Guidelines for Helping Your Adult Children Grow Into Friends

1. Your grown children should be called with their names rather than using nicknames for children. If you have teens you may have already requested this. “Suzie Q” type nicknames are great for children of a younger age However, as they become more mature and become more reputable, they will feel more comfortable when they are called by their actual names. This way you are also reminding that you should treat children like young adults.

2. Discuss topics that are adult-oriented. As your children get older do not limit your conversations exclusively to family matters or concerns about their lives. Include them in discussions about current events , and similar topics in the same way you would with your friends. Spend a moment to think on “adult” topics you’d like to discuss with your children. Sports, politics, events or work problems (just facts and events- avoid complaining) local or political concerns are all good topics to discuss. Constant reminders and constant nagging are not effective with children and are inappropriate for grown children. Of course, you must establish limits and ensure that bad behaviour and irresponsibility result in consequences However, you should not be overly lenient with your children. If they ask for to know something about you do not respond to them unless you ask with respect and in a professional manner. Be sure to include them in the planning process and trust them to assume the appropriate accountability for family-related issues.

3. Discuss your child’s experiences in a relationship of parent-to-child. If your children have children of their own, you’ve got expertise that they can draw from, however, be prepared to learn from them, too. If they’re studying books or attending classes about parenting, talk about the content like you would with a parent of your age. If they raise their children differently from how you did, don’t interpret it as a personal attack or interfere with them unless asked to.

4. Do not react when your adult child is rude or says something that is offensive. You can simply ignore it and switch the issue. Be sure to treat your children’s adult ones with the same respect you would give the kids of a family member. If they do something that is causing you to be annoyed and you do not react immediately, they’ll cease. If you were in your family members when someone was doing an odd thing, you’d avoid it and don’t want to get caught up in family feuds. Just be courteous and friendly to your friend’s benefit.

5. Ask your children to give their opinion and suggestions. Even in the early years children are taught to form their own opinions regarding things and decisions that you have to make as a family. As they mature and more mature, you can seek their opinions on what you should do. When your children are adults they can seek advice regarding work-related issues, investments , or any other matters. Giving advice to peers and friends will help create the kind of relationship you desire.

6. Be aware of the overall tone of your interactions. As parents, the position of a caretaker and nurturer can be familiar, and maybe even familiar to you as well as your children. However, you shouldn’t create that bond when your children have grown. Don’t let your role in the family morph into giving all the time (or all accepting). Keep in mind that the goal is to build a relationship between you and your kids. If your children seem willing to share their experiences with you, offer suggestions of what they could give back.

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