Figuring out how to love your adult children without treating them like they are still kids can be a bit complex, but it doesn’t have to be.
I’m not the perfect mom and their dad is not perfect either, but we know we love our children with all our hearts. We want to show them that they can still come to us no matter what. Just because they are 18 and older does not change how we feel about them.
Since our nest has emptied, I’ve been pondering what it takes for us to have a great relationship with our adult children. Here is what we are doing to show our kids our love for them is as strong as it ever was.
10 Tips On How To Love Your Adult Children
- Don’t Question Them If You Know You’re Not Going To Like The Answer.
It can be hard for us parents to transition our kids from child to adult. In our minds, they are still that cute and cuddly child with a blankie asking mommy to make their favorite snack. Now that they’re adults, they’re going to do adult things. Do you really want to know the intimate details of their sex life or what they did on Friday or Saturday night? No, you don’t so don’t pry. If they want to talk about things that are bothering them or concerning, just be a good listener. Sometimes all they need is an ear to listen to them vent. Don’t we all need that on occasion?
- Pray for your children and grandchildren
The most important thing we as parents can do for our adult children is to pray for them. This world is a tough one with evil lurking around the corners. You taught your child as much as you could and now he or she is out on their own. Pray for God’s guidance and protection for your children and grandchildren daily.
- Don’t Guilt Them.
The easiest way to damage a relationship with your child is to guilt them. If they don’t call every day, don’t take it personally. Even if it hurts to not hear from them all the time, don’t guilt trip them by saying so. Give them grace and space. Text them hi, how are you. The odds are you will hear back when they are not busy and can contact you.
- Always Say I Love You
They know mom and dad still love them but to hear it often reaffirms that knowledge and gives them the boost they need to tackle each day knowing you still have their back. We all need to hear “I love you” from those we love.
- Respect How They Choose To Parent Their Children
This is a sore spot with many because often our kids parent their children differently than how we parented them. Before we catch ourselves, we are handing out parenting advice or worse yet admonishing them on their parenting skills. Learning how to love your adult children requires allowing them to parent their own kids.
If they don’t want their children to have candy don’t sneak around behind their back and load your grandchild up with a sugar high. I know it’s not easy sometimes. We want to be the good grandparents and we can be. Just respect your adult child’s parenting choices. They are the parents now. It is our responsibility to teach our grandchildren to respect their parents and what better way to do it then to respect their parent’s rules.
- Forgive and forgive some more
They messed up when they were kids and they’re going to mess up as adults. It’s part of being human. Forgive them as you expect them to forgive you. A relationship that is strong is clothed in forgiveness. Work on building a lifelong bond and forgive the wrongs of the past.
- It really is okay to say no
Don’t feel guilty if you have plans and cannot babysit the grandkids. It is okay to say no. Your children are now adults and as adults, we will all hear no from time to time.
- Back off and let your children make their own choices in life
It’s their life. Even though you were used to years of making decisions for them, it’s now time to step back, take a deep breath and let them decide for themselves. Discovering how to love your adult children comes with it the realization that there will be decisions they make that you will not like, but there is nothing we as parents can do about it. This is where praying comes back in. Pray for God to guide them and their decisions and leave it up to him.
- Be a Friend
You will always be their parent, but now it’s time to really be a good friend. Your adult children are learning how to make it through this world and navigate the ups and downs just like you had to. You know it’s tough. There will be days they just need you. They will need you to listen and sometimes need a shoulder to cry on. Simply be there. Offer love, emotional support and advice when it is requested.
- Encourage Your Adult Child
Never stop encouraging your child. Be mindful of what’s going on in their lives and let them know you have their back. Show love and offer positive feedback during discussions. When they are down, lift them up. Spend time with them and continue to teach them how to grow as a well-rounded adult.
It can be awkward learning how to love your adult children and transition from a parent of a child to a parent of an adult. You will get through it and come out so much better as a parent in the end. Life moves quickly and so do the ebbs and flows of day-to-day challenges. Be there for them and show them support and it will all fall together.