
- Enjoy common interests. You’ll have more to talk about if you like the same things. Play board games and outdoor sports. Take cooking classes and visit science museums. 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 rack up some goodwill with your own kids. 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.
- 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 children are strong and independent adults 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 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.